Springsteen on Broadway Album Lyrics by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen Lyrics

Springsteen on Broadway Lyrics
(Lyrics to the Full Album on one page)

Growin' Up (Introduction)

DNA, your natural ability, the study of your craft, a development of and devotion to an aesthetic philosophy, balls, naked desire for fame, love, adoration, attention, women, sex, a buck, and then if you wanna take it all the way 'til to the end of the night you will need a furious fire in your belly that just don't quit burnin'. These are some of the elements that will come in handy should you come face to face with 80,000 screaming rock 'n' roll fans. Because these are fans who are waiting for you to pull something out of your hat, out of thin air, something out of this world, something that before the faithful were gathered here today was just a song-fueled rumor.

Now I come from a boardwalk town where everything is tinged with just a bit of fraud. So am I. 1972 I wasn't any racecar drivin' rebel, I wasn't any corner street front - I was a guitar player on the streets of Asbury Park, but, I held four clean aces. I had youth, I had a decade of hardcore bar band experience already behind me, I had a great group of musicians and friends who really knew my playing style, and I had a magic trick. Now I'm here tonight to provide proof of life, to that ever-elusive, never completely believable, particularly these days us - that's my magic trick, and like all good magic tricks, it begins with a setup


Growin' Up

I stood stone-like at midnight, suspended in my masquerade
I combed my hair till it was just right and commanded the night brigade
I was open to pain and crossed by the rain and I walked on a crooked crutch
I strolled all alone through a fallout zone and come out with my soul untouched
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, but when they said, "Sit down," I stood up
Ooh...growin' up

The flag of piracy flew from my mast, my sails were set wing to wing
I had a jukebox graduate for first mate, she couldn't sail but she sure could sing
I pushed b-52 and bombed them with the blues with my gear set stubborn on standing
I broke all the rules, strafed my old high school, never once gave thought to landing
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, but when they said, "Come down," I threw up
Ooh...growin' up

I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere, and you know it's really hard to hold your breath
I swear I lost everything I ever loved or feared, I was the cosmic kid in full costume dress
Well, my feet they finally took root in the earth, but I got me a nice little place in the stars
And I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car
I hid in the mother breast of the crowd, but when they said, "Pull down," I pulled up
Ooh...growin' up
Ooh...growin' up


My Hometown (Introduction)

Now everybody, everybody has a love-hate relationship with their hometown. It's just built into the equation of growing up. If you take me, I'm Mr. Born to Run. I'm Mr. Thunder Fucking Road. I was born to run, not to stay. My home, New Jersey - it's a death trap. It's a suicide rap. Listen to the lyrics, alright. I had to get out, I gotta hit the highway, I'm a roadrunner man, I got the white line fever in my veins, I am gonna bring my girl and I have had enough, of the shit that this place dishes out. I am gonna run, run, run, and I'm - well I'm never coming back. I currently live ten minutes from my hometown. But uh, born to come back, or uh - who would've bought that shit? Nobody. And in our front yard only a few feet from our front porch stood the grandest tree in town. It was a towering beautiful copper beach tree, and on sunny days, I lived under its branches, its roots, where a fort for my soldiers and a corral for my horses, and I was the first on my block, to climb high into its upper reaches, leaving behind a world that, I didn't care for much already. And up near the top I had the wind in my face and I had all the dreaming room that you could want. On slow summer nights I'd sit beneath its arms with my pals like the cavalry at dusk, just listening, listening, for the evening bells of the ice cream man. My grandmother's voice calling me into bed. I lived on Randolph Street, but my sister Virginia, she was a year younger than me, my parents Adele and Douglas, my grandparents Fred and Alice, and my trusty dog Saddle. We lived spitting distance from the Catholic church, the priest's rectory, the nun's convent, the Saint Rose of Lima Grammar School, all of it, just a football's toss away, across the field of wild grass. I literally grew up surrounded by God. Surrounded by God, and my relatives, 'cause we had cousins and aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas and great grandmas and great grandpas, so all of us were jammed into five little houses on two adjoining streets, and when the church bells rang, the whole clan would hustle up the street to stand witness to every wedding and every funeral that arrived like a state occasion, in our little neighborhood

My sister and I, we'd pick up the thrown rice from the weddings, pack it away in small brown paper bags and take it home and save it. Then run up the street and throw it at the next wedding, and the next wedding, and the next wedding. We also had front row seats to watch the townsmen in their Sunday suits carry out an endless array of dark wooden boxes to be slipped into the rear of the Freeman's Funeral Home long black Cadillac for the short ride to Saint Rose Cemetery Hill on the edge of town. And there, all our Catholic neighbors, all the Zirilli's, all the McNicholas's, all the Springsteens who came before, they patiently waited for us. On Sundays, as my mom tended to our graves, my sister and I, we played hide and seek amongst the gravestones. I gotcha. Now when it rains in Freehold, when it rains, the moisture in the humid air blankets the whole town with the smell of moist coffee grounds wafting in from the Nescafe plant from town's eastern edge. Now I don't like coffee. But I love that smell. Was comforting, it united our town, just like our clanging rug mill, and a calm and sensory experience. There was a place here. You could see it. You could smell it. A place where people made lives, and where they worked, and where they danced, and where they enjoyed small pleasures and played baseball and, and suffered pain, where they had their hearts broke, where they made love, had kids, where they died, and drank themselves drunk on spring nights, and where they did their very best, the best that they could, to hold off the demons outside and inside that sought to destroy them, and their homes and their families, and their town. Here we lived in the shadow of the steeple crookedly blessed in God's good mercy one and all. In the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, race-rioting, freak-hating, soul-shaking, redneck, love and fear-making, heartbreaking town, of Freehold, New Jersey


My Hometown

I was eight years old and running with a dime in my hand
Into the bus stop to pick up a paper for my old man
I'd sit on his lap in that big old Buick and steer as we drove through town
He'd tousle my hair and say son take a good look around
This is your hometown
This is your hometown
This is your hometown
This is your hometown

In '65 tension was running high at my high school
There was a lot of fights between the black and white
There was nothing you could do
Two cars at a light on a Saturday night in the back seat there was a gun
Words were passed in a shotgun blast
Troubled times had come
To my hometown
My hometown
My hometown
My hometown

Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more
They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back
To your hometown
Your hometown
Your hometown
Your hometown

