Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Springsteen: Put Your Makeup On, Put Your Hair Up Pretty, And Meet Me Tonight In Atlantic City

Bruce Springsteen reads the papers like you and me, and he can't track or control events any better than we can. He just has a lot more talent, and a little more time.

I first heard 'Atlantic City' over 20 years ago, wasn't in country when it came out in 1982. It, along with the entire anti-industry, garage-recorded, pondering-of-America album 'Nebraska,' knocked my socks off. Much of the inspiration for the songs came from headlines and real stories that a great balladeer worked into poetry. The line, "Well they blew up the Chicken Man in Philly last night, now they blew up his house, too," referred to the murder of Philadelphia Mafia boss Philip Testa by Little Nicky Scarfo of Atlantic City. Springsteen saw the headline one morning, and knowing something of the Mafia via their control over his concert venues, he knew retribution would be coming--"Down on the Boardwalk they're gettin' ready for a fight, gonna see what them Racket boys can do." The full lyrics:

Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night now they
blew up his house too
Down on the boardwalk they're gettin' ready for a fight
gonna see what them racket boys can do

Now there's trouble busin' in from outta state
and the D.A. can't get no relief
Gonna be a rumble out on the promenade
and the
gamblin' commission's hangin' on by the skin of its teeth

Well now everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Well I got a job and tried to put my money away
But I got debts that no honest man can pay
So I drew what I had from the Central Trust
And I bought us two tickets on that Coast City bus

Now our luck may have died and our love may be cold
but with you forever I'll stay
We're goin' out where the sand's turnin' to gold
so put on your stockin's baby 'cause the night's getting cold
And everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back

Now I been lookin' for a job but it's hard to find
Down here it's just winners and losers and
don't get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well I'm tired of comin' out on the losin' end
So honey last night I met this guy
and I'm gonna do a little favor for him

Well I guess everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your hair up nice and set up pretty
and meet me tonight in Atlantic City


Bruce said...

one of Bruce's best, no doubt.

I remember when this came out, it was the early days of MTV. We couldn't believe Bruce was doing a video, figuring he hated them as much as we did. But, we had to give it to him that it was a good vid.

What can you say about that album? It's an artist reaching deep to produce a work that will stand for ages.

I can't believe we share the same name.

Anonymous said...
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MarcLord said...

Never did see the vid until Youtube. Pains me to say I no longer have the album, it was on cassette. Know it by heart anyway.

You should be proud of that name!