The Feeling of Romance

In 1972, Bruce Springsteen was still a rookie when Clive Davis signed him to Columbia Records, taking a chance that he could become a household name.  ‘Blinded by the Light’ was written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen, for his 1973 debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., after Clive told him that he needed a single for the album.  This song was commercially unsuccessful, and it did not make the music charts.  Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was able to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977 with their cover of this song.  ‘Blinded By The Light’ is almost a parody of Dylan’s approach of songwriting which consisted of throwing out seemingly random, disconnected bits of imagery to create a larger overall effect.

Bruce Springsteen took a little walk down memory lane, as he wrote this song by going through a rhyming dictionary in search of appropriate words.  The first line of the song, “Madman drummers, bummers, and Indians in the summers with a teenage diplomat” is autobiographical, with “Madman drummers” being a reference to drummer Vini Lopez, known as “Mad Man” (later changed to “Mad Dog”), who backed Bruce in several bands, including the early Bruce band Steel Mill which was active from 1969–1971 and he became the first drummer in the E Street Band and played on this album.  Bruce said that Little League had a big positive impact on his life and “Indians in the summer” refers to the name of Springsteen’s old Little League team.  The “teenage diplomat” is supposedly him.  “As the adolescent pumps his way into his hat” comes from what his aunt Dora Kirby claimed that Bruce never took his baseball hat off while playing Little League ball from 1959 to 1961 in Freehold, New Jersey.  A “merry-go-round” is baseball slang for when a pitcher keeps walking batters.  The remainder of the song tells of many unrelated events without a lot of meaning, incorporating the refrain of “Blinded by the light, cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night.”

“In the dumps with the mumps” literally means being sick with the mumps.  “Boulder on my shoulder” is having a chip on his shoulder.  “Some all hot, half-shot, heading for a hot spot, snapping fingers clapping his hands” is about him being a know-it-all kid growing up, who didn’t really know anything.  It is odd that it kind of sounds a bit like “snappin’ her fingers and shufflin’ her feet” from another hit that Manfred Mann had with the song ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’.  “Silicone Sister” which is arguably the first mention of breast implants in popular music comes from a dancer that Bruce saw at one of the local strip joints in Asbury Park.  “Revved up like a deuce” refers to the 1932 Ford Coupe, the hot-rod of its day!  The lines, “And little Early-Pearly came by in her curly-wurly – And asked me if I needed a ride”, probably refer to a girl picking him up on the road someplace.  Many have tried to decode the lyrics in this song, and it mentions a lot of different things like Mozart, Harvard, Scotland Yard, and Zanzibar, but I never thought it was that much fun looking into the Sun, as you can literally become blinded by the light, if you stare at it for too long.

Madman drummers bummers and Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat
In the dumps with the mumps as the adolescent pumps his way into his hat
With a boulder on my shoulder feelin’ kinda older I tripped the merry-go-round
With this very unpleasing sneezing and wheezing the calliope crashed to the ground
Some all-hot half-shot was headin’ for the hot spot snappin’ his fingers clappin’ his hands
And some fleshpot mascot was tied into a lover’s knot with a whatnot in her hand
And now young Scott with a slingshot finally found a tender spot and throws his lover in the sand
And some bloodshot forget-me-not whispers daddy’s within earshot save the buckshot turn up the band

And she was blinded by the light
Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
She got down but she never got tight, but she’ll make it alright

Some brimstone baritone anti-cyclone rolling stone preacher from the east
He says: “Dethrone the dictaphone, hit it in its funny bone, that’s where they expect it least”
And some new-mown chaperone was standin’ in the corner all alone watchin’ the young girls dance
And some fresh-sown moonstone was messin’ with his frozen zone to remind him of the feeling of romance

Yeah he was blinded by the light
Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
He got down but she never got tight, but he’s gonna make it tonight

Some silicone sister with her manager’s mister told me I got what it takes
She said I’ll turn you on sonny, to something strong if you play that song with the funky break,
And go-cart Mozart was checkin’ out the weather chart to see if it was safe to go outside
And little Early-Pearly came in by her curly-wurly and asked me if I needed a ride,
Oh, some hazard from Harvard was skunked on beer playin’ backyard bombardier
Yes and Scotland Yard was trying hard, they sent a dude with a calling card,
he said, do what you like, but don’t do it here
Well I jumped up, turned around, spit in the air, fell on the ground
Asked him which was the way back home
He said take a right at the light, keep goin’ straight until night, and then boy, you’re on your own

And now in Zanzibar a shootin’ star was ridin’ in a side car hummin’ a lunar tune
Yes, and the avatar said blow the bar but first remove the cookie jar we’re gonna teach those boys to laugh too soon

And some kidnapped handicap was complainin’ that he caught the clap from some mousetrap he bought last night,

Well I unsnapped his skull cap and between his ears I saw
a gap but figured he’d be all right

He was just blinded by the light
Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun
Oh but mama that’s where the fun is

Written for Thursday Inspiration #146 Philadelphia Freedom where the prompt is light.

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