'Brilliant Disguise' - Bruce Springsteen

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Writer: Bruce Springsteen

Producers: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, and Chuck Plotkin

Recorded: Summer 1987 at Springsteen's home studio in Rumson, New Jersey

Released: October 1987

Players: Bruce Springsteen -- vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards
Roy Bittan -- piano
Danny Federici -- organ
Max Weinberg -- drums
Album: Tunnel Of Love (Columbia)

"Brilliant Disguise" was the first single from Bruce Springsteen's 10th album, Tunnel Of Love. The song peaked at Number Five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and it also peaked at Number 20 on the U.K. pop chart.

Springsteen noted that the stark, acoustic-flavored song about doubts that plague a relationship was part of a conscious decision to make his music more personal: "After '85...I turned inward to write about men, women, and love, things that had previously been on the periphery of my work...I wanted to write a different type of romantic song, one that I felt took in the different types of emotional experience of any real relationship. I guess I wanted to make a record about what I felt; really, letting another person into your life, that's a frightening thing."

Many listeners assumed that "Brilliant Disguise," with its references to a marriage and characters such as "the gypsy" (former E Street Band guitarist "MiamiSteve Van Zandt), was about Springsteen and his then-newlywed wife, actress-model Julianne Phillips. Springsteen denied it at the time, though subsequent events would suggest otherwise.

The Tunnel Of Love album was Springsteen's second without the E Street Band, following 1982's Nebraska. However, almost all of the E Street Band members show up on the record at some point.

Springsteen began recording Tunnel Of Love -- which was the follow-up to Born In The U.S.A. --in Los Angeles in 1986. Displeased, he switched to a studio in New York City before finally retreating to his home studio in Rumson, New Jersey.

Springsteen acknowledged that the album's low-key tone was designed as a reaction to the superstar-sized hype that accompanied Born In The U.S.A. "The way you counteract the size (of stardom) is by becoming more intimate in your work," he said. "And I suppose that's why after Born In The U.S.A., I made an intimate record."

Nevertheless, Tunnel Of Love hit Number One on the Billboard 200 chart and has sold well over three million copies.