Last October, Bruce Springsteen surprised BBC Radio2’s Simon Mayo in an interview by revealing that he had written a “big ballad” for the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Though “I’ll Stand By You Always” did not end up in the film, it finally surfaced on SoundCloud on Friday after being released as part of a bootleg compilation on the Bruce Springsteen torrent site Jungleland.
“I’ll Stand By You Always” is earnest and unhurried – a little too somber, perhaps, for a movie about kids who can cast spells – with a soft, sweet gospel hook. The track is only connected with Harry Potter in a very loose sense: there are no references to characters or specific plot points from J.K. Rowling’s books. Springsteen reportedly wrote the song for his son, and it contains lines like, “Together we’ll chase those thieves that won’t leave you alone/ Out from the under the bed, out from over our home.”
In his BBC interview, Springsteen described “I’ll Stand By You Always” as “very uncharacteristic of something I’d sing myself.” “It was something that I thought would have fit lovely [in the movies],” he explained. He didn’t say why it had been turned down, though the Harry Potter movies rely on scores from the acclaimed composer John Williams rather than vocal tracks.
“At some point I’d like to get [“I’ll Stand By You Always”] into a children’s movie of some sort,” Springsteen added. “It was a pretty lovely song.”
Springsteen has had success writing music for movies in the past. He won an Oscar for “Streets of Philadelphia,” from 1994’s Philadelphia, and more recently, he picked up a Golden Globe for his contribution to the 2008 film The Wrestler.