He’s 72! — Holly Johnson on covering “old codger” Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run

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.

Steve Pafford

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