Hear Springsteen Faves Suicide ‘F-ck Up’ ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ Live

“This little song [is] from Bruce Springsteen,” Suicide frontman Alan Vega tells a Paris audience in 1988. The audience, which has gathered to hear the duo’s minimalist electro-rock songs like “Ghost Rider,” promptly boos him. “Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey,” he retorts with his trademark New York snarl, “It’s our version of it. We’ll fuck it up. Don’t worry about it. ‘Born in the U.S.A.’” Then Vega’s partner, keyboardist Martin Rev, kicks into a melody that sounds nothing like the Boss’ epic riff, and Vega sings none of Springsteen’s anti-war lyrics, instead crooning “When the saints go marching in,” parodying Fats Domino, Little Richards, and Elvis Presley. The whole performance is dadaism at its finest.

The track will appear on an upcoming reissue of A Way of Life, the duo’s third studio album, which will arrive on May 26. The deluxe edition will be available on transparent blue vinyl with “Born in the U.S.A.” and as a CD with four bonus tracks, as well as digitally. The extra material includes live versions of “Devastation” and “Cheree,” as well as an early studio version of “Dominic Christ.” Archivist Jared Artaud found the tracks while working in the “Vega Vault,” following the singer’s 2016 death.

The rest of A Way of Life has been remastered for this release. Rev fondly recalled making the album, which was produced by the Cars’ Ric Ocasek, in a statement. “The first session was scheduled for about 2 PM,” he said. “Ric wasn’t there yet, only the engineers, so Alan and I just started to warm up and, in the process, started writing some new songs. The engineers decided among themselves to set the recorder rolling and when Ric came in an hour or two later ready to work, he asked the engineers if we had already sound checked. They said, ‘Yeah, and they basically recorded the whole album.’ Ric was amazed and started immediately to listen to what became the first mixes of A Way of Life.”

Although Suicide sound like they’re making fun of Springsteen in the song, they and the singer-songwriter were fans of each other. “They had that two-piece synthesizer-voice thing,” Springsteen told Rolling Stone in 1984. “They had one of the most amazing songs I ever heard called ‘Frankie Teardrop’. That’s one of the most amazing records I think I ever heard.” His Nebraska song “State Trooper” was an homage to Suicide’s sound, and Springsteen even later recorded a cover of the duo’s “Dream Baby Dream.”


A Way of Life reissue Track List

1. “Wild in Blue” (’88 Version – 2023 Remaster)
2. “Surrender” (’88 Version – 2023 Remaster)
3. “Jukebox Baby 96” (’88 Version – 2023 Remaster)
4. “Rain of Ruin” (’88 Version – 2023 Remaster)
5. “Sufferin’ in Vain” (’88 Version – 2023 Remaster)         
6. “Dominic Christ” (’88 Version – 2023 Remaster)
7. “Love so Lovely” (’88 Version – 2023 Remaster)
8. “Devastation” (’88 Version – 2023 Remaster)
9. “Heat Beat” (’88 Version – 2023 Remaster)
10. “Born in the U.S.A.” (Live in Paris 1988)*
11. “Devastation” (Live in Paris 1987)*
12. “Dominic Christ” (Early Studio Version)*
14. “Cheree” (Live in Paris 1988)*

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