Unreleased – Freehold by Bruce Springsteen


I was born right here on Randolph Street in Freehold
Here right behind that big red maple in Freehold
Well I went to school right here
Got laid and had my first beer
In Freehold

Today we have found a great “story-song” from Bruce Springsteen that has never been officially released.

This is a sweet and funny song that appeared for the first time live on 8 Nov 1996 in Freehold, NJ. Freehold/ In Freehold is never officially released and I think it has only been played live (not recorded in studio). It is a song in the same vein as Growing Up, but set at an earlier age and in a less serious tone.

The debut of the song was at The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour (Freehold 8 Nov) and it has been played around 20 times after that. It is speculated that the song was written specifically for this event. It was a sort of homecoming show in the sense that he grew up in Freehold, but hadn’t played there since 1967. Bruce Springsteen left Freehold in 1968.

Freehold (first performance, audio):


springsteen tj_tour

In 1999 he added a verse based on true events:

Freehold (1999 version):

I also want to include a fine 2003 version from Summerville Theatre in Summerville, Boston MA on February 19/2003 (audio):

Lyrics, Freehold (1996) version:

[Spoken intro]: Got one more for you [cheers]. Well this is a song that I… only gonna sing this song once in my life. It’s gonna be right now [cheers]. Uh… never sang it before, don’t know if I know how to sing it… but I’m gonna try. Uh… Alright, let me give a shot here. Take some of the lights down a little bit because… this is a moody kind of piece. Yeah. Uh not quite that moody, you know [chuckles]. Alright I need some real silence because man I got to concentrate to get this sucker right now!

I was born right here on Randolph Street in Freehold
Here right behind that big red maple in Freehold
Well I went to school right here
Got laid and had my first beer
In Freehold

Well my folks all lived and worked right here in Freehold
I remember running up the street past the convent to the church here in Freehold
I chased my daddy down in these bars
First fell in love with this guitar
Here in Freehold

Well I had my first kiss at the YMCA canteen on a Friday night
Maria Espinosa tell me where are you tonight
You were thirteen but way ahead of your time
I walked home with a limp but I felt fine
That night in Freehold

Well the girls at Freehold Regional they looked pretty fine
Had my heart broke at least half a dozen times
I wonder if they missed me, if they still get the itch
Would they had dumped me if they knew I’d strike it rich
Straight out of Freehold

Well Tex rest in peace and Marion gave us kids a hand in Freehold
Georgie, we started up a little Rock And Roll band in Freehold
[spoken:] Ah, we got it wrong!
[spoken:] I’m reading it right now
[spoken:] I gotta do it right
[spoken:] I gotta get this one right
[spoken:] Yeah…
[spoken:] Oh boy, I gotta hate my own handwriting now
[extended pause]
[spoken:] Ah!
[spoken:] It’s just a dramatic interlude there

Tex rest in peace and Marion gave us a hand in Freehold
Georgie, we started up a Rock And Roll band in Freehold
But we learned pretty quick how to rock it
I’ll never forget the feeling of that first five bucks in my pocket
That I earned in Freehold

Well I got outta here really hard and fast in Freehold
Everybody wanted to kick my ass back there in Freehold
Well if you were different, black or brown
It was a bit of a redneck town
Back then in Freehold

Well something broke my daddy’s back in Freehold
In ’69 he left and he never come back to Freehold
Except once he drove from California 3000 miles in three days
Called my relatives some dirty names
And pulled straight out of Freehold

Sister had her first little baby at seventeen in Freehold
Well people they can be pretty mean
Honey you had a rough road to go but you ain’t made of nothin’ but soul
I love you more that you’ll ever know
We both survived Freehold

Well my buddy Mike well he’s the mayor now in Freehold
I remember when we used to have a lot more hair in Freehold
Well I left and swore I’d never walk these streets again Jack
Tonight all I can say is “holy shit, I’m back”
Back in Freehold

Well this summer everything was green in Freehold
Rode my kids on the fire engine through the streets of Freehold
I showed them where dad was born and raised
And first felt the sun on his face
There in Freehold

Well I still got a lot of good friends right here in town
I can usually find me a free beer somewhere
With offers of free meals I am blessed
Should I go crazy, blow all my money and ruin my life, but at least I’ll never go hungry I guess
Here in Freehold

Well I got a good Catholic education here in Freehold
Led to an awful lot of masturbation here in Freehold
Father it was just something I did for a smile
Hell I still get a good one off once in a while
And dedicate it to Freehold

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t putting anybody down
Hell in the end it all just goes and comes around
It’s one hell of a town

(from the fantastic website, www.springsteenlyrics.com)

New verse 1999:

Well I read something in the papers a few weeks ago that was pretty funny
Seems the town council was debating whether to up a statue of me in my hometown, but it cost too much money
Well I’d like to thank the Town Council my friends
For saving me from humiliation by displaying the good hard common sense
We learned in Freehold

– Hallgeir