The Killers Re-Record “Dustland Fairytale” Remake with Bruce Springsteen

Some fairytale collaborations begin with a text.

Videos by American Songwriter

It’s February 29, 2020 and The Killers’ Brandon Flowers is getting ready to board a flight home to Utah from New York City, when he receives a text from a “Bruce” praising the band’s 2019 Glastonbury performance and wanting to work on the band’s 2008 hit “Dustland Fairytale.”

Left partially dumfounded by the text, Flowers wasn’t sure if this was a message from Bruce Hornsby, the actual “Boss,” or someone playing a cruel joke on him. After some careful probing, Flowers learned that it was, in fact, Bruce Springsteen, The Boss, who texted, hinting at a collaboration on the Day & Age track.

Halted from touring around the release of their sixth album Imploding the Mirage, the band revisited the song with Springsteen, re-recording it as “Dustland.”

The song, one of Springsteen’s favorites by the band, was written by Flowers about his mother Jean, who passed away from brain cancer in 2010 at the age of 64.

“I have always sought to find and reflect that elusive light in my songs,” shared Flowers on the band’s Instagram, giving a lengthy backstory on the original track and the making of the reimagined “Dustland.” “It’s a trait I inherited from my mother Jean.”

Flowers added, “‘Dustland’ was written in the middle of her battle with cancer. It was an attempt to better understand my dad, who is sometimes a mystery to me. To grieve for my mother. To acknowledge their sacrifices and maybe even catch a glimpse of just how strong love needs to be to make it in this world. It was my therapy. It was cathartic.”

Always sharing a mutual admiration for one another, The Killers and Springsteen have never recorded together prior to “Dustland.”

Trading verses on “Dustland,” Flowers and Springsteen sing together through the song’s still swelling chorus.

Saw Cinderella in a party dress but
She was looking for a night gown
I saw the devil warping up his hands
He’s getting ready for the show down
I saw the ending were they turned the page
I threw my money and I ran away
Strait to the Vally of the great divideAnd were the dreams roll high
And were the wind don’t blow
Out here the good girls die
And the sky won’t snow
Out here the bird don’t sing
Out here the field don’t grow
Out here the bell don’t ring
Out here the bell don’t ring
Out here the good girls die

“Bruce has written a lot about people like my parents and found a whole lot of beauty in otherwise invisible people’s hopes and dreams… their struggles, and their losses,” said Flowers on Instagram.

“I’m grateful to him for opening this door for me,” Flowers added. “I’m grateful to my parents for their example to me. Now go find something new out about your dad, give your mom a big hug, and for God’s sake listen to Bruce Springsteen.”.

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