I’m not sure how old I was when I learned what a remix was. I certainly didn’t have a childhood of going through 12″ singles and hearing alternate, longer versions of my favorite pop songs. But I do know that when I first started realizing that songs would be edited for radio (or extended for single consumption), my mind was blown.
This increased tenfold with the discovery of remixes through the ’80s. Say what you will about the music at that time, some of it was made better by remixing on vinyl. Those extended passages, done by cutting and splicing tape instead of hacking stuff together in Pro Tools, was studio art. (It didn’t hurt that I also had no concept of studio recording, and thought each individual track was laid down one at a time.)
As remixes got more avant-garde, adding more ridiculous overdubs and entirely different backing tracks, the idea got boring. But thanks to lots of reissue projects in the past decade or so, ’80s remixes live on. And even if they aren’t always better, they’re certainly always interesting.
Take Bruce Springsteen, for instance. Born in the U.S.A., his 1984 LP, was a smash success that yielded seven hits (in an already big year for radio hits in general – Prince, Madonna, Michael, etc.). But it was also a minor change in direction for him, in that he had a bit more modernity in his sound (particularly compared to his last album, the incredibly spare Nebraska (1982)). Songs like “Dancing in the Dark” and the title track were heavy on synths and big drum sounds – the typical order of the day for ’80s pop – and the first three singles from the record were commercially remixed by Arthur Baker, who was on the rise thanks to his work with Afrika Bambaaataa and Cyndi Lauper (he would produce and/or mix for Hall and Oates and Bob Dylan within the next two years).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of these remixes have ever been put out on CD. And to be honest, I can’t imagine that the ten mixes Baker did (two of which were actually Top 20 Club hits on Billboard‘s chart) would ever turn up on a reissue of Born in the U.S.A. But would a digital EP or limited CD release be impossible? I think not.
Join us after the jump to speculate on how a remixes EP for Born in the U.S.A. would look.Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.: The Remixes
- Dancing in the Dark (Blaster Mix) – 6:09
- Cover Me (Undercover Mix) – 6:09
- Born in the U.S.A. (The Freedom Mix) – 7:07
- Dancing in the Dark (Dub) – 5:30
- Cover Me (Dub 1) – 4:02
- Born in the U.S.A. (Dub) – 7:27
- Cover Me (Dub 2) – 4:15
- Dancing in the Dark (Radio Mix) – 4:50
- Cover Me (Radio Mix) – 3:46
- Born in the U.S.A. (Radio Mix) – 6:01
Tracks 1, 4 and 8 from 12″ single – Columbia 44-05028, 1984
Tracks 2, 5, 7 and 9 from 12″ single – 44-05087, 1984
Tracks 3, 6 and 10 from 12″ single – Columbia 44-05147, 1984