Bruce Springsteen Put Engineer Jimmy Iovine to Sleep … Twice
In a new interview with Variety, Iovine said he learned valuable lessons while working on the 1975 LP, which helped him develop his successful career as a label boss and entrepreneur.
Asked about a video clip that shows him falling asleep after spending two days trying to capture the drum sound Springsteen wanted, Iovine explained he found the patience to keep going because he “just knew that these guys knew stuff that I didn’t know.”
He added, “Two words: big picture. You take your bullshit out of it. So when you’re working with Springsteen, and a lot of the songs on Born to Run go through, what, seven, eight, 12 radically different versions … there’s a goal that he’s going toward. The whole album was like that. There are ballad versions of ‘Thunder Road’ … [that] had tons of lyrics. Tons! He would sit at the piano and write a line, go up and sing it, write another line – for days!
“I remember a day where he sat out in the studio, working on ‘Thunder Road’ with a guitar for 13 hours, and only said the word ‘again.’ I fell asleep for five hours in the middle of it. ‘Again, again, again, again!’ But one of the things that I got from that album was to learn how to believe in something as much as the person that’s doing it.”
Iovine had previously worked with John Lennon and went on to work with Patti Smith, among many others. “She was somewhere between the two, right in between them,” he reflected. “She had that edge, personality-wise, that Lennon had. … But she also had in her music the magnificence of Bruce Springsteen. … I tell you, to be with these three people in a row – you’ve got to be dead not to become a better person.”