Monday, November 12, 2012

Music Mondays: Lyrics and Bruce Springsteen

I know, I know, you are all waiting with bated breath for the next installation of Dawn Hobbie Sticklen’s 100 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Well, I’m sorry but you’ll have to wait until next week.  I am writing this from my office and I forgot to bring the list from home.  Since there is NO WAY I can properly recreate the list from memory (hey, it’s been about five years since I wrote it), I decided that I would just wait until I have it in front of me.  Accuracy matters in these things, you know.

But since I love music so much, I have no shortage of topics which I can call upon in order to get the conversation started around here and help spread the love of my personal favorite art form.  So, here we go….

Today on my way to work I was listening to Springsteen’s “Thunder Road”.  The beauty of this song – and so many of his others – is his ability to weave a story with his lyrics.  My personal all-time favorite line is,

“You ain’t a beauty, but, hey, you’re alright.”
And a little further along in the song he says,

“…and my car’s out back if you’re ready to take that long walk from the front porch to my front seat. The door’s open but the ride it ain’t free.”

Can’t you feel the desperation between these two lovers who decided to settle for each other instead of being alone?  And can’t you see them standing in the doorway, on the verge of making that pivotal life-changing decision to just throw all caution to the wind and give in to their desires?

My other two favorite Springsteen songs are “Born to Run” (how original, I know) and “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”.  Again, both of these songs induce visions of love’s desperation:

“Baby this town rips the bones from your back. It’s a deathtrap, 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 wrap your legs ‘round these velvet rims and strap your hands cross my engines.”  Wow.

“I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight in an everlasting kiss.”

Who doesn’t want someone to love them so desperately?  I get chills every time I hear this song – and the music that accompanies it just makes me want to crank it up, roll down the windows, and feel the wind blow through my hair as I sing along at the top of my lungs. 

Lastly, another of my favorite songs by The Boss is “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” where he sings about falling in love with a girl whose family will never accept him as her lover.

“Now I know your mama, she don’t like me ‘cause I play in a rock-n-roll band.  And I know your daddy he don’t dig me but he never did understand.  Papa lowered the boom, he locked you in your room. I’m comin’ to lend a hand. I’m comin’ to liberate you, confiscate you, I want to be your man. Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny. But now you’re sad, your mama’s mad and your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money. Well tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance ‘cause the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance.”

“My tires were slashed and I almost crashed but the Lord had mercy.  My machine’s she’s a dud and I’m stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey.”

OK, are you cheering for him now? Can’t you just picture Rosie jumping out her two-story bedroom window into his arms and then they drive off into the night?  

These songs tell stories accompanied by a musical beat that makes you tap your feet, drum the dashboard, and sing along with all you’ve got.  Their message of love’s angst is timeless and they swell with emotions that seep into your soul no matter how hard you try to fight it. I love them every bit as much today as I did when I first heard them when I was fourteen and full of curiosity about the mystery of boys and love.  And that is why radio stations and cover bands and The Boss Himself still play them for audiences around the world.  Which, really, is what music is all about, isn’t it?

Now it’s your turn.  What songs evoke strong emotions when you hear them?  What are some of your favorite lines from your favorite songs, and why?  Do you have a favorite singer or band?  Who is it?  Tell us in the comments section below!  I also want to thank my friend, Jason Miller, for unwittingly providing the inspiration for this post.


  1. Sticking in the Sprinsgsteen canon:

    "My Hometown" makes me cry--wish I'd had that with my dad.

    "Independence Day" gives me chills--captures the young man establishing his own way.

    "Nebraska" explains the nature of evil in a visceral way that I've found almost nowhere else. "Sometimes there's just evil in this world."

    And of course all the songs you quoted from . . .

    1. El, I love "My Hometown", too. My dad DID drive us around like that, and that song always reminds me of him letting us "steer" as we drove around the neighborhood, waving to all the neighbors like we were Big Shots! Another great Springsteen love song is "I'm on Fire". "Sometimes it's like someone took a knife baby edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my skull." Awesome.
      Thanks for stopping by - hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did!

  2. And the man still looks good. I really enjoyed this. I feel like I need to play some Bruce over a glass of wine now.

    Fast Car, Tracy Chapman. Give it a listen.

    1. Tina, I LOVE Fast Car! Wonder if I could play that on my guitar? Must go check it out. In the meantime, enjoy that glass of wine and some classic Springsteen!

  3. I had the chance to see Bruce a few weeks ago or watch my son compete in a fencing tournament. I chose my son. It was hard, but I chose my son. I've seen him live before, and he was amazing. But the tickets were $125, so it wasn't that hard, but still it was hard. I love Bruce, and listening to him invokes some powerful memories with a man I once loved.

    1. Oh, Renee, I know you made the right decision. Right? Right? OK, JK. Tech beats the Boss anyday! And this is exactly what I mean about the power of music and its ability to evoke strong memories and emotions. Looking forward to examining another favorite musician soon....