Last night me and Kate we laid in bed
Talking about getting out
Packing up our bags maybe heading south
I'm thirty five we got a boy of our own now
Last night I sat him up behind the wheel and said son take a good look around
This is your hometown


My Father's House (Introduction)

My father worked as a 16 year old floor boy in that rug mill, and then he went off to war, and when he came home, got married, they shut the rug mill down, so he went to work on the Ford motor plant in New Brunswick, then he worked at the Nescafe plant in Freehold, worked in a plastics factory in town, he was a truck driver, bus driver, drove a taxi, he lived mostly at home, except for his second home which was a little local bar in the center of town. Now to a child, bars in Freehold were these citadels of great mystery. When you walked through bar room doors in my hometown, you entered the mystical realm of men. On the rare night, that my mother would call my father home, we would slowly drive through town until we drew to a stop outside of a single lit door, she'd look at me and say, "Go in and get your dad". This both thrilled and terrified me. It thrilled me because I had been given the license by my mother, the law, to go into the bar! I'm a kid! But it terrified me because to enter the bar is to enter my father's priveleged, private, and sacred space. He was not to be disturbed when he's down at the bar. Everybody knew that. So I would walk in, and I was waist-high, like a Jack who climbed some dark beanstalk into a land of giants, all I remember is the men towering over me on their way out the door. Now once you were in, to the left against the wall was a line of red leather booths that were filled with husband and wife tag team drinkers.

Now there were your hardcore regulars there night after night after night, alright now to the right was the bar, a line of stools filled by a barricade of broad working class backs clinking glasses, too loud laughter, and very few women. I would stand there lost in the noise and the hustle of the crowd and I would drink in that dim smell of beer and booze and aftershave. Now to a kid, that was the scent of adulthood. It was the scent of manhood. I wanted some of that. And finally somebody would notice me, and draw me over to my pop, now my view from the Ford was the first thing I'd see was the chrome legs of the barstool. Then I'd see his black shoes, white socks, dark green work trousers, powerful legs and haunches, my dad 'til the day he died had the legs and the ass of a rhinoceros. And, and his trousers always looked like they were stretched. stretched over that legs and ass somehow, I don't know how. He was always bustin' out ya know, uh, then I would see his black Garrison work belt, his green work shirt, and then his face. By the time I got there his face was flushed red, red as a tomato because he was Irish and whatever he drank went straight to his face, alright. He couldn't hide a thing when he came home, ya know, uh, and not only was it red, like it - it was like distorted too, into some sort of booze mask, by, by Mr. Schlitz and, and, it was so foreign to me as a child that, it - he - fuck I don't know, ha ha, but it was scary and he'd be peering down over his shoulder, down at the cigarette smoke and he'd be lookin' at me like "I've never seen you before in my fuckin' life". I then uttered the immortal words that I was sent to deliver - "Mom wants you to come home". I'd hear, "Go outside, I will be right out", and I would follow my breadcrumb trail back out the bar room door, I would hop into the backseat, and I would inform my mother, "Um, he'll be right out, he'll be right out"


My Father's House

Last night I dreamed that I was a child
Out where the pines grow wild and tall
I was trying to make it home through the forest
Before the darkness falls

I heard the wind rustling through the trees
And ghostly voices rose from the fields
I ran with my heart pounding down that broken path
With the devil snapping at my heels

I broke through the trees and there in the night
My father's house stood shining hard and bright
The branches and brambles tore my clothes and scratched my arms
But I ran till I fell shaking in his arms

I awoke and I imagined, the hard things that pulled us apart
Will never again, sir, tear us from each other's hearts
I got dressed and to that house I did ride
From out on the road I could see its windows shining in light

I walked up the steps and stood on the porch
A woman I didn't recognize came and spoke to me through a chained door
I told her my story and who I'd come for
She said "I'm sorry son but no one by that name lives here anymore"

My father's house shines hard and bright
It stands like a beacon calling me in the night
Calling and calling, so cold and alone
Shining 'cross this dark highway where our sins lie unatoned


The Wish (Introduction)

My mom was a different story altogether. I wanna release you from suicide watch right now. Snap out of it, come on. Because my mother was bright, happy, she'd merrily make conversation with a broom handle, she believed that there was good faith, good heart, good hope in all citizens. She gave the world a lot more credit perhaps than it deserves, but that was her way. Now on school mornings, I hated school, that's just rockstar 101. If you don't hate school in my business, please keep your fucking day job alright? Because it's a sign, it's a sign that, brother, you're going nowhere man, nowhere. You need to have hatred in your heart to get to the top where I am, alright? You've got to hate on, uh - so of course I hated getting up and uh, my mom had perfected this technique in the morning where she'd stand over my bed with a glass of ice water and give me 30 seconds, eh you know, "Five, four, three, two", boom! Niagara Falls. I would get dressed, I would drift downstairs to breakfast where I would feast daily on a huge bowl of sugar pops, a fine product, with just one problem - they don't put enough sugar in those sugar pops. So I wasn't content until I snowed more sugar on my sugar pops until they looked like the Himalayas, and then mmm good, with a buzz on, and a kiss from my mom, I was off, with my sister, lumbering up the street with our book bags, as my mom's high heels clicked lightly in the other direction toward Lawyer's Title Insurance Company in town center, she was a legal secretary. That was a job she did since the day she got out of high school, fifty years to follow. Goes to work, doesn't miss a day, never sick, never down, never complains, work doesn't appear to be a burden for her but it's a source of energy and of social pleasure. Now, some evenings I would meet my mother at closing time and we would be the last to leave the office and this was always a great privilege to me. I would have my mother all to myself, and with the building empty, her high heels would echo down the long linoleum hallway, and with the fluorescent lights out, lawyers' cubicles empty, secretaries; desks empty, typewriters covered, silent, the building was so still, after all the noise of the day ya know it was so, it got so quiet, it was as if - it, it was as if the building itself was resting after a long day of service in the interest of our town.

