Ricky Nelson – Hello Mary Lou ( 1961 )
According to ex Springsteen manager Mike Appel, the solo from this early 60’s Ricky Nelson hit (played by Southern rock guitarist James Burton) was the inspiration for Springsteen’s own guitar playing on my favourite track Backstreets.
“We have his amplifier right there in the middle of the office and we start going through it, playing the track of Backstreets, and he’s playing against it. I said, oh, that’s it, that’s it, great. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Oh, no, no, no. You changed it. Until he gets it absolutely dead on. And that was the solo. And the beauty of it was, it was constructed. It wasn’t just off the top of your head.”
Springsteen was (and remains) a devotee of rock history. Many past influences made it into his songs making them, in my opinion, stronger and more deeply rooted in the pantheon of the American songbook.