Watch Springsteen Perform Aretha Franklin’s ‘Don’t Play That Song’ on ‘Fallon’

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Season 10 - Credit: Todd Owyoung/NBC/Getty Image
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Season 10 - Credit: Todd Owyoung/NBC/Getty Image

Bruce Springsteen appeared to The Tonight Show on Thursday night to perform Aretha Franklin’s “Don’t Play That Song” from Only the Strong Survive, his new LP of cover songs.

Springsteen performed Franklin’s 1970 classic with the bombastic backing of a 20-piece “mini-orchestra,” as Springsteen described in an interview with Rolling Stone last week. The track is featured on Springsteen’s latest album, a collection of his takes on classic R&B singles from the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties. “We turned the music into rock and soul music,” Springsteen told Rolling Stone. “I basically have a rock voice with soul undercurrents. But we were looking for songs we could just push a little bit in the rock direction.”

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The Boss returned to the set of Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show as part of the host’s Thanksgiving special. Springsteen did a three-episode residency on Fallon’s show last week, performing his takes on Frank Wilson’s “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do),”  Tyrone Davis’ “Turn Back the Hands of Time,” and The Commodores’ “Nightshift.”

“These songs should be part of the American Songbook just like Gershwin and Cole Porter, these incredible songs from the Sixties and Seventies and Eighties,” Springsteen told Rolling Stone. “They’re incredibly written. They’re beautifully written songs. They were amazingly recorded for their time, but you can really beef the recordings up now in a way you couldn’t in 1965 or 1970. You can get a full sound on these arrangements that gives them a lot of power. That’s what we’ve enjoyed doing.”

Springsteen plans to embark on a tour with his E Street Band in February, their first time on the road together since 2017. The on-sale for the tour caused a stir last month when some of the tickets were subject to dynamic pricing, meaning the ticket prices skyrocketed up to $5,000 in response to fan demand. “Ticket buying has gotten very confusing, not just for the fans, but for the artists also,” Springsteen explained.

He ultimately stood by dynamic pricing practices, however. “I’m going, ‘Hey, why shouldn’t that money go to the guys that are going to be up there sweating three hours a night for it?’” Springsteen said. “It created an opportunity for that to occur. And so at that point, we went for it. I know it was unpopular with some fans. But if there’s any complaints on the way out, you can have your money back.”

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