And then suddenly we'd be through the front door and out on Main Street in five o'clock rush hour and she would stride along, statuesque, and, I'd be runnin' alongside her just, trying to keep up and I would be, ya know, looking up at her, and uh, it's a sight I've never f-, never forgotten - my mother walking home from work, had some - just some eternal impact on me, ya know uh, she uh, she always had these very ethnic features, she had coal black hair, Italian olive skin, and when she was young she wore that red lipstick, that was very fashionable, in the 50's. And she'd be looking down at me with a look that for me, was like the grace of Mary, Made me understand for the first time how good it feels, feel pride in somebody that you love, and who loves you back, ya know. She let the town know that we are handsome, responsible members of this shit dog bird, pullin' our own individual weight doin' what has to be done day after day, we have a place here that we have earned, and we have a reason to open our eyes at the break of each day and breathe in a life that's steady and good. My mom was truthfulness, consistency, good humor, professionalism, grace, kindness, optimism, civility, fairness, pride in yourself, responsibility, love, faith in your family, commitment, joy your work, and a never-say-die thirst for living - for living. For living and for life. And most importantly, for dancing. My mother and her two sisters were dancing machines, alright. They grew up in the 40's with the big bands and the swing bands, and they, and they learned the jitterbug, and, and uh, it was in their bones, ya know, uh, my mom is seven years into Alzheimer's. And she's 93. But dancing, and the desire and need to dance is something that, it hasn't left her. Remains an essential primal part of who she is, it's beyond language, it's more powerful than memory, and when she comes in the door, we make sure there's music on. She wants to dance, ya know. These things were the embodiment of my mother, they were her heart, she carried on and she carries on as if they never, never deserted her


The Wish

Dirty old street all slushed up in the rain and snow
Little boy and his ma shivering outside a rundown music store window
That night on top of a Christmas tree shines one beautiful star
And lying underneath a brand-new Japanese guitar

I remember in the morning, ma, hearing your alarm clock ring
I'd lie in bed and listen to you gettin' ready for work
The sound of your makeup case on the sink
And the ladies at the office, all lipstick, perfume and rustlin' skirts
And how proud and happy you always looked walking home from work

If pa's eyes were windows into a world so deadly and true
You couldn't stop me from looking but you kept me from crawlin' through
And if it's a funny old world, mama, where a little boy's wishes come true
Well I got a few in my pocket and a special one just for you

It ain't no phone call on Sunday, flowers or a mother's day card
It ain't no house on a hill with a garden and a nice little yard
I got my hot rod down on Bond Street, I'm older but you'll know me in a glance
We'll find us a little rock 'n roll bar and baby we'll go out and dance

Well it was me in my Beatle boots, you in pink curlers and matador pants
Pullin' me up of the couch to do the twist for my uncles and aunts
Well I found a girl of my own now, ma, I popped the question on your birthday
She stood waiting on the front porch while you were telling me to get out there
And say what it was that I had to say

Last night we all sat around laughing at the things that guitar brought us
And I layed awake thinking 'bout the other things it's brought us
Well tonight I'm takin's requests here in the kitchen
This one's for you, ma, let me come right out and say it
It's overdue, but baby, if you're looking for a sad song, well I ain't gonna play it


Thunder Road (Introduction)

There's nothing like being young and leaving some place. That was a feeling that, oh, I loved. Maybe that's why I became a musician. Um, sleep late, stay up late, and you do an awful lot of leavin'. The night I left Freehold for the last time, I laid back on the couch that was perched high atop a load of the band's junk furniture in the back of an open flatbed truck on a beautiful summer night. I was 19 years old. That felt pretty good. Soft ocean breeze of the shore was reaching all the way inland, and as we drew through town, for the very last time, we were stopped by the police, who informed us, that there was a law against moving after dark. What the fuck? Who's [?] all that [?] Don't move your shit after dark? What are we running off one of Freehold's great antiquities? The sun goes down, they'll bust your ass in Freehold son. Anyway, they uh, they sent us on our way, glad to be rid of the town hippies I guess, and so I laid back on my couch, and I was watchin' the tree branches brush above me and the stars glowing in the night sky, and I remember it felt absolutely wonderful. I had nothin'. No parents, they'd moved away with my, little sister Pam, to California in 1969. My sister Virginia, great soul that she is, she got pregnant and had a baby at 18, left high school, married a competitive bull rider, and they moved into the wilds of southern New Jersey because, that's where the cowboys live.

The real joke is that fifty years later, they're still together and they still go to the rodeo. But I had no money and no family and no realistic future but yet I remember layin' on that couch with the summer wind rushin' over me, and ya know that salt water smell in the air of the shore comin' on, thinkin', I was just happy, I was happy. I got it all, ya know, maybe I did, ya know. Maybe there was nothing like that moment in your life with being and leaving some place, all that youthful freedom, you feel, finally being untethered from everything you've ever known, the life you've lived, the past, your parents, the world you've gotten used to and that you've loved and hated. Your life laying before you like a blank page. It's the one thing I miss about getting older, I miss the beauty of that blank page, so much life in front of ya. It's promise, it's possibilities, it's mysteries, it's adventures. That blank page, just layin' there, daring you to write on it


Thunder Road

The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey, that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again, I just can't face myself alone again
Don't run back inside, darling, you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're alright
Oh, and that's alright with me

You can hide 'neath your covers and study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now, I ain't no hero, that's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey, what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well, the night's busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven's waiting on down the tracks

Oh oh, come take my hand
We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey, I know it's late, we can make it if we run
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road

Well, I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride ain't free
And I know you're lonely for words that I ain't spoken
But tonight we'll be free, all the promises'll be broken

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets
They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines rolling on
But when you get to the porch, they're gone on the wind
So Mary, climb in
It's a town full of losers, I'm pulling out of here to win


The Promised Land (Introduction)

