Song of the Week- 'It's a Long way Home' - Bruce Springsteen

First Release
Long Walk Home
Last night I stood at your doorstep
Trying to figure out what went wrong
You just slipped somethin' into my palm
Then you were gone
I could smell the same deep green of summer
Above me the same night sky was glowin'
In the distance I could see the town where I was born

It's gonna be a long walk home
Hey pretty Darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna be a long walk home
A long walk home

In town I passed Sal's grocery
The barbershop on South Street
I looked into their faces
They were all rank strangers to me
The veterans' hall high up on the hill
Stood silent and alone
The diner was shuttered and boarded
With a sign that just said "gone"

It's gonna be a long walk home
Hey pretty Darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna be a long walk home
Hey pretty Darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna be a long walk home
It's gonna be a long walk home

Here everybody has a neighbor
Everybody has a friend
Everybody has a reason to begin again

My father said "Son, we're lucky in this town
It's a beautiful place to be born
It just wraps its arms around you
Nobody crowds you, nobody goes it alone.
That you know flag flying over the courthouse
Means certain things are set in stone
Who we are, what we'll do and what we won't."

Its gonna be a long walk home
Hey pretty Darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna be a long walk home
Hey pretty Darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna be a long walk home
It's gonna be a long walk home

Its gonna be a long walk home
Hey pretty Darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna be a long walk home
Hey pretty Darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna be a long walk home
It's gonna be a long walk home

It's gonna be a long walk home

Copyright © 2007 Bruce Springsteen (ASCA

From the Album titled 'Magic', released by the man they call 'The Boss' in 2007, with the able support of the over loaded with talent, E Street Band, this is one song of twelve stand out tunes that grabs my attention and holds it. 'It's a Long Walk Home' starts with a powerful verse about a love that is no more and that is followed by a journey back through a young man's life.  When love goes bad I guess men look for something to hang onto. The town where they grew up, traditional values, ideals that meant something. The chorus will infect you and stay with you all day.  And even if your voice is as average as mine is, in the car with full volume on the stereo, I guarantee that you will sound awesome.

But what is the song all about? I haven't researched it because I think it is more fun sometimes to try and work things out for myself. What did she slip into his palm? Was it a note, a photo, a ring? Or was the smell of that same sweet summer coming through in that last moment before death, as this guy bled out his life on some wasteland battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan? Was that the long walk home? Those fleeting memories flashing before his mind after an explosion or a bullet, with all those things that were so important now reduced to a moment before they bring the body back. 'Hey pretty darlin' don't wait up for me, it's gonna be a long walk home'. I've got no idea, but the song has charm and grunt.

The first time I listened to this album I wasn't too sure about it. I played it a second time, then again. For a couple of years after that initial listen, the Magic album was always one of the first to go into the car CD player and one I always looked for on my ipod. There isn't a track on the album that I would ever skip over. I start at the beginning and take it to the end. Radio Nowhere, Girls in Their Summer Clothes, Your Own Worst Enemy (sounds like 9/11), I'll Work For You and the title track Magic. I dig them all.

Springsteen first grabbed hold of my wayward heart and soul in back in 1976 when I heard the 'Manfred Mann's Earth Band' cover of his original song Blinded by the Light. This song was released on his first album ' Greetings from Ashbury Park, N.J.'. I was blinded by the lyrics and had no idea what this song was about, due to the fact that Google hadn't been invented then. After that initial intro, Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Nebraska, Born in the USA and We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, along with Magic and Working on a Dream found their way into my collection of songs that I frequently inhabit when I need to make sense of this world.

So sample it on Amazon or itunes. It might be one that you missed in the torrent called life while you were busy looking for other things.

p.s. For those who might be interested in knowing what 'Blinded by the Life' meant for Bruce I've cut and pasted some of an interview (and other random thoughts) with him about it.

Springsteen talked about this song in detail on an episode of VH1 Storytellers. A lot of the references are personal, to include people he knew or had met on the Boardwalks, or had grown up around, or were just direct personal references to himself:
Madman drummers bummers - Vinnie "Mad dog" Lopez, the first drummer in the E Street Band.
Indians in the summer - Bruce's little league baseball team as a kid.
In the dumps with the mumps - being sick with the mumps.
Boulder on my shoulder - a "chip" on his shoulder.
Some all hot, half-shot, heading for a hot spot, snapping fingers clapping his hands - Being a "know it all kid growing up, who doesn't really know anything."
"Silicone Sister" - Bruce mentions that this is arguably the first mention of breast implants in popular music - a dancer at one of the local strip joints in Asbury Park.

He wrote this song in his bedroom, primarily using a rhyming dictionary. Or as Bruce put it, "the rhyming dictionary was on fire." (thanks, John - Columbus, OH)
This was Springsteen's first single. It was released only in the US, where it flopped. It was, however, a #1 hit for Manfred Mann's Earth Band in 1976. Their version was much more elaborately produced, and Springsteen hated it at first.
Manfred Mann's version replaces the line "Cut loose like a deuce" with "Revved up like a deuce." In their version, "Deuce" was commonly misheard as "Douche." Springsteen's original line makes a lot more sense - a deuce is a 1932 Ford hotrod. On his Storytellers special, Springsteen said (in a jesting manner) that the only reason Manfred Mann's version went #1 was because they said "Douche" instead of "Deuce." (thanks, Anthony - New York, NY)
Springsteen wrote this after Columbia Records rejected his first attempt at an album, telling him to make some songs that could be played on the radio. He came up with this and "Spirit In The Night."
After 8 years playing in bars where audiences usually didn't listen to or couldn't hear the words, Springsteen used his first album to unload a ton of lyrics. All these lyrics helped earn Springsteen the tag "The New Dylan." Singer-songwriters like James Taylor and Kris Kristofferson also shared the comparison, and Bruce went out of his way to shed the tag by making his next album a true rock record.
This was the first song on Springsteen's first album. Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. featured a postcard on the cover that fans would look for any time they were near the town.
Along with "Spirit In The Night," this was one of 2 songs on the album featuring Clarence Clemons on saxophone. The E Street Band became a much bigger part of Springsteen's songs on his next album.
Springsteen wrote the lyrics first and filled in the music later. The only time he wrote this way was on his first album.
The working title was "Madman's Bummers," taken from words in the first line.
This was one of the songs that prompted Columbia Records to market the album by claiming "This man puts more thoughts, more ideas and images into one song than most people put into an album."
Manfred Mann's cover is so far the only Bruce Springsteen song to top the American charts. Near misses for Bruce have been "Dancing In The Dark (#2 in 1984) and The Pointer Sisters version of "Fire" (#2 in 1979). (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
Manfred Mann's version features a snippet of "Chopsticks," a very well-known piece performed by any piano player or student. (thanks, Patrick - Tallapoosa, GA)


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