Springsteen Sunday ( Vol.11, Jungleland)

Welcome back to Sunday’s Service.

Song: Jungleland
Album: Born To Run

If there was ever any question of Springsteen’s poetic nature or talents, the lyrics of this song should put that to rest. I’ll let his words to this song speak to and end that discussion.

Jungleland is an amazing creation, from Roy Bittan’s opening piano to The Big Man’s ending sax which was pieced together by Bruce and Clarence referred to as a love. But the lyrics….

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The Rangers had a homecoming
In Harlem late last night
And the Magic Rat drove his sleek machine
Over the Jersey state line
Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge
Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain
The Rat pulls into town rolls up his pants
Together they take a stab at romance
And disappear down Flamingo Lane

Well the Maximum Lawmen run down Flamingo
Chasing the Rat and the barefoot girl
And the kids round here look just like shadows
Always quiet, holding hands
From the churches to the jails
Tonight all is silence in the world
As we take our stand
Down in Jungleland

The midnight gang’s assembled
And picked a rendezvous for the night
They’ll meet ‘neath that giant Exxon sign
That brings this fair city light
Man there’s an opera out on the Turnpike
There’s a ballet being fought out in the alley
Until the local cops
Cherry Tops

Rips this holy night
The street’s alive
As secret debts are paid
Contacts made, they vanish unseen
Kids flash guitars just like switch-blades
Hustling for the record machine
The hungry and the hunted
Explode into rock’n’roll bands
That face off against each other out in the street
Down in Jungleland

In the parking lot the visionaries
Dress in the latest rage
Inside the backstreet girls are dancing
To the records that the DJ plays
Lonely-hearted lovers
Struggle in dark corners
Desperate as the night moves on
Just one look
And a whisper, and they’re gone

Beneath the city two hearts beat
Soul engines running through a night so tender
In a bedroom locked
In whispers of soft refusal
And then surrender
In the tunnels uptown
The Rat’s own dream guns him down
As shots echo down them hallways in the night
No one watches when the ambulance pulls away
Or as the girl shuts out the bedroom light
Outside the street’s on fire
In a real death waltz
Between what’s flesh and what’s fantasy
And the poets down here
Don’t write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of the night
They reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand
But they wind up wounded
Not even dead
Tonight in Jungleland

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 Jungleland is one of those epic songs, close to ten minutes long. Enjoy one of the Springsteen’s best……

6 thoughts on “Springsteen Sunday ( Vol.11, Jungleland)

  1. fillyourownglass

    Ah, I knew you’d hit on my favorite soon! When I was in high school in New Jersey I wrote these lyrics from memory on the front & back of every notebook I had. I am not the biggest Springsteen fan, but this song is in my all-time Top 5 ever. “…And the poets down here don’t write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be…” The whole song is one fluid poem….just unreal.

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    Reply
    1. George Post author

      I agree. I can read these lyrics over and over again and I’m always amazed how a young rock and roll artist can come up with words and phrasing that you don’t typically find in the world of music. The lyrics are crazy good in a way that makes you shake your head and wonder what may have been going through his mind when he wrote them. On top of that, the piano intro, which is cut short here, is haunting and the sax at the end is just so pure. This is a fun concert song. Glad you feel the same way about the lyrics.

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      Reply

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