So - so I'm 20 years old, and I'm livin' and playin' on the Jersey shore and I'm waitin' to be discovered. Now, I have some confidence. I've been around a bit, and without a doubt, I am definitely the best thing that I've ever seen. I've already played in front of every conceivable audience. I had played fireman's fairs, midnight madness supermarket openings, drive-in movies, uh, in front of the concession stand in between films, I've played beach parties, offices, clubs, pizza parlors, coffee shops, bowling alleys, trailer parks, roller rinks, VFW halls, CYO canteens, the elks lodge, YMCA gymnasiums, hockey rinks, county fairs, carnivals, high school dances, weddings, fraternity parties, bar mitzvahs, [?], battle of the bands, Sing Sing Prison, and Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital. Send me your murderers and your maniacs and let me entertain 'em, alright? It's what I do. That's all true. That's all before I was 23 years old, I was frustrated, I listen to the radio and I think I'm as good as that guy, I'm better than that guy, so why not me? Answer: because I live in the fucking Boondocks, alright. Let me explain this to you. I live in the boondocks. There is nobody here and no one comes down here. It's a grave. There was no Jersey, Jersey, Jersey Shore, Jersey Almighty shit. I invented that. Before me, Jersey was Jeserkistan. Jeserkistan! One of the little -stan things that nobody knows a fuckin' thing about, ya know. And New York was a million miles away from the Jersey Shore. In my little town as a child we knew no one who had ever been to New York City. Jesus Christ, it was only an hour away! But no, you might as well have said you're goin' to the fuckin' moon! "Hey, we're goin' to the moon, you wanna go?" "No, no, no, no New York, we're provincial, everybody was afraid ya know, everybody was afraid of the big city. And there was no internet, there was no ET, or MTV, or cable TV or satellite or, this is before anyone and everyone's asscrack from any place U.S.A. could be seen all over the world, should they choose, in the push of a key, in the next instant. So who was gonna come to the Jersey shore, to discover the next big thing in 1971? You're correct. No fuckin' body. All we heard down there was the sound of, one hand clapping. Wasn't gonna happen

I had one shot, my girlfriend at the time did me a great favor, brought a guy who had a successful recording band down to the Student Prince, our club, Asbury Park, to discover us. We got up on a little stage that fit 150 people, was about half full, and we played for this guy like we were at Madison Square Garden. Everything we had, all night long. We played five sets from 9pm 'til 3am. At the end of the night, I was soaked to my bones, I got off the band stand, this guy walked up to me, looked me in the eye, shook my hand and said, "You guys are the best unsigned band I've ever seen". Then he slept with my girlfriend and left town. That's the end of that story. It's a sad ending, ya know. But that was enough for me. I gathered together the men, and I said, "Gentlemen, we are going to have to leave the confines of the Jersey shore and venture into parts unknown if we wanna be seen, heard, by anybody, or discovered". Now, I found a manager, surfboard manufacturer from the west coast, he'd moved east by the name of Carl Virgil "Tinker" West. Now, together he, Mad Dog Lopez, and myself, we lived in the surfboard factory, in the industrial wastelands of Wanamassa, New Jersey. Tinker said he had some remaining rock 'n' roll contacts in San Francisco so we all got excited, and he said if we could get there, somethin' might happen. So we saved up all our money until we had 100 dollars, alright?. And then me, Danny Federici, Mad Dog Lopez, little Vinnie Roslin our bass player, rigged out Danny's station wagon for the drive, put a mattress in the back for the drivers to spell each other into sleep, then on the way out there, we rigged Tinker's old 40's flatbed to carry our equipment, and we had three days to make it across the country for a New Year's Eve gig in Big Sur, California. Now three days means those are gonna be thousand mile days. You can make it, but you can't stop. You stop for gas and for nothing else. You drive, drive, drive, drive, 72 hours straight, somebody's drivin' all the time, around the clock. Now of course we lost Danny and the entire station wagon full of drivers in Nashville, Tennessee. Now, there's no cellular phones - young people, take a moment. Let's try it. Imagine a world without the cellular phone. When you lose someone in that world without the cellular phone, oh they're fuckin' lost. There's no device! You can't get in touch with 'em, they're gone! Out of your life! Into the ether!

So now it's just Tinker, me, Tinker's dog, thousands of miles to go, and we got several problems, one is I have no license. Second problem is I don't have a clue as to how to drive. And by that I mean the man who would very very shortly write "Racing in the Street" - that's how good I am. Because at 21, I had never driven a fucking block. Around 1 or 2 AM, Tinker's eyes glass over and he says, "I'm fried. I need to get some sleep. It's your turn to drive". I go, "Tink, I can't drive". He says, "Springsteen, there's nothing to it. Idiots all over the world are doin' it". "Oh yeah?" He pulls me into a parking lot, he puts me behind the wheel, I start grindin' gears, pumpin' the clutch, jerkin' the truck all over the lot, it's a 1940's manual transmission and I can't get past first gear! After a moment Tinker says, "This isn't gonna work". But I got another idea. He gets in the driver's seat. He slips in the clutch. He smoothly shifts it into first. He eases out on the clutch. He gets that truck goin' on a sweet little roll, looks at me and says, "Now let's switch seats". And that's what we did. I was fine in second, third, and fourth, and I could keep it in between the lines as long as I didn't have to stop or go near first gear. If I gotta do either of those things I have to wake up Mr. West, alright. Now, it doesn't matter because he's awake anyway, because the guy who can't drive is drivin'! You're not gonna sleep through that! So, uh, you'd be surprised how far you can go across this big country without having to stop, ya know, it's, it's a long ways between things out there, and man I drove my share. 2000 miles in second, third, and fourth gear. Without killing anybody. Uh, and we made it on time, ya know, but - that trip was, was where I saw the United States at its fullest, and as a young man I was overwhelmed by its size and its beauty and, this is a short piece from the book about riding across the country for the very first time. The country was beautiful, and I felt a great elation at the wheel as we crossed the western desert at dawn. The deep blue, purple shadow canyons, pale yellow morning sky, all of its color drawn out, leaving just the black silhouetted mountains in your rear view mirror. And then with the eastern sun rising at our backs, the deep reds and the browns of the plains and the hills came to life slowly in front of us. Our palms turned salty white on the wheel from the aridity. Morning woke the earth into this muted color, and then came the flat light of the midday sun, and everything stood revealed as pure horizon. Just sky, sky, sky, and more sky. Lowering on the two lanes of black top, and disappearing into nothing. My favorite thing. Then the evening, with the sun burning red into your eyes, and droppin' gold into the western hills in front of ya. All felt like home to me. And I fell into a lasting love affair with the desert


The Promised Land

On a rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desert
I pick up my money and head back into town
Driving 'cross the Waynesboro county line
I got the radio on and I'm just killing time
Working all day in my daddy's garage
Driving all night chasing some mirage
Pretty soon little girl I'm gonna take charge

The dogs on Main Street howl
'Cause they understand
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land

I've done my best to live the right way
I get up every morning and go to work each day
But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold
Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode
Explode and tear this whole town apart
Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart
Find somebody itching for something to start

The dogs on Main Street howl
'Cause they understand
If I could wrench one moment into my hands
Mister I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land

Well there's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain't got the faith to stand its ground
Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted

The dogs on Main Street howl
'Cause they understand
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister I ain't a boy, no I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land

And I believe in a promised land
And I believe in a promised land


Born In the U.S.A. (Introduction)

So it's, it's 1980, I'm 30 years old, I'm on another cross country trip with a buddy of mine, and we stop outside of Phoenix to gas up, go into a small town drugstore, I'm riflin' through a rack of paperback books, I come across a book called "Born on the Fourth of July" by a Vietnam veteran named Ron Kovic. Now this book was a testimony of the experience he'd had as a combat infantry man in southeast Asia. Week or two later, I'm bunked in at the fabulous Sunset Marquis Motel in Los Angeles. Uh, for the uninformed, it's kind of an upscale, uh, low-life rockstar hangout, alright? Uh, small world theory. Small world theory proves itself once again. I been seein' a young guy with shoulder-length hair sittin' in a wheelchair by the pool for several days. So uh, one afternoon, he rolled up to me and said, "Hi, I'm Ron Kovic. I wrote a book called 'Born on the Fourth of July'". I said, "Jesus, I just, I just read it, and when it, it destroyed me", and, he spent the afternoon Talkin' to me about many returned soldiers who were struggling with a wide variety of problems and he wanted to know if I'd take a drive with him to the vet center in Venice, meet some of the southern California veterans. So I said sure, next day we headed out there and I'm usually pretty easy with people, but once we were at the center, I didn't know how to respond to what I was seein'. Uh, talkin' about my own life to these guys seemed frivolous. There was homelessness and drug problems and post-traumatic stress, and young guys my age dealing with life-changing physical injuries, and it made me think about my own friends from back home. Walter Cichon. Walter Cichon was the greatest rock 'n' roll frontman on the Jersey shore in the bar band 60's. He was in a group called The Motifs, and he was the first real rockstar that I ever laid my eyes on. He just had it in his bones, he had it in his blood, it was in the way he carried himself. On stage, he just, was deadly. He was raw and sexual, and dangerous and in our little area, he taught us, by the way that he lived, that you could live your life the way you chose, you could look the way you wanted to look, you could play the music you wanted to play, you could be who you wanted to be, and you could tell anyone who didn't like it to go fuck themselves. Walter had a guitar playin' brother, Raymond. Raymond was tall, tall kind of sweetly clumsy guy, one of those big guys, who just isn't comfortable with his size. He's always like, ooh, ooh, knockin' into shit wherever he is, and wherever that is, there is just not enough space for Raymond, for some reason. And uh, but, but then strangely he was always dressed impeccably, ya know, with a pastel shirt, long pointed collar, shark skin pants, nylon socks, spit-shined pointy toed shoes, slicked back black hair with a little curl that would come down when he was playin' the guitar. Uh, Raymond was my guitar hero. And he was just a shoe salesman in the day. And uh, Walter I think worked construction, and they were only a little bit older than we were. Never had any national hit records. Never did any big tours. But they were gods to me. And uh, the hours I spent standing in front of their band, studying, studying, studying, class in session, night after night watchin' Ray's fingers fly over the fretboard and Walter scare, the shit outta half the crowd, oh man. Ya know, they were essential to my development as a young musician. I learned so much from Walter and from Ray. And my dream was I just wanted to play like Ray, and walk like Walter.

And then there was Bart Hanes. Bart Hanes was the drummer from my first band, The Castilles. He was the first real drummer I ever played with. He was absurdly funny kid, classic class clown, was a good good drummer, with one strange quirk - couldn't play "Wipeout" by The Safaris. This may not seem so critical to you right now, I understand, but, in those days, your skills, your mettle, your self-worth as a drummer and as a human being, was tested in front of your peers once an evening by your performance of "Wipeout". Now Bart could play every other fucking thing, but when it came to "Wipeout" - beyond his capabilities. Was tragic, ya know. One day, he got off, he got up off the drum stool, he joined the Marines, then uh, Walter and Bart, they were both killed in the war in 1967 and '68. Bart was the first young man from our hometown to give his life in Vietnam. So, I really didn't know what to say to the guys I was meeting in Venice. I sat there for most of the afternoon and just listened. Then in 1982 I wrote and I recorded my soldier story. It was a protest song, the G.I. blues. The verses were just accounting of events, the choruses were a declaration of your birthplace, and the right to all the blood, and the confusion, and the pride, and the shame, and the grace, that comes with birthplace. 1969, Mad Dog, little Vinnie, and myself, we were all drafted, on the exact same day. All three of us. We rode together early one Monday morning from the selective service office on probably the unhappiest bus that ever pulled out of Asbury Park. Because we were on our way to what we were sure was going to be our funeral. We'd seen it already, all very up close. And when we got to the Newark draft board, we did everything we could not to go. And uh, we succeeded, all three of us, when I go to Washington, and I vacation to visit Walter and Bart, I'm glad that Mad Dog's, little Vinnie's, for that matter, my name, isn't up on, on that wall, but it was 1969 and thousands and thousands of young men to come would be called, simply sacrificed, just to save face for the powers that be, who by then already knew, they knew it was a lost cause. And still thousands and thousands of more young boys. So uh, so I do sometimes who went in my place, because somebody did.


Born In The U.S.A.

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the USA
I was born in the USA
I was born in the USA
Born in the USA

Got in a little hometown jam so they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land to go and kill the yellow man

Born in the USA
I was born in the USA
I was born in the USA
I was born in the USA
Born in the USA

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says "son if it was up to me"
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said "son don't you understand now"

Had a brother at Khe Sahn fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there he's all gone
He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

Born in the USA
I was born in the USA
Born in the USA
I'm a long gone Daddy in the USA
Born in the USA
Born in the USA
Born in the USA
I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the USA


Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out (Introduction)

Now, real rock 'n’ roll band evolves out of a common place and time, fans come out of towns, out of city, out of neighborhood, and they come along in a particular moment. Bands are all about what happens, they're musicians, who come from the same streets, the same passions and influences, who go in search of lightning and thunder. They come together in a whole that is greater than the sum of their parts. They may not be the best players, that's not necessary. They need to be the right players, and when they play together, there is a communion of souls, and a natural brotherhood, and sisterhood, manifests itself, and a quest, a quest is begun, you’re in search of something, an adventure's undertaken, and you ride shotgun. In a real band, principles of math get stood on their head, and one plus one equals three


Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

Tear drops on the city, Bad Scooter searching for his groove
Seem like the whole world walking pretty and you can't find the room to move
Well, everybody better move over, that's all
'Cause I'm running on the bad side and I got my back to the wall
Tenth Avenue freeze-out
Tenth Avenue freeze-out

Well, I was stranded in the jungle trying to take in all the heat they was giving
The night is dark but the sidewalk's bright and lined with the light of the living
From a tenement window a transistor blasts
Turn around the corner, things got real quiet real fast
I walked into a Tenth Avenue freeze-out
Tenth Avenue freeze-out

And I'm all alone, I'm all alone
(And kid, you better get the picture)
And I'm on my own, I'm on my own
And I can't go home

When the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band
From the coastline to the city, all the little pretties raise their hands
I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh
When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half
With the Tenth Avenue freeze-out
Tenth Avenue freeze-out
Tenth Avenue freeze-out
Tenth Avenue freeze
I'm talking 'bout a Tenth
Oh, nothing but a Tenth
I'm talking 'bout a Tenth
I'm talking bout a Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth
Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, I'm talking 'bout a
Tenth Avenue freeze-out...


Tougher Than the Rest (Introduction)

Alright, alright, she is the queen of my heart. She is my flaming beauty. My Jersey girl. She is a great songwriter, she's one of the loveliest voices I've ever heard. She is smart, tough, but fragile. Don't forget that part. If we love those in whose companies reflected the best of us, that's the light she shines on me. 1984 one night, hangin' out at the Stone Pony and this beautiful redhead shows up and sits in with the Sunday night house band, and that is the night I fell in love with Patti's voice. She got on stage, this blaze of red, she performed a great version of The Exciters' hit song "Tell Him". So the first line of the first song I ever heard Patti sing was "I know somethin' about love". She does. Ladies and gentlemen Patti Scialfa


Tougher Than the Rest

Well It's Saturday night
You're all dressed up in blue
I been watching you awhile
Maybe you been watching me too
So somebody ran out
Left somebody's heart in a mess
Well if you're looking for love
Honey I'm tougher than the rest

Some girls they want a handsome Dan
Or some good-lookin' Joe
On their arm some girls like a sweet-talkin' Romeo
Well 'round here baby
I learned you get what you can get
So if you're rough enough for love
Honey I'm tougher than the rest

The road is dark
And it's a thin thin line
But I want you to know I'll walk it for you any time
Maybe your other boyfriends
Couldn't pass the test
Well if you're rough and ready for love
Honey I'm tougher than the rest

Well it ain't no secret
I've been around a time or two
Well I don't know baby maybe you've been around too
Well there's another dance
All you gotta do is say yes
And if you're rough and ready for love
Honey I'm tougher than the rest
If you're rough enough for love
Baby I'm tougher than the rest


Brilliant Disguise (Introduction)

Trust uh, trust in a relationship's a fragile thing. Uh, always been a little complicated for me 'cause trust requires allowing others to see as much of our real selves as we have the courage to reveal. But I mean uh, I don't wanna see my real self, why would, why would others want to? But it means allowing others to see behind our many masks, masks we wear, overcomin' that fear, or rather learning how to love and how to trust in spite of it.

It takes a little courage, and a very strong partner. 'Cause in this life you make your choices and you take your stand and you awaken from that youthful spell of immortality where it feels like the road's gonna go on forever. And you walk alongside your chosen partner with the clock ticking, and you recognize that life is finite, that you've got just so much time, and so together, you name the things that'll give your life in that time its meaning, its purpose, its fullness, its, its very reality. And this is what you build together, this is, what your love consists of. This is what you, this is your life, ya know. And these are things that you can hold onto when the storms come, as they will.


Brilliant Disguise

I hold you in my arms
As the band plays
What are those words whispered baby
Just as you turn away
I saw you last night
Out on the edge of town
I wanna read your mind
To know just what I've got in
This new thing I've found
So tell me what I see
When I look in your eyes
Is that you baby
Or just a brilliant disguise

I heard somebody call your name
From underneath our willow
I saw something tucked in shame
Underneath your pillow
Well I've tried so hard baby
But I just can't see
What a woman like you
Is doing with me
So tell me who I see
When I look in your eyes
Is that you baby
Or just a brilliant disguise

Now look at me baby
Struggling to do everything right
And then it all falls apart
When out go the lights
I'm just a lonely pilgrim
I walk this world in wealth
I wanna if it's you I don't trust
'Cause I damn sure don't trust myself

Now you play the loving woman
I'll play the faithful man
But just don't look too close
Into the palm of my hand
We stood at the altar
The gypsy swore our future was right
But come the wee wee hours
Well maybe baby the gypsy lied
So when you look at me
You better look hard and look twice
Is that me baby
Or just a brilliant duisguise

Tonight our bed is cold
I'm lost in the darkness of our love
God have mercy on the man
Who doubts what he's sure of


Long Time Comin' (Introduction)

I'm gonna add this song to our set tonight. Alright, this is the final days of Patti's first pregnancy. And I receive a surprise visit from my father at my home in LA. Now he'd driven 500 miles unannounced to knock on my door, that's his style. So at 11 a.m. we sit Sunday dining room, and we're nursing morning beers, that's his style. That's my father's breakfast of champions. When, my dad, never a talkative man, right, blurted out, "You've been very good to us". And I nodded that, that I had, ya know, and uh, and he says, "And I wasn't very good to you". And, the room just, was, stood still. As to my shock, ya know, the acknowledgeable was being acknowledged, if I, if I didn't know better I would've sworn an apology of some sort was being made, and it was. Here in the last days before I was to become a father, my own father was visiting me to warn me of the mistakes that he had made, and to warn me not to make them with my own children. To release them from the chain of our sins, my fathers of mine and our fathers before, that they may be free, to make their own choices and to live their own lives. We are ghosts or we are ancestors in our children's lives. We either lay our mistakes, our burdens upon them, and we haunt them, or we assist them in laying those old burdens down, and we free them from the chain of our own flawed behavior. And as ancestors, we walk alongside of them, and we assist them in finding their own way, and some transcendence. My father, on that day, was petitioning me, for an ancestral role in my life after being a ghost for a long long time. He wanted me to write a new end to our relationship, and he wanted me to be ready for the new beginning that I was about to experience. It was the greatest moment in my life with my dad, and it was all that I needed


