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Tunnel of Love (album): Wikis


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Tunnel of Love
Studio album by Bruce Springsteen
Released October 9, 1987
Recorded January - July 1987
Genre Rock
Length 46:25
Label Columbia
Producer Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin
Professional reviews
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band chronology
Tunnel of Love
Chimes of Freedom (EP)
Singles from Tunnel of Love
  1. "Brilliant Disguise"
    Released: September 21, 1987
  2. "Tunnel of Love"
    Released: November 30, 1987
  3. "One Step Up"
    Released: February 27, 1988
  4. "Tougher Than the Rest"
    Released: June 4, 1988
  5. "Spare Parts"
    Released: September 12, 1988
Audio samples of 'Tunnel of Love'
Problems listening to this file? See media help.

Tunnel of Love is the eighth studio album by Bruce Springsteen released in 1987 (see 1987 in music).

In 1998, Q magazine readers voted Tunnel of Love the 91st greatest album of all time. In 1989, it was ranked #25 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 greatest albums of the 1980s". In 2003, the album was ranked number 475 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.



After the tremendous success of Born in the U.S.A., Springsteen took his foot off the throttle quite a bit on Tunnel of Love. A rousing album similar to 'Born In The USA' would have been repeating himself and doing a sparsely-produced work again like 'Nebraska' would have also been repeating a pattern. The deeply conflicted songs - "Brilliant Disguise," "Two Faces," "Tunnel of Love," "One Step Up" - seem to have been written as reflections of Springsteen's failing marriage to Julianne Phillips. In the same vein, the opening "Ain't Got You" is his rare personal, self-conscious look at being a famous rock star, while the closing "Valentine's Day" inverts the chords of "My Funny Valentine" to produce a death-haunted narrative full of the nature imagery he would pursue further in the early 1990s. Ironically, "Walk Like a Man", another chapter in Springsteen's long obsession with his relationship with his father, seems like a relief compared to the rest of the record.

The album, the last of Springsteen's work that was created in the Side 1/2 format of an LP, is one of Springsteen's least performed set of songs and yet, maybe among his most enduring. Its lack of bombast, except on the title cut and "Tougher Than The Rest", creates an atmosphere that is reassuring and disconcerting - very much like the rollercoaster metaphor it emulates and the subjects, love and relationships, that is the cycle's focus. From the very beginning, this was one of Springsteen's albums where he wanted that new audience to think and feel - not just react to the chorus.

The New York Times' Jon Pareles wrote that Tunnel of Love "turned inward, pondering love gone wrong. His first marriage, to the actress Julianne Phillips fell apart; he also decided to part ways with the E Street Band."[1] "Brilliant Disguise" has been called "a heart wrenching song about never being really able to know someone,"[2] and "a song about the doubts and struggles of married life."[3]

Members of the E Street Band were used sparingly on the album; Springsteen recorded most of the parts himself, often with drum machines and synthesizers. Although the album's liner notes list the E Street Band members under that name, it is very doubtful whether Tunnel of Love should be considered an E Street Band album. Indeed, Shore Fire Media, Springsteen's public relations firm, does not count it as an E Street Band album [4] and The Rising was advertised as "his first studio album with the E Street Band since 'Born in the USA'".

"Tunnel of Love" also marked a break from Springsteen's secretive past. On the B-Sides of vinyl and cassette singles, outtakes like "Lucky Man", "Two For The Road", and a vintage 1979 track, "Roulette" were unveiled. On the mini-album that accompanied the 1988 tour, Springsteen included album cut "Tougher Than The Rest", but included another River outtake, "Be True" and a radically rearranged and acoustic "Born To Run" and the politically inspired Bob Dylan cover, "Chimes of Freedom". Taken together, Springsteen, who had heretofore been reticent to offer up outtakes or unreleased recordings, acknowledged that songs like "Be True" and "Roulette" should have been on their intended albums and that peeks in the vault were okay. This would ultimately culminate 10 years later when Springsteen released a compilation box set of outtakes, "Tracks". Interestingly enough, Springsteen's only song that refers to his mother, the parent who fostered his nascent career, "The Wish", would remain unreleased until "Tracks".

Commercially the album went triple platinum in the U.S., with "Brilliant Disguise" being one of his biggest hit singles, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Tunnel of Love" also making the Top 10, reaching #9, and "One Step Up" just falling short.

The 1988 Springsteen and E Street Band Tunnel of Love Express tour would showcase the album's songs, sometimes in more confrontational arrangements courtesy of The Miami Horns. Once Springsteen remarried to Patti Scialfa and started a family, however, he seemed to have a harder time relating to Tunnel of Love's songs, and they appeared only rarely in his concerts during the late 1990s and 2000s.

Music videos

Irish filmmaker Meiert Avis directed the music videos for "Brilliant Disguise", "One Step Up", "Tougher Than the Rest", and "Tunnel of Love". The videos were shot on locations in New Jersey, including Asbury Park. The intensely personal "Brilliant Disguise" video broke new ground on MTV, being a single shot without edits, and also using live vocals for the first time on an MTV music video. The video was nominated for four MTV Awards, including Video of the Year and, paradoxically, Best Editing.

Track listing

All songs by Bruce Springsteen.


Side one

  1. "Ain't Got You" – 2:11
  2. "Tougher Than the Rest" – 4:35
  3. "All That Heaven Will Allow" – 2:39
  4. "Spare Parts" – 3:44
  5. "Cautious Man" – 3:58
  6. "Walk Like a Man" – 3:45

Side two

  1. "Tunnel of Love" – 5:12
  2. "Two Faces" – 3:03
  3. "Brilliant Disguise" – 4:17
  4. "One Step Up" – 4:22
  5. "When You're Alone" – 3:24
  6. "Valentine's Day" – 5:10


The E Street Band

Additional musician

  • James Wood – harmonica on "Spare Parts"


Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1987 The Billboard 200 1


  1. ^ Holden, Stephen (8 August 1992). "POP MUSIC; When the Boss Fell to Earth, He Hit Paradise". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2007-11-01.  
  2. ^ Pareles, Jon (14 July 2002). "MUSIC; His Kind of Heroes, His Kind of Songs". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2007-11-01.  
  3. ^ Cavicchi, Daniel (1998). Tramps Like Us: Music and Meaning Among Springsteen Fans. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, via Google Books limited preview. p. 32. ISBN 0-1951-1833-2.  
  4. ^ "Bruce Springsteen's 'The Rising' Set for July 30 release on Columbia Records". Shore Fire Media. 2002-06-03. Retrieved 2007-12-13.  

External links

Preceded by
Bad by Michael Jackson
Billboard 200 number-one album
November 7 – November 13, 1987
Succeeded by
Dirty Dancing (soundtrack) by Various artists
Preceded by
Bad by Michael Jackson
UK number one album
October 17, 1987 – October 23, 1987
Succeeded by
...Nothing Like the Sun by Sting


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