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The Killers record new version of Dustland with Bruce Springsteen

By | Published on Wednesday 16 June 2021

The Killers

The Killers have released ‘Dustland’ – a reworked version of their 2008 song ‘A Dustland Fairytale’ – now featuring Bruce Springsteen.

You’re probably curious about how Bruce Springsteen came to be collaborating with The Killers. Luckily, Brandon Flowers has written about it in minute detail¬†on Instagram. I mean, the short version is that Bruce sent Brandon a text message and then they worked it out. Flowers puts a bit more flair into telling the story though.

Basically, in February last year, Flowers is waiting for a plane, worrying about this new virus he’s heard about. Then he gets a text, which reads: “Watching Glastonbury. You guys have become one hellacious live band, my brother! Love the gold suit! We gotta do ‘Dustland’ one day. Bruce”.

Now, Brandon knows two Bruces, but not so well that he has either of their numbers in his phone. “I forgot to put both Bruce’s numbers in that phone”, he says. He forgot. He has Bruce Springsteen’s number, but he didn’t put it in his phone. Also, Brandon Flowers still manually puts numbers in his phone. That’s probably a story for another day.

Turning amateur sleuth, he then Googles the area code on the phone number, and sees that it relates to Freehold, New Jersey – where Springsteen lives. He’s still not convinced though. What else could he do to work out who this mystery Bruce is?

“I text Evan (Bruce and Patti’s son, who has become a buddy of mine) and get verification that the number really is coming from his old man”.

Oh yeah, that would do it.

Anyway, remember that virus Flowers was worrying about? That turned out to be quite a big deal. As a result, it was quite some time after receiving that text message that The Killers were able to get into the studio with Springsteen to record their new version of ‘Dustland’.

The song, he says, was somewhat influenced by Springsteen in the first place. While his earlier inclination in his music-making was to write about things that were “larger than life”, ‘A Dustland Fairytale’ was written as his mother was dying from cancer. “It was an attempt to better understand my dad, who is sometimes a mystery to me”, he says. “[And] to grieve for my mother”.

“Bruce has written a lot about people like my parents and found a lot of beauty in otherwise invisible people’s hopes and dreams”, Flowers goes on. “I’m grateful to him for opening this door for me. Now go find out something new about your dad, give your mom a big hug, and for God’s sake listen to Bruce Springsteen”.

I think he probably means go and listen to some classic Springsteen songs, but I don’t think we went through all of that to not listen to this new collaboration with The Killers. So,¬†here is ‘Dustland’: