The Promised Land (Introduction) Lyrics by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen Lyrics

The Promised Land (Introduction) Lyrics
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

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