When it comes to albums, Bruce Springsteen can be ruthless. Ruthless in the sense that if a great song doesn’t fit with the tone, message, or general vibe of the rest of the album he’s building, he’ll throw it out. Maybe the song gets a little oxygen on stage during a tour, maybe it finds its way onto another project years later, or maybe it’s still sitting in Bruce’s attic. As Springsteen told Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello in High Hopes, the HBO documentary about the making of his most recent album, “I got a million of ’em, man.”
High Hopes isn’t Tracks — the 1998 box set of orphans and B-sides that was every fan’s Holy Grail — but with the help of Morello, it resurrected some left-behind tunes, like “Hunter of Invisible Game,” and reinvented others, like “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”
In an exclusive clip from HBO’s documentary, which premieres this Friday night at 9:30 p.m., Springsteen describes the method behind his madness, and how certain classic tunes had to wait for their proper moment.