Bruce Springsteen Racing In The Street – 5 decades 5 Versions


Bruce Springsteen Racing In The Street – 5 decades 5 Versions

Racing in the Street is a ballad written by Bruce Springsteen, it was originally released on his album Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978). The song has been referred to as Springsteen’s best song by a number of commentators. I think it’s at least in the top 3 of my favourite Springsteen songs.

“…And “Racing in the Streets” is still perhaps the best Springsteen song ever.”

– Rolling Stone magazine

Like so many times, before and since, the car is a symbol of freedom in Springsteen’s universe. Driving a car gives you the ultimate feeling of freedom in this world.

The song begins with two friends fixing up an old car. The story is made believable through Bruce’s attention to detail, he seems to know what he is talking about, “I got a ’69 Chevy with a 396, Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor”.  The two friends needs the car to go racing, to earn money from street racing. As the story is told, they go from town to town and win easy money. They’re like cowboys in the old west, riding where the work is, no strings attached.

The protagonist/the racer and his friend Sonny hasn’t stopped living, even if they have ordinary day jobs. They come home from work, get cleaned up and starts living, they go racing in the streets.

The second half of the song shifts from being about a carefree existence into something more serious. Responsibility (or lack of it). “The Racer” wins a girl from a competitor,  he continues his dangerous racing with no regards for her dreams. His woman sits alone at home crying afraid that he might get hurt, “Baby did you make it alright”. The things she once fell for in the protagonist now seems like a boy not wanting to grow up.

In the end “The Racer” leaves the girl, wash the sins off his hands and goes racing in the streets,  like a lonesome cowboy into the sunset.

1970’s Racing In The Street (Landover, 1978):

1980’s Racing In The Street (Kansas City, 1984):

1990’s Racing In The Street (1996, Freehold, NJ):

2000’s Racing In The Street (Seattle, 2005):

2010’s Racing In The Street (Ashbury Park, 2010):

– Hallgeir