My obsession with the genius that is Bruce Springsteen is well established. We fans have our own hashtag on twitter #BruceBuds. But Bruce Springsteen has a special talent for being the voice of the underdog, the working class, and the crazy teen in all of us; so he is the focus of my post today. In this post I present you with ten Springsteen quotes that seem dead appropriate after Tuesday’s budget. Again, I’m not going to talk about actual policies (bored now…), simply present you with some of Springsteen’s best quotes and videos from the songs they come from so you can check them out yourself. I’ve tried to include live ones where I can because you can really see Bruce’s passion and sweat here; plus he tends to give soft acoustic songs anthem-like qualities live, it’s amazing. You may find they help your ailing brain and make you overly motivated (listen to number five and you’ll want to hold a protest), but that’s good. Don’t be defeated, your opinion and your thoughts matter. So enjoy: the music, the man, the ideology…it’s all good.
Seeds (Live 75-85)
“How many times can you get up after you’ve been hit? Well I swear if I could spare the spit I’d lay one on your shiny chrome and send you on your way back home”.
Seeds is one of those “anthems of the working class” Bruce songs. When Bruce sings it live, he’s angry and fiery…the man means business. Seeds reveals the fears and emotions of being homeless, jobless and without prospects. It’s particular context is about a man leaving his hometown and heading south with “just spit and a song” with his family to tap into the opportunities of oil, but when he gets there “it’s all gone” and he and his family are poor and homeless.
Harry’s Place (High Hopes)
“When Harry speaks it’s Harry’s streets, in Harry’s house it’s Harry’s rules. You don’t want to be around brother when Harry schools…your blood and money spit shines Harry’s crown.”
Now technically this song is about gangsters, but this is the fun of Bruce songs. Sometimes the lyrics just fit out of context! Replace “Harry” with “Hockey” or “Tony”…it’s fun I promise. Do it.
Credit : BRUCETHEBOSS2014
Factory (Darkness on the Edge of Town)
“Through the mansions of fear, through the mansions of pain I see my daddy walking through them factory gates in the rain. Factory takes his hearing, factory gives him life…just the working life”
It was really difficult to select just one verse from this short song. It’s all powerful. Factory is the ultimate story of the working class. This verse in particular I feel demonstrates that give and take horror of employment. Factory and labour work is hard on the body, it can take your hearing and give you life at the same time. It takes things from you physically, but you rely on that income to survive. The final verse of this song highlights the emotional consequences for the workers’ families. Short, but excellent. Tony take note.
Your Own Worst Enemy (Magic)
“Once the family felt secure, now no one’s very sure. Your own worst enemy has come to town…everything is falling down”
I’m sure this is how many people affected by the budget feel. No one’s very sure about how their situation is going to turn out in a month, in six months. It’s an uncertain time. Bruce feel you guys, feel them Bruce feels.
Death to My Hometown (Wrecking Ball)
“So listen up my sonny boy, be ready when they come. For they’ll be returning sure as the rising sun. Now get yourself a song to sing and sing it ’til you’re done. Sing it hard and sing it well, send the robber barons straight to hell; the greedy thieves who came around and ate the flesh of everything they found, whose crimes have gone unpunished now, who walk the streets as free men now. They brought death to our hometown, boys.”
Okay, I HAD to go for the whole verse here. This is an anthem. I’ve provided a live version below, but I suggest you also check out the studio version from Wrecking Ball. Both versions capture “political Bruce” so well. To me, this is what the uni students going to the protests around the country next week should chant (it’ll show you know songs other than One Direction guys). It’s strong, and angry, and says: “we’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”. It’s awesome. Ily Bruce xo.
Credit: BruceSpringsteenVEVO [Official]
Growin Up (Greetings From Asbury Park)
“I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd but when they sad ‘sit down’, I stood up”
This to me is us, Gen Y kids. Don’t let anyone tell you that your voice doesn’t matter. When they say sit down, stand up. You want to not be treated like children? Go into battle armed with logic and fact….and peer reviewed journal articles!
Credit: Paul C.
This Hard Land (Tracks)
“In the morning we’ll make a plan. Well if you can’t make it stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive if you can, and meet me in the dream of this hard land”
Such an amazing song, both live and on Tracks, and this verse in particular captures it for me. The themes of this song resonate very much with the working class, with farmers, and with those doing it tough. The power of Springsteen is that even if he’s singing specifically about something, the words can resonate with many other situations. For me, I hear Bruce singing to me in many situations when I play this song. But every time I’m feeling down or desperate, or like some crazy things are happening he says to me: stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive…and I feel like I can. Lefties: stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive!
Shackled and Drawn (Wrecking Ball)
“Gambling man rolls the dice, working man pays the bill; it’s still fat and easy up on banker’s hill. Up on banker’s hill the party’s going strong. Down here below we’re shackled and drawn”
Shackled and Drawn is one my favourite examples of “Political Bruce”. This verse exemplifies the feelings in many in the world, not just Australia, tonight. The poor, the hardworking, and the students: we watch as people with a lot more cash than us roll the dice on our future and we pay the bill for their losses. Students are paying the bill In Australia for the deregulation of university fees. But, irregardless, sing this one loud and proud. And do the Bruce dance…oh the Bruce shuffle, so fun.
Credit: Lars Helden
Badlands (Darkness on the Edge of Town)
“Baby I got my facts, learned real good right now. You better get it straight darling: Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king; and a king ain’t satisfied till he rules everything”
You grow up, you learn your facts; real good. Right now many Aussies have got their facts learned the hard way, and unfortunately that could be the new world order. But screaming other lines from Badlands is also helpful: I wanna spit in the face of these Badlands….It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive. Honestly, choosing one quote was darn hard. Concert halls full of people chanting also tends to make this song an epic anthem.
The Ghost of Tom Joad (The Ghost of Tom Joad)
“Wherever somebody’s fighting for a place to stand, or a decent job, or a helping hand. Wherever somebody’s struggling to be free, looking in their eyes Ma, you’ll see me”
The original acoustic was haunting and beautiful with words that had a quiet power, like so many Springsteen songs, that give you validation and hope. Even better is the recently recorded (High Hopes) version that is based on Bruce’s amazing live duet with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. The song becomes an anthem, especially with social justice warrior Morello at the guitar. Sing it loud, sing it proud.
Oh Bruce, you know how to make my heart soar. I love political Bruce, working class Bruce, and dark Bruce; he speaks to so many, still brings the power after over forty years, and gives so much love to the fans.
“We’re here tonight because you’re here!”
“You can’t get to those things by yourself, you got to have help! That’s why I wanna go there tonight and I want you to go with me.Because I need to go with you!”
Journey. You go on a journey with Bruce. Lefty friends, Bruce Buds…go on a journey with these songs.