The ongoing trend of music movies continues this week with the release of Blinded by the Light, a film based on a true story of a British teen of Pakistani descent whose difficult life is changed when he discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen. Naturally The Boss is heavily featured on the film’s soundtrack with some rare tracks including a rejected Harry Potter song titled “I’ll Stand By You.” Take a listen in the video below:
As you can hear, “I’ll Stand By You” is only loosely inspired by Harry Potter and contains no direct references to that story or its characters. In this manner, like in a lot of great music, “I’ll Stand By You” isn’t specifically about one thing and can mean different things to different people. That said, you can definitely see how the lyrics and sentiment of the song would apply to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the film it was written for.
The lyric “I wish I could tell a story/Chase away all those ghosts/You got inside of you” feels very appropriate for the story of Sorcerer’s Stone. In that film, Harry is just beginning his Wizarding World journey, discovering his origins and what truly happened to his parents. He is haunted by the memory of the parents he never knew as he stares longingly into the Mirror of Erised, so chasing away the ghosts feels right.
The lyric “We'll fight here together/'til victory is won” also matches up with the idea of never giving up inherent to the series and exemplified in Dumbledore’s words in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince “It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.”
The chorus of “I'll stand by you always, always, always” especially really hits at the themes of love, friendship and being there for one another central to the Harry Potter series. Although it wouldn’t have worked in the film, its earnest sentiment feels like it could have been written for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 or the iconic book chapter "The Forest Again," when Harry marches into the Forbidden Forest to meet his fate, surrounded and protected by the ghosts of his loved ones.
In a 2016 interview, Bruce Springsteen said he wasn’t sure why the song wasn’t used in Harry Potter, but expressed a hope that it would one day make its way into a children’s movie. The Harry Potter films relied on scores from composers like the legendary John Williams as opposed to vocal tracks like this, a decision that makes sense and I think is preferable for that kind of material.
The Boss wrote the lovely contemporary ballad for his eldest son, and while Blinded by the Light isn’t a children’s movie, at least this studio version of “I’ll Stand By You” is being made available for people to hear it.