Bruce Springsteen has released “Ghosts” from his new album, “Letter to You,” which is out October 23 on Columbia Records. The new song arrives with a video that includes clips of the E Street Band recording “Letter to You” in the studio, interspersed with archival snapshots of Springsteen’s earliest years as a musician in local bands like The Castiles.
“Ghosts” was recorded by the E Street Band live and together at Springsteen’s home studio, resulting in a sound that complements the career-spanning concert footage that also appears within the Thom Zimny-directed visual.
“’Ghosts’ is about the beauty and joy of being in a band, and the pain of losing one another to illness and time,” says Springsteen. “’Ghosts’ tries to speak to the spirit of the music itself, something none of us owns but can only discover and share together. In the E Street Band, it resides in our collective soul, powered by the heart.”
Springsteen’s 20 th studio album, “Letter to You” includes nine recently written songs, as well as new recordings of three previously unreleased compositions from the 1970s long familiar to fans: “Janey Needs a Shooter,” “If I Was the Priest” and “Song for Orphans.” Springsteen is joined on the album by Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa, Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Charlie Giordano and Jake Clemons. The album was produced by Ron Aniello with Springsteen. “Letter to You” is Springsteen’s first time performing with the E Street Band since The River 2016 tour.
The album caps a period of long-percolating activity for the Boss. He spent much of 2017 and 2018 performing multiple nights per week at his “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which was released on album and as a Netflix film. In June of 2019, he released his “Western Stars” album, which had been completed for several years.
In a September 2017 interview with Variety, Springsteen admitted he hadn’t written any new material for some time, but also was not concerned about it. “It’s been awhile since I’ve written, but that’s not unusual,” he said. “That’s occurred plenty of other times in my working life.”
But in May of last year, during an interview with director Martin Scorsese for the “Broadway” film, he casually mentioned that he’d recently written nearly an album’s worth of material to perform with the E Street Band, and that a tour was in the works.
“About a month or so ago, I wrote almost an album’s worth of material for the band. And it came out of just… I mean, I know where it came from, but at the same time, it just came out of almost nowhere,” he said. “And it was good, you know. I had about two weeks of those little daily visitations, and it was so nice.” He laughed out loud at the memory. “It makes you so happy. You go, ‘F—, I’m not f—ed, all right? There’ll be another tour!”