Born in Long Branch, New Jersey, American singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen is a hometown hero. He’s famous for his poetic and working class focused lyrics and earned this nickname because he gave profits from shows he splayed to his E Street Band members. Best of all, he currently lives in Colts Neck, proving that he’s never forgotten his roots.
Springsteen demonstrates pride in his home state through his lyrics. He mentions Jersey by name in 9 of his songs. In other pieces, he name-drops iconic places in NJ or reminisces about his childhood by the shore. We hope you enjoy this list of Bruce Springsteen songs that reference New Jersey.
This unusual song is written from the perspective of Giants Stadium, which was demolished from February 4 to August 10 in 2010. Springsteen wanted to commemorate the stadium, “the mud and the beer, and the blood and the tears.” With lyrics like, “if you got the guts mister…if you think it’s your time, then step to the line, and bring on your wrecking ball,” Springsteen portrays the stadium as stubbornly clinging to its last few months of use and refusing to go down without a fight…well, as much as an immobile stadium can fight. This song proves that Giant Stadium, like the people of New Jersey, are tough and can withstand harsh blows like Hurricane Sandy or a wrecking ball.
Although originally written by Tom Waits in 1980, Springsteen covered this song, no doubt to show some love for the people of his home state! The song takes the listener through date nights on the Jersey shore from heading to the carnival to dancing on a Saturday night. You can picture all of the fun The Boss and his date are having with this song, but of course, no matter how fantastic the song is, it doesn’t compare to a real-life Jersey shore vacation.
This tribute to where Springsteen grew up brings the listener on a journey through innocent childhood, youthful rebellion, and nostalgic reflection. He starts the song at the very beginning of his life, mentioning that he “was born right here on Randolph Street…behind that big red maple in Freehold.” He explains how he ran “up the street, past the condo to the church” and “first fell in love with this guitar here in Freehold.” Other firsts included his “first kiss at the YMCA canteen on a Friday night” and “that first 5 bucks in my pocket” that he earned in his “little rock and roll band in Freehold.”
After leaving to pursue his dream and tour the world, he returns one summer when “everything was green” and “rode my kids on the fire engine through the streets.” He “still got a lot of good friends right here in town” and “can usually find me a free beer somewhere with offers of free meals.” Despite some other tongue-in-cheek comments, this song is a wonderful homage to “one hell of a town” in New Jersey, where Springsteen “first felt the sun on his face.”
Spirit In The Night
In this song, Springsteen tells stories about the wild days of his youth, hanging out with friends (who go by unusual nicknames) and trying to find a girlfriend. He mentions driving up Route 88 in Ocean County and, of course, having a great time on the Jersey shore!
New Jerseyans are born Bruce Springsteen fans: it’s in their blood. But there’s plenty of room in his fan club for anyone who visits the Jersey shore! You can start your playlist for The Boss with these Bruce Springsteen songs that mention New Jersey.