Caught in a Crossfire

Although Bruce Springsteen has had numerous songs chart in the Top 10, he has surprisingly never had a #1 hit although he came close when his 1984 Born in the U.S.A. hit ‘Dancing in the Dark’ which peaked at # 2, but today I am writing about ‘Badlands’ which only got to #42.  Despite a career that’s lasted decades, the only #1 Billboard hit that Bruce Springsteen has ever written was ‘Blinded by the Light’, which was performed by Manfred Mann.  Bruce did record some songs that became #1 hits in other countries.  This is actually not all that surprising, as the vast majority of his fans don’t buy singles, they buy albums, and he is one of the most-successful rock stars of the last 50 years.  At the end of 2021, Bruce Springsteen sold his music rights to Sony Music Entertainment in what may well be the biggest transaction ever struck for a single artist’s body of work, reportedly for $500m.  This deal included the master recordings and publishing rights for his life’s work.

‘Badlands’ was recorded on Bruce Springsteen’s fourth studio album Darkness on the Edge of Town, released in 1978.  Bruce Springsteen recorded this with his band, The E Street Band and he sang lead vocals, played lead guitar, harmonica, and was the producer.  Roy Bittan played piano, and sang backing vocals, Clarence Clemons was on saxophone, backing vocals, Danny Federici on Hammond organ, glockenspiel, Garry Tallent bass guitar, Steven Van Zandt rhythm guitar, backing vocals, production assistance and Max Weinberg was the drummer on this album.  In 2020, Rolling Stone magazine ranked this album at #91 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.  This song tells the story of a man who is down on his luck and angry at the world, and he wants a better lot in life.  Bruce was influenced by the Animals song ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ which was first recorded by Nina Simone in 1964, when he wrote this.  Springsteen was working on this song when the infamous, twenty-five-hour-long New York City blackout began and that may be why the opening lyrics are, “Lights out tonight”.  Badlands is a US national park in South Dakota famous for striking scenery and expansive prairie land, but the title of this song came from a 1973 movie called Badlands starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek.  Springsteen hadn’t seen the film when he wrote the song, but he knew about it because he saw the poster in a movie theater lobby.  Bruce is staying in these Badlands with his girl, and he is determined to make a life for them there.

Lights out tonight
Trouble in the heartland
Got a head-on collision
Smashin’ in my guts man
I’m caught in a crossfire
That I don’t understand
But there’s one thing I know for sure
Girl, I don’t give a damn
For the same old played out scenes
I don’t give a damn
For just the in-betweens
Honey I want the heart, I want the soul
I want control right now
Yeah, are you listening to me baby?

Talk about a dream
Try to make it real
You wake up in the night
With a fear so real
You spend your life waiting
For a moment that just don’t come
Well don’t waste your time waiting

Badlands, you gotta live it every day
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you’ve gotta pay
We’ll keep pushin’ till it’s understood
And these badlands start treating us good

Workin’ in the fields
‘Til you get your back burned
Workin’ ‘neath the wheels
‘Til you get your facts learned
Baby I got my facts
Learned real good right now
You better get it straight girl
Poor man want to be rich
Rich man want to be king
And a king ain’t satisfied
‘Til he rules everything
I want to go out tonight
I want to find out what I got

But I believe in the love
that you gave me
I believe in the faith
that can save me
I believe in the hope

And I pray that some day it may raise me

Above these badlands, you gotta live it every day
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you’ve gotta pay
We’ll keep pushin’ till it’s understood
And these badlands start treating us good

Woah oh woah oh woah oh

For the ones who had a notion
A notion deep inside
That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive
I want to find one face that ain’t looking through me
I want to find one place
I want to spit in the face of these

Badlands, you gotta live it every day
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you’ve gotta pay
We’ll keep pushin’ till it’s understood
And these badlands start treating us good

Woah oh woah oh woah oh
Badlands
Woah oh woah oh woah oh
Badlands
Woah oh woah oh woah oh
Badlands
Woah oh woah oh woah oh
Badlands
Woah oh woah oh woah oh
Badlands
Woah oh woah oh woah oh
Badlands

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme this week is to feature a song by a group or an artist that surprisingly never reached #1 on the charts.

21 thoughts on “Caught in a Crossfire

  1. It’s hard to believe…he never did. I coulnd’t believe Hungry Heart wasn’t one…I guess it was the timing.
    The one that surprises me the most is CCR which makes no sense. Personally I think it was because of the small label they were with and they didn’t get the push others did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CCR had great songs and they were very popular on the radio, and it is a shame that ‘Green River’ was held out of the #1 spot by ‘Sugar Sugar’. ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Bad Moon Rising’, double A sides ‘Travelin’ Band’ / ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’ and ‘Lookin’ Out My Back Door’ / ‘Long As I Can See The Light’ should have all been #1s.

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      1. CCR generally didn’t do as well here in the UK but we did at least give them a #1, with Bad Moon Rising. Still one of my favourite bands and John Fogerty’s home sessions in the early pandemic days were fantastic.

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      2. I have to wonder Jim if the small record company and the lack of push caused at least one or two not getting there…I could be completely wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A real surprise that he has never had a #1 single in either the US or the UK but, like you say, he’s an albums guy, isn’t he. A great selection – I’ve been a fan since he started and can remember singing along drunkenly to this one after we’d had friends round!

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    1. This song never came close to being a #1 and that is what the theme was about today, but it seems like as well as Springsteen is known that one of his songs could have become a #1.

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  3. I’m not familiar with a lot of Springsteen. I know his “Born In The USA” album stuff best and Born To Run of course.
    It’s surprising what songs kept some of the greats from #1… like Macarena🙄🤦🏼‍♀️ I noticed that when I was looking at 2’s

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