Long Time Comin'

Out where the creek turns shallow and sandy
And the moon comes skimmin' away the stars
The wind in the mesquite comes rushin' over the hilltops
Straight into my arms
Straight into my arms

I'm riding hard carryin' a catch of roses
And a fresh map that I made
Tonight I'm gonna get birth naked and bury my old soul
And dance on its grave
And dance on its grave

It's been a long time comin', my dear
It's been a long time comin' but now it's here

Well my daddy he was just a stranger
Lived in a hotel downtown
When I was a kid he was just somebody
Somebody I'd see around
Somebody I'd see around

Now down below and pullin' on my shirt
I got some kids of my own
Well if I had one wish in this god forsaken world, kids
It'd be that your mistakes would be your own
Yea your sins would be your own

It's been a long time comin', my dear
It's been a long time comin' but now it's here

Out 'neath the arms of Cassiopeia
Where the sword of Orion sweeps
It's me and you, Rosie, cracklin' like crossed wires
And you breathin' in your sleep
You breathin' in your sleep

Well there's just a spark of campfire burning
Two kids in a sleeping bag beside
I Reach 'neath your shirt, lay my hands across your belly
And feel another one kickin' inside
I ain't gonna f*ck it up this time

It's been a long time comin', my dear
It's been a long time comin' but now it's here
It's been a long time comin', my dear
It's been a long time comin' but now it's here


The Ghost of Tom Joad (Introduction)

Alright. I never believed that people came to my shows, or rock shows in general, to be told anything. But I do believe that they come to be reminded of things, to be reminded of who they are, that they're most joyous at their deepest, when life feels full. It's a good place to get in touch with your heart and your spirit. It's good to be amongst the crowd, be reminded of who we are and who we can be collectively, and music does those things pretty well. Sometimes, they can come in pretty handy. And particularly these days, some reminding of who we are and who we can be isn't such a bad thing, ya know, uh. I uh, I re- I refer back to the weekend of the March for our Lives when we saw all those young people in Washington and citizens all around the country remind us of what faith in America and what real faith in American democracy, and how sacred that is. When uh, that weekend, you just saw what it actually looked like and felt like. It was just encouraging, to see all those people out on the street and all that righteous passion alive in the service of something good, to see it still there at the center of the beating heart of our country, and, in spite of what we've been goin' through, it was a good day ya know, it was just, it was just one good day.

But it was a necessary day. Because these are the times when we've also seen folks marching, and in the highest offices of our land who want to speak to our darkest angels, who want to call up the ugliest and the most divisive ghosts of America's past, and they want to destroy the idea of an America for all. That's their intention. That's what we've been seeing in the outrage of the broken families on the border, and in hate-filled marches on American streets, this year. Things I never thought I would see again in my lifetime. Things that I thought that were dead and gone forever, on the ash heap of history. Ya know uh, ya know we've come too far and worked too hard, too many good people paid too high a price, and paid, paid with their lives to allow this to happen now. Ya know. There's been too much hard work done, and sacrifice. There's a beautiful quote by Dr. King that says "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice". It is important to believe in those words and to carry yourself, and to act accordingly, to live with compassion, and have faith in that what we're seeing now, is just another hard chapter, in the long long ongoing battle for the soul of the nation


The Ghost of Tom Joad

Men walking 'long the railroad tracks
Going someplace, there's no going back
Highway patrol choppers coming up over the ridge
Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
Shelter line stretching 'round the corner
Welcome to the new world order
Families sleeping in the cars in the southwest
No home, no job, no peace, no rest

Well the highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Searching for the ghost of Tom Joad

He pulls a prayer book out of his sleeping bag
Preacher lights up a butt and he takes a drag
Waiting for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box 'neath the underpass
You got a one-way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand
Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
Bathing in the city's aqueduct


Well the highway is alive tonight
Where it's headed everybody knows
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Waiting on the ghost of Tom Joad

Now Tom said, "Mom, wherever there's a cop beating a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me, Mom, I'll be there

Wherever somebody's fighting for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helping hand
Wherever somebody's struggling to be free
Look in their eyes, Ma, and you'll see me"

The highway is alive tonight
Where it's headed everybody knows
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
With the ghost of old Tom Joad


The Rising

Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
Make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile of line

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
I was wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li

There's spirits above and behind me
Faces gone black, eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood bind me
Lord, as I stand before your fiery light

Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li

I see you Mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There's holy pictures of our children
Dancin' in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin' on the end of my line

Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin' wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li


Dancing In the Dark (Introduction)

I always, I always thought I was a typical American, so I fought my whole life and I studied and I played and I worked, 'cause I wanted to hear and I wanted to know the whole American story. I wanted to know my story, and your story. Felt like I needed to understand as much of it as I could in order to understand myself. Ya know, who was I? And where I came from and what that meant. What did it mean to my family? Where was I going? And where were we going together as a people? And then, and, what did it mean to be an American? And to be a part of that story, in this place, and in this time. I wanted to be able to celebrate and honor its beauty, its power, and I wanted to be able to be a critical voice when I thought that that's what the times called for. But most of all, more than anything else, I wanted to be able to tell that story well to you. That was my young promise to myself, and this was my young promise to you. From when I was a very young man, I took my fun very seriously, ya know. And this is what I pursue as my service, I still believe in it as such. This is what I have presented to you all these years as my long and noisy prayer, as my magic trick. I wanted, I wanted to rock your very soul, and have you bring it home and pass it on, and I wanted it to be sung and altered by you and your folks and your children, should they be interested. I wanted it to be something you could call on when things were good, and uh, and when things were not so good - that it might strengthen, help make sense of your story and your life the way that you strengthen me and help me make sense of my life. You've provided me with purpose, with meaning, and with a great great amount of joy. I hope I've done that for you and that I've been a good travelling companion. Remember that the future is not yet written. So when things look dark, do as my mighty mom would insist. Lace up your dancing shoes, and get to work


Dancing In the Dark

I get up in the evening
And I ain't got nothing to say
I come home in the morning
I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain't nothing but tired
Man I'm just tired and bored with myself
Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

