Bruce Springsteen revealed he’d ditched an “entire record” of cover versions before starting again and creating the newly released Only the Strong Survive.

He’d settled on the idea of paying tribute to some of his favorite singers – but found himself unhappy with the results of his first attempt.

“Initially, it was really hard,” Springsteen said in a recent interview (via Exclaim). “I was picking material and I'm going, ‘It’s hard to sing somebody else’s songs, and get them to sound authentic and [feel like] it’s coming out of you.’ So I made an entire record that I threw out, and it’ll show up in different places, and there were some good things on it but didn't feel quite right.”

He found a better direction when he chose Frank Wilson’s song “Do I Love You,” which he described as a “Motown rarity,” explaining: “[In] the States, I guess, no one had heard it. And I wanted to try that. And so my producer, Ron Aniello, created the track and the track was really good, really strong. I said, ‘Well, if I can get up near Frank Wilson’s range, I’m going to take a swing at it.’

“And we cut that – that felt great. I said, ‘Well, maybe I’ll orient myself towards soul music,’ because it’s how I grew up, and all my great mentors were soul men that came, Sam Moore and, of course, James Brown, Smokey Robinson as a writer. I mean, just so many… They were all my masters and I said, ‘Well, let me try and sing some of this material.’”

Springsteen admitted that, since then, he’d “been getting a lot better at picking them,” continuing: “[I]nitially it was the trial and error of, ‘What can I sing well?’ So that was the process… but at the end of the day I think the main thing [about] the record is it’s joyful, and a lot of fun; [it] tips my hat, and is a tribute to, like I say, all my mentors and masters, and all those great records and those great productions.”

Watch Bruce Springsteen’s Video for ‘Do I Love You’

Bruce Springsteen Albums Ranked

Because he spent so many of his formative years painstakingly crafting his albums, we don’t often think of Bruce Springsteen as a prolific artist. But he’s averaged an album nearly every other year throughout his career.

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