Springsteen Sunday (Vol.4, Backstreets)

Welcome back once again to the pulpit of Springsteen.

Song: Backstreets
Album: Born To Run

I’ve often believed that Springsteen is one of the great poets of our time. Webster’s Dictionary defines a poet as someone of, “great imaginative expressive capabilities and special sensitivity to the medium”.  Additionally, they define poetry itself as, “writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound and rhythm”.
If both definitions are accurate, then Springsteen and Backstreets can be include in any poetic library.


Like Thunder Road, this is another song whose every lyric is a reminder of the kind of poetry that is uniquely Springsteen. Every line, every word is constructed in an amazing message of youth, love and loss.
The Professor, Roy Bittan’s, masterful opening piano draws you in and refuses to let you go. The opening verse……

One soft infested summer
Me and Terry became friends
Trying in vain to breathe
The fire we born in
Catching rides to the outskirts
Tying faith between our teeth
Sleeping in that old abandoned beach house
Getting wasted in the heat
And hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
With a love so hard and filled with defeat
Running for our lives at night on them backstreets

Backstreets has taken on special meaning for Bruce on many occasions. He opened his first show following organist Danny Federici’s death in 2008 with this song.  People have also interpreted this song in many ways, from former girlfriends to special friendships in his life.

Slow dancing in the dark
On the beach at Stockton’s Wing
Where desperate lovers park
We sat with the last of the Duke Street Kings
Huddled in our cars
Waiting for the bells that ring
In the deep heart of the night
We let lose of everything
To go running on the backstreets
Running on the backstreets
Terry you swore we’d live forever
Taking it on them backstreets together


T.S. Eliot once said, “if we understand something the first time, it can’t be much good.” Springsteen’s lyrics are often that way. They force you to listen or read them again and allow you various forms of interpretation.

Endless juke joints and Valentino drag
Where famous dancers scraped the tears
Up off the street dressed down in rags
Running into the darkness
Some hurt bad some really dying
At night sometimes it seemed
You could hear the whole damn city crying
Blame it on the lies that killed us
Blame it on the truth that ran us down
You can blame it all on me Terry
It don’t matter to me now
When the breakdown hit at midnight
There was nothing left to say
But I hated him
And I hated you when you went away


HIs final verse is probably his most heartbreaking and one of the best he’s written.

Laying here in the dark
You’re like an angel on my chest
Just another tramp of hearts
Crying tears of faithlessness
Remember all the movies, Terry
We’d go see
Trying to learn to walk like the heroes
We thought we had to be
Well after all this time
To find we’re just like all the rest
Stranded in the park
And forced to confess
To hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Where we swore forever friends
On the backstreets until the end
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets…

So enjoy what many critics and fans like myself believe is part of any top ten Springsteen song list.

See you on the Backstreets


4 thoughts on “Springsteen Sunday (Vol.4, Backstreets)

  1. Dale

    How perfect that you include a picture with another favourite poet of mine, Maya Angelou!

    Somehow, I didn’t even know this song. Thanks so much for sharing this one! (And nice include of the video!! 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. George Post author

      LOL….I learned my lesson about being “cheap”, thank you.
      And I love Maya Angelou. I could listen to her speak all day. She had such a distinctive, regal voice. Love her work and her messages.
      Hope you’re having a nice weekend.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s