E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt revived 1977 orchestral rocker “Love On the Wrong Side of Town” that he co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. The song first appeared on Southside Johnny’s LP This Time It’s for Real. Van Zandt’s new version will appear on Soulfire, his first solo LP under the Little Steven moniker in nearly two decades.
Van Zandt captures the original marching band stomp of “Love On the Wrong Side of Town” with plenty of blazing brass and sweeping strings. He also pushes the arrangement into arena territory with soulful backing vocals, the steady vamp of his guitar and a wailing solo. “Bye bye baby,” Van Zandt belts, “Our love is tumbling down/ I can’t be hanging around/ Love on the wrong side of town.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Van Zandt recalled writing “Love on the Wrong Side of Town” with Springsteen, saying, “Bruce had that riff, and that’s basically how I collaborate. Somebody will have a riff or a line or a melody or a chorus or a title, and then I just finish the song. Looking back, I wish me and Bruce had done more together, honestly. It was just a song here, a song there, whatever we needed at the time. Of course, Bruce was busy doing his own thing, and at the time you don’t think, ‘Wow, we really should work together more often.'”
“Love On the Wrong Side of Town” follows the previously released title track for Soulfire. The album marks Van Zandt’s first since 1999’s Born Again Savage. The record will include several more tunes Little Steven wrote for Southside Johnny, as well as covers of Etta James and James Brown and a handful of originals, including “Soulfire.”
Van Zandt and his band the Disciples of Soul have a string of European dates scheduled for this summer, while a North American trek in support of Soulfire will be announced soon.