With the release of his recent autobiography, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bruce Springsteen has been uncharacteristically open with audiences about his personal life and struggles.
One that didn't make the headlines: The Boss wrote a song which he hoped to get into a Harry Potter movie, which never ended up making the cut.
In a recent interview on BBC Radio 2 with Simon Mayo said he wrote a song called "I'll Stand By You Always" that was meant for the movies, but "they didn't use it." He said that while it may not be a traditional Springsteen song, he was still proud of the track.
"It was pretty good," he said. "It was a song that I wrote for my eldest son, it was a big ballad that was very uncharacteristic of something I'd sing myself. But it was something that I thought would have fit lovely; at some point I'd like to get it into a children's movie of some sort because it was a pretty lovely song."
Springsteen's rabid fan community has been aware of the song for years. It appeared on a promotional CD handed out to a handful of Columbia Records and Sony executives on Halloween 2001 (then titled simply "Song For Harry Potter").
Per the BruceBase Wiki, "'I'll Stand By You Always' was written by Springsteen sometime between 1998 and 2000 and inspired by Bruce's reading of Harry Potter books to his youngest son Sam....Sometime in early 2001 Bruce made the song available to director Chris Columbus, who at the time was shooting the first of the Potter movies....However, the Springsteen song was ultimately rejected due to Harry Potter novelist/creator J.K. Rowling's contractual stipulation that no commercial songs of any type be used in the Potter film series."
The site further notes that a Springsteen recording of the song was filed with the US Copyright Office on June 13, 2001, and that after it was rejected for the Harry Potter films, Springsteen donated the song to fellow Sony artist Marc Anthony, who recorded a cover version. Despite having had official studio recordings, both Anthony's and Springsteen's versions remain unreleased and have never leaked (a true rarity for Springsteen music; there are literally thousands of bootlegs, including probably over 200 unreleased songs).
Anthony's version is doubly perplexing because it was originally meant to be released on his album Mended but not only didn't make the final cut but also didn't appear on an expanded version of the record released with additional songs.
Warner Bros Music President Gary Lemel, who was involved in putting together the Harry Potter soundtracks, declined to comment on the "I'll Stand By You Always" rumors during a USA Today interview – but BruceBase felt that in so doing, he "verified the basic truth in the story."
Springsteen is well-known to be a perfectionist and prefers most of his albums to have a consistent sonic and/or thematic feel (the major exception being The River, which is an intentionally chaotic collage of music, much of which had been waiting for the right album to be released), so it's arguably not that surprising that the song hasn't popped up on any of the seven studio tracks released since its recording (Springsteen's 2002 album The Rising, which dealt almost exclusively with the aftermath of September 11, would have been a particularly strange placement for the then-new song), although the musician has released three compilation albums since then that could have included the song if Springsteen particularly wanted it to see the light of day (no pun intended).
While Springsteen may not have made his way into the Harry Potter universe, he did appear in another well-regarded film adaptation of a modern British pop classic, High Fidelity, in 2000:
He's also had music featured in dozens of films, including original songs written for John Sayles's Limbo, Tim Robbins's Dead Man Walking, Darren Aranofsky's The Wrestler, and Paul Schrader's Light of Day.
That last song was written for the movie after Schrader sent Springsteen a screenplay titled Born in the U.S.A. and Springsteen wrote what proved to be a fairly successful song. So successful, in fact, that Schrader had to retitle his screenplay, and Springsteen wrote something for the new name.
But hey -- now that the Potter franchise is headed Stateside, maybe the decidedly-not-British Springsteen can get an audience with Ms Rowling about bringing his never-released song to the Fantastic Beasts soundtracks...!