Extracted from a 2014 interview conduced by theartsdesk’s Thomas H Green with former Frankie Goes To Hollywood frontman Holly Johnson, a bit of the Boss on his 72nd birthday…
I didn’t dare tell people for years that the first version of Born To Run I heard was Frankie’s.
Yes, some Bruce Springsteen fans were horrified Frankie did that but if you listen to it now you can hear it’s done in a reverential way, perhaps a bit of camping up and punk energy, but it certainly wasn’t taking the piss. Many people who weren’t dyed-in-the-wool Springsteen fans cite it as a definitive version.
When I first heard Springsteen’s version it sounded a bit muddy by comparison.
It sounds like an old codger singing by comparison, but it is great writing, a great song. I knew I had to give it the full monty of vocal capability. We performed it on Saturday Night Live. I think that’s why we did it in the first place. We were booked into some tour of America in November 1984 so performed Two Tribes and Born To Run.