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Bruce Springsteen: Hungry Heart was written for the Ramones

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Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

On a visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Bruce Springsteen talked about his upcoming The River tour and reminisced about some of his infamous stage antics. But early in the interview, Springsteen revealed he originally wrote one of his most iconic songs, “Hungry Heart,” for The Ramones.

“I saw the Ramones in Asbury Park,” he told Fallon, “and we were talking for a while and I was like, ‘Man I’ve got to write the Ramones a song.’ So I went home and I sat at my table and I wrote it in about the time it took me to sing it. I brought it in and we went to make a demo for it or I played it for [Johnny Ramone], and he said, ‘Nah, you better keep that one.’ He was right about that. It did pretty well.”

“Hungry Heart” appeared on Springsteen’s 1980 album, The River, of which he just released a reissue, and was his first single to break the Billboard 100’s top 10, peaking at No. 5.

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When asked what The Ramones’ version would sound like, The Roots riffed a bit, adding hard-ish rock vibes to Springsteen’s now classic track. “I don’t like that version at all,” Springsteen said.