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Elvis Costello Sings Two Bruce Springsteen Songs On ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’

Elvis Costello
Lloyd-Bishop / NBC

NBC’s ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ continued ‘Bruce Springsteen Week’ with a surprise for its 600th episode. Although it was announced that Elvis Costello would perform Bruce’s 1987 hit ‘Brilliant Disguise,’ it was not revealed until the show aired that Costello, who’s got quite a good catalog of his own songs, would also record a second Springsteen song, ‘Fire,’ as a web-only exclusive.

Costello and Springsteen first met in 1978 in Nashville, when Costello was invited to Music City to record his song ‘Stranger in the House’ as a duet with country legend George Jones. Springsteen was playing the Nashville Auditorium at the time, and Columbia Records arranged a meeting for the two backstage. Years later, Costello admitted that his 1980 song, ‘Temptation,’ which dealt with the trappings of success, was inspired by that meeting.

Over the years they’ve performed together on several occasions, most famously the 2003 Grammy Awards when they tore through the Clash’s classic ‘London Calling‘ in tribute to the late Joe Strummer. In 2010, Springsteen appeared on a two-part episode of Costello’s show, ‘Spectacle,’ where they sang on each other’s songs and some choice covers in between an in-depth discussion about songwriting.

Costello recorded ‘Brilliant Disguise’ as a demo in the early-90s, coincidentally, for Jones. But on ‘Late Night’ Costello threw out his country arrangement and used the Roots to their full advantage with a dose of old-school funk. Elvis also played some mean bass in the bridge and before the song’s last two lines.

But Costello wasn’t done paying tribute to his friend. They launched into another Springsteen song, ‘Fire,’ that featured the arrangement opening up with a quote from the Staple Singers’ 1972 classic ‘I’ll Take You There.’ The musicians kept up the rhythm through the song, which gave ‘Fire’ a deep reggae-soul groove.

“Bruce Springsteen Week” concludes tonight with the Boss taking over ‘Late Night’ for the full episode to chat with Fallon and perform a few songs with the E Street Band.

Watch Elvis Costello and the Roots Perform Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Fire’

Watch Elvis Costello and the Roots Perform Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Brilliant Disguise’

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