In 1984, Bruce Springsteen’ s Born in the U.S.A. album released a juggernaut of singles that covered about sixty percent of the album’s content. “I’m on Fire,” was the fourth single released on February 25th 1985. For the past thirty years, the song has been covered by a wide range of musical artists. One of our favorite cover versions of “I’m On Fire,” was performed by Tori Amos. The Tori Amos performance of “I’m on Fire,” was a complete reworking of Springsteen’s 1984 classic recording. Springsteen’s original arrangement of the song featured a pulsating rim shot and hit hat rhythm that simulated the feel of driving down a deserted backstreet in the soft summer rain. It was a wonderful recording and one of the most enjoyable tracks on the Born in the U.S.A. album. There was a betraying darkness to the lyrical content that was somewhat masked by the driving force of the rhythm and the spiritual sounds of the organ.
The Tori Amos performance tore away the the instrumentation that Springsteen so wonderfully utilized on his original recording. The Tori Amos’ versions stripped the music down to the heart of the original intent. Slowing the pace of the song in half, Amos’s voice and stage demeanor unveiled the passion being the lyric and the desire to engage the fantasy.
The original video featured the acting debut of Springsteen in which the singer played an auto mechanic working on a wealthy woman’s automobile. Springsteen is asked to deliver the car himself back to the woman’s home late at night. When arriving at the home he paused before ringing the door bell and then drops the keys in the mailbox as he walks away. After listening to Tori’s version, it safe to say she would have rang the bell.
Written by Brian Kachejian
Photo by Spoon (http://flickr.com/photos/lchifi/806559317/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons