Bruce Springsteen performed Rebel Rebel as a tribute to David Bowie at the opening night of The River Tour 2016 in Pittsburgh and said Bowie was one of his earliest supporters:
“Not very many people know this but he supported our music way, way in the very, very beginning. 1973. He rang me up and I visited him in Philly while he was making the Young Americans record. He covered my music, ‘Hard to be a Saint in the City’ … I took the Greyhound bus to Philadelphia, that’s how early it was,” Springsteen said.
In the liner notes to One Step Up / Two Steps Back: The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie wrote, “Springsteen came down to hear what we were doing with his stuff. He was very shy. I remember sitting in the corridor with him, talking about his lifestyle, which was a very Dylanesque – you know, moving from town to town with a guitar on his back, all that kind of thing. Anyway, he didn’t like what we were doing, I remember that. At least, he didn’t express much enthusiasm. I guess he must have thought it was all kind of odd. I was in another universe at the time. I’ve got this extraordinarily strange photograph of us all – I look like I’m made out of wax.”