You can't start a fire
You can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire
Even if we're just dancing in the dark

Message keeps getting clearer
Radio's on and I'm moving 'round the place
I check my look in the mirror
I want to change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man I ain't getting nowhere
I'm just living in a dump like this
There's something happening somewhere
Baby I just know that there is

You can't start a fire
You can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire
Even if we're just dancing in the dark

You sit around getting older
There's a joke here somewhere and it's on me
I'll shake this world off my shoulders
Come on baby this laugh's on me

Stay on the streets of this town
And they'll be carving you up alright
They say you gotta stay hungry
Hey baby I'm just about starving tonight
I'm dying for some action
I'm sick of sitting 'round here trying to write this book
I need a love reaction
Come on now baby gimme just one look

You can't start a fire sitting 'round crying over a broken heart
This gun's for hire
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
You can't start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart
This gun's for hire
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
Hey baby


Land of Hope and Dreams

Oh oh this train, I'm riding this train
Don't you wanna ride
(This train)
Oh get on, get on (this train)

Grab your ticket and your suitcase
Thunder's rolling down the tracks
You don't know where you're goin' now
But you know you won't be back
Darlin' if you're weary
Lay your head upon my chest
We'll take what we can carry
And we'll leave the rest

Big wheels rolling through fields
Where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

I will provide for you
And I'll stand by your side
You'll need a good companion
For this part of the ride
Leave behind your sorrows
Let this day be the last
Tomorrow there'll be sunshine
And all this darkness past

Big wheels roll through fields
Where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

This train carries saints and sinners
This train carries losers and winners
This train carries whores and gamblers
This train carries lost souls
I said, this train dreams will not be thwarted
This train faith will be rewarded
This train hear the steel wheels singin'
This train bells of freedom ringin'

This train carries saints and sinners
This train carries losers and winners
This train carries whores and gamblers
This train carries lost souls
I said, this train carries broken-hearted
This train thieves and sweet souls departed
This train carries fools and kings
This train, all aboard

I said, this train dreams will not be thwarted
This train faith will be rewarded
This train hear the steel wheels singin'
This train bells of freedom ringin'

Come on this train
People get ready
You don't need no ticket
All you got do is just get on board
On board this train
This train, people get ready
You don't need no ticket (oh I know you don't)
You don't need no ticket you just get on board (people get ready)
You just thank the Lord (people get ready)

Come on this train (people get ready)


Born to Run (Introduction)

It was a beautiful fall November evening, it was going to writing in my book, and I drove back to my neighborhood where I grew up, looking for uh - I still don't have a fucking clue. But uh, all I know is the streets were dead empty and the whole place looked like it'd been locked down since 1955. My corner church was silent and unchanged, no weddings, no funerals, I, rolled slowly another 50 yards up my block to visit my great tree and it was gone. It'd been cut to the street since the last time that I had drove through. So I got out of the car and I looked down, and there was a square of musty earth that held the remaining snakes of its roots on the edge of the parking lot. So I reached down, I picked up a handful of dirt and I just kinda ran it through my hands, and my heart sank like, like a kid who suffered from irretrievable loss, ya know, like, like some, some piece of me was gone. Um, I don't know I guess I, it was just it had been there long before I was, I assumed it would be there long after I was gone, and I liked that. It, it felt eternal. It was at the, it was at center of our street and it had rooted our neighborhood for so long. So I sat there for awhile just cursin' the county and listenin' to the sounds of the evening come on and I looked again and I realized it was gone but some, some essential piece of it was still there, the air and the space above its roots. I could still feel life, and soul, and the light, my childhood friend there. It's just that its leaves, its branches, and its massive trunk were now outlined, shot through by evening stars and sky. But my great tree's life couldn't be ended or erased so easily, from this place because it's history. And history matters. Its imprint was too great, it was too old, and it was too strong, it had been there too long, to be done away with so easily. It had stood witness to everything that had happened on these small streets beneath its arms. All the joy, and all the heartbreak, and all the life. And when we live amongst ghosts, always trying to reach us, from that shadow world, and they're with us every step of the way. My dead father's still with me every day and I miss him and if I had a wish, oh man I - I wish he could've been here to see this. But I visit with him every night, little bit, that's a grace-filled thing. And Clarence, I get to, I get to see him be with Clarence a little bit every night. And Danny, Walter, and Bart, my own family, so many of them gone from these houses that are now filled by strangers but the soul, soul is a stubborn thing. Doesn't dissipate so quickly. Souls remain.

They remain here in the air, in empty space, in dusty roots, in sidewalks that I knew every single inch of like I knew my own body, as a child, and in the songs that we sing, ya know. That is why we sing. We sing for our blood and for our people, because that's all we have at the end of the day - each other and, maybe that's what I'm lookin' for when I go down there, I just wanna commune with the old spirits, stand in their presence, feel their hands on me. One more time. Um, anyway, once again I stood in the shadow of my old church ya know, you know what they say about Catholics - yeah, there's no gettin' out. Nah, no, they gotcha, they gotcha, the bastards got ya when the gettin' was good. They did their work hard and they did it well, 'cause the words of a very strange but all too familiar benediction came back to me that evening, and I wanna tell you these were words that as a kid, I mumbled these things, I sing-songed them, I chanted them, bored out of my fucking mind, in an endless drone before class every fucking day, every day the green blazer, the green tie, the green trousers, the green socks of all of Saint Rose's unwilling disciples, ya know. But for some damn reason, as I sat there on my street that night, ya know, mourning, mourning my old tree, and once again surrounded by God, those were the words that came back to me and they flowed differently. Was "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, just give us this day and forgive us our sins, our trespasses, as we may forgive those who trespass against us, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, all of us, forever and ever, Amen". And may God bless you, your family, and all those that you love. And thanks for comin' out tonight.


Born To Run

In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on HighWay 9
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected
And steppin' out over the line
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
'Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wraps your legs 'round these velvet rims
And strap your hands across my engines
Together we could break this trap
We'll run till we drop, baby we'll never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
'Cause baby I'm just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta know how it feels
I want to know if your love is wild
Girl I want to know if love is real

Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach on a mist
I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss

The highway's jammed with broken heroes
On a last chance power drive
Everybody's out on the run tonight
But there's no place left to hide
Together Wendy we can live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don't know when
We're gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go
And we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
Baby we were born to run

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