Human Touch is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. The album was released on March 31, 1992, the same day as Lucky Town. It was the more popular of the two, peaking at number two on the US Billboard 200, with "Human Touch" (paired with Lucky Town's "Better Days") peaking at number one on the Mainstream Rock chart and number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Human Touch" has since sold more than one million copies in the United States, and was nominated for Best Rock Vocal Performance at the 1993 Grammy Awards.[3]

Human Touch
Bruce Springsteen - Human Touch - coverart - I.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 31, 1992
RecordedSeptember 1989 – March 1991
StudioA&M, Los Angeles
ProducerBruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Roy Bittan
Bruce Springsteen chronology
Chimes of Freedom
Human Touch
Lucky Town
Singles from Human Touch
  1. "Human Touch"
    Released: March 21, 1992
  2. "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)"
    Released: July 10, 1992
  3. "Roll of the Dice"
    Released: November 26, 1992[1][2]


Not long after Springsteen broke up the E Street Band in October 1989, pianist Roy Bittan played Springsteen three instrumental songs he had written: "Roll of the Dice", "Real World" and "Trouble in Paradise".[4] Springsteen later added lyrics to the songs, and liked them to the point where he began writing and recording more songs.[4] With the E Street Band gone—except for Bittan, who played keyboards and co-produced the album—Springsteen assembled a band of studio musicians in Los Angeles, mostly using the services of Randy Jackson on bass guitar and Jeff Porcaro on drums.[4] A wide variety of background vocalists were used, including Sam Moore, Bobby Hatfield, and Bobby King. Overall, at least 25 or so songs were recorded, but the exact number is unknown.[4]

The album was originally set for a spring-summer 1991 release date, having been pushed back from early 1991, but was once again halted when Springsteen began recording Lucky Town later that year.[4] Springsteen ultimately decided to release both albums on the same day, with Human Touch released on March 31, 1992—more than two years after starting the project.[4]

Porcaro was asked by Springsteen to join the band for the subsequent tour, but declined because he was engaged with his own band Toto. Porcaro died a few months later of a heart attack in his garden.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [5]
Chicago Tribune    [6]
Christgau's Consumer Guide [7]
Entertainment WeeklyB-[8]
Rolling Stone     [9]
Tom HullB–[10]

Human Touch debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 selling 246,000 copies during its first week.[11] The album was met with a generally mixed critical reception. Rolling Stone gave the album 4 stars and noted that the songs "explore the movement from disenchanted isolation to a willingness to risk love and its attendant traumas again." The review also stated that the title track "stands among Springsteen's best work." However Bill Wyman of The Chicago Reader gave the album a very harsh review, calling it "the worst piece of [expletive] you can imagine coming from a talent on Springsteen's level." Out of the album's 14 tracks, Wyman said there was only "one passable Springsteen song, 'The Long Goodbye.' The lyrics don't make much sense...but it has a bruising musical onslaught that covers up a lot."[12]

Though his initial review was more positive, Greg Kot of The Chicago Tribune later wrote that "in retrospect, Human Touch tried to re-create the stadium-rocking aura of an E Street album, with session musicians unsuccessfully replacing the road-tested band."[13] AllMusic later described the album as "generic pop" and "his first that didn't at least aspire to greatness."[5]

The album is generally disliked by Springsteen fans, and in 2012 was ranked last among Springsteen's albums by the online magazine Nerve. Regarding the bad reputation of Human Touch and Lucky Town among his fans, Springsteen said: "I tried it [writing happy songs] in the early '90s and it didn't work; the public didn't like it."[14]

Track listingEdit

All music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, except where noted

1."Human Touch" 6:31
2."Soul Driver" 4:39
3."57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" 2:28
4."Cross My Heart"
5."Gloria's Eyes" 3:46
6."With Every Wish" 4:39
7."Roll of the Dice"
8."Real World"
  • Springsteen
  • Bittan
9."All or Nothin' at All" 3:23
10."Man's Job" 4:37
11."I Wish I Were Blind" 4:48
12."The Long Goodbye" 3:30
13."Real Man" 4:33
14."Pony Boy"Traditional, arrangement and additional lyrics by Springsteen2:14

Unreleased outtakesEdit

Springsteen's first album without the E Street Band featured numerous outtakes, many of which have been released. A cover of "Viva Las Vegas" was released as a B-side and on The Essential Bruce Springsteen, "Chicken Lips and Lizard Hips" was released on a children's album, and "30 Days Out" was also a B-side. "Part Man, Part Monkey", a track originally recorded during the Tunnel of Love session and performed on that tour, was re-recorded and released as a B-side and on Tracks along with other outtakes such as "Trouble In Paradise", "Sad Eyes", "Leavin' Train", "Seven Angels", "My Lover Man", "When the Lights Go Out", "Over the Rise", "Goin' Cali" and "Loose Change". "Trouble River" was released on 18 Tracks. Springsteen also recorded "Red-Headed Woman", a tribute to his wife Patti Scialfa and a song performed often, eventually released as a live version on the MTV Unplugged album, "Secret Garden", which would later get re-worked with the reunited E Street Band in 1995 for Greatest Hits, and "All the Way Home", a song Springsteen gave to Southside Johnny and one that Springsteen would not release until 2005's Devils & Dust.[15]

  • "Red Headed Woman"
  • "Secret Garden"
  • "All the Way Home"


  • Bruce Springsteen – guitar and lead vocals, bass guitar on "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)"
  • Randy Jackson – bass guitar
  • Jeff Porcaro – drums, percussion
  • Roy Bittan – keyboards
  • Sam Moore – harmony vocals on "Soul Driver", "Real World" and "Man's Job"
  • Patti Scialfa – harmony vocals on "Human Touch" and "Pony Boy"
  • David SanciousHammond organ on "Soul Driver" and "Real Man"
  • Bobby King – backing vocals on "Roll of the Dice" and "Man's Job"
  • Tim Pierce – second guitar on "Soul Driver" and "Roll of the Dice"
  • Michael Fisher – percussion on "Soul Driver"
  • Bobby Hatfield – harmony vocals on "I Wish I Were Blind"
  • Mark Isham – muted trumpet on "With Every Wish"
  • Douglas Lunn – fretless bass guitar nonpareil on "With Every Wish"
  • Kurt Wortman – drums and dumbeck on "With Every Wish"



Year Single Peak Chart Positions[16][17]
1992 "Human Touch"[A] 16 1 8 11 4 15 4 19 1 4 12 17 3
"57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" 68 6 32 26 9 32 39

Singles were released in both U.S. and UK/Europe, unless otherwise indicated:

  • A^ Charted as double A-Side with "Better Days" when released in the United States.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[36] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[37] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[38] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[39] Gold 35,627[39]
Germany (BVMI)[40] Gold 250,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[42] Gold 116,000[41]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[43] Gold 7,500^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[44] Gold 25,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[45] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden (GLF)[46] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[47] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[48] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[50] Platinum 1,168,000[49]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


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External linksEdit