The late comedian Robin Williams covered Bruce Springsteen's Fire in the voice of Elmer Fudd on his 1983 album, Throbbing Python of Love.
Although covered by the Pointer Sisters and Robert Gordon, Springsteen himself did not release the song until its inclusion on the 1986 album Live 1975‚??85. So the question is: how did Robin Williams come to release Fire before Springsteen?
DJ Rich Russo, host of the syndicated free-form Anything Anything radio show, has insight into the matter. He asked Williams about it during a chance meeting on Columbus Avenue in New York City in 1988.
"I spoke to (Williams) for what felt like an hour but it was probably only minutes," Russo said. "I said being a huge Springsteen fan, you did Springsteen's Fire before he released it. He said he had seen him in '78 at Berkeley and he had done that song (Fire) and that's where he got the inspiration from."
Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town tour did indeed play the Berkeley Community Theater in California on June 30 and July 1, 1978 and Fire was included on the setlist for the first show, according to the Greasylake.org fan site setlist database.
Springsteen and Williams would later share same stages, at the 1986 Neil Young Bridge School benefit in California; the 2012 Stand Up For Heroes concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City and at the 2003 Grammy Awards, where he introduced Springsteen and the E Street Band, according to the Springsteen fanzine Backstreets.
In 1988, Russo had just attended a revival performance of Waiting for Godot at Lincoln Center which starred Williams and Steve Martin before he ran into Williams. Williams' version of Fire, officially titled Elmer Fudd Sings Bruce Springsteen, was also released as the A-side of a PolyGram Record promotional single with another Springsteen parody called On the Boardwalk by Uncle Floyd Vivino.
Vivino's The Uncle Floyd Show aired on UHF TV in Jersey in the '70s and was syndicated in the '80s. He would have a cast member appear as the earnest Jersey singer "Bruce Stringbean" on the show. Vivino, who was too upset over Williams' passing to comment for this article, had a role in the Williams starrer Good Morning, Vietnam in 1988.
Russo will play Williams' Fire this week on his radio show, which airs 10 p.m. Sundays on 95.9-FM WRAT and 11 p.m. Sundays on 105.5-FM WDHA.
"This proves whatever your means, when you're depressed and you don't get proper health care, it's sad," said Russo of Williams' suicide.
Read the original story: Robin Williams and Bruce Springsteen, joined by 'Fire'