Nebraska


   Recorded in New Jersey by Mike Batlin on
a Teac Tascam Series 144 4-track cassette recorder.

  All words and music by Bruce Springsteen (1982)

Nebraska


  I saw her standin' on her front lawn just twirlin' her baton
  Me and her went for a ride sir and ten innocent people died

  From the town of Lincoln Nebraska with a sawed-off .410 on my lap
  Through to the badlands of Wyoming I killed everything in my path

  I can't say that I'm sorry for the things that we done
  At least for a little while sir me and her we had us some fun

  The jury brought in a guilty verdict and the judge he sentenced me to death
  Midnight in a prison storeroom with leather straps across my chest

  Sheriff when the man pulls that switch sir and snaps my poor neck back
  You make sure my pretty baby is sittin' right there on my lap

  They declared me unfit to live said into that great void my soul'd be hurled
  They wanted to know why I did what I did
  Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world

Atlantic City


  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 bustin' 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 his teeth

  Well now, ev'rything dies, baby, that's a fact
  But maybe ev'rything 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, baby, ev'rything dies, honey, that's a fact...

  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
  Put on your stockin's baby, `cause the night's getting cold
  And maybe ev'rything dies, baby, that's a fact
  But maybe ev'rything 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...

Mansion on The Hill


  There's a place out on the edge of town, sir,
  Risin' above the factories and the fields
  Now, ever since I was a child, I can remember
    That mansion on the hill
  In the day you can see the children playing
  On the road that leads to those gates of hardened steel
  Steel gates that completely surround, sir,
  The mansion on the hill

  At night my daddy'd take me and we'd ride
  Through the streets of a town so silent and still
  Park on a back road along the highway side
  Look up at that mansion on the hill

  In the summer all the lights would shine
  There'd be music playin', people laughin' all the time
  Me and my sister, we'd hide out in the tall cornfields
  Sit and listen to the mansion on the hill

  Tonight down here in Linden Town
  I watch the cars rushin' by, home from the mill
  There's a beautiful full moon rising
  Above the mansion on the hill

Johnny 99


  Well they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late that month
  Ralph went out lookin' for a job but he couldn't find none
  He came home too drunk from mixin' Tanqueray and wine
  He got a gun shot a night clerk now they call'm Johnny 99

  Down in the part of town where when you hit a red light you don't stop
  Johnny's wavin' his gun around and threatenin' to blow his top
  When an off-duty cop snuck up on him from behind
  Out in front of the Club Tip Top they slapped the cuffs on Johnny 99

  Well the city supplied a public defender but the judge was Mean John Brown
  He came into the courtroom and stared young Johnny down
  Well the evidence is clear gonna let the sentence son fit the crime
  Prison for 98 and a year and we'll call it even Johnny 99
  A fist fight broke out in the courtroom they had to drag Johnny's girl away
  His mama stood up and shouted "Judge don't take my boy this way"
  Well son you got a statement you'd like to make
  Before the bailiff comes to forever take you away

  Now judge I had debts no honest man could pay
  The bank was holdin' my mortgage and they were gonna take my house away
  Now I ain't sayin' that makes me an innocent man
  But it was more `n all this that put that gun in my hand

  Well your honor I do believe I'd be better off dead
  So if you can take a man's life for the thoughts that's in his head
  Then sit back in that chair and think it over judge one more time
  And let `em shave off my hair and put me on that killin' line

Highway Patrolman


  My name is Joe Roberts I work for the state
  I'm a sergeant out of Perrineville barracks number 8
  I always done an honest job as honest as I could
  I got a brother named Frankie and Frankie ain't no good

  Now ever since we was young kids it's been the same come down
  I get a call over the radio Frankie's in trouble downtown
  Well if it was any other man, I'd put him straight away
  But when it's your brother sometimes you look the other way

  Yeah me and Frankie laughin' and drinkin'
  Nothin' feels better than blood on blood
  Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band
  Played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"

  I catch him when he's strayin' like any brother would
  Man turns his back on his family well he just ain't no good
 
  Well Frankie went in the army back in 1965
  I got a farm deferment, settled down, took Maria for my wife
  But them wheat prices kept on droppin' till it was like we were gettin' robbed
  Frankie came home in `68, and me, I took this job
  
  Yeah we're laughin' and drinkin'
  Nothin' feels better than blood on blood
  Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band
  Played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
 
  I catch him when he's strayin' teach him how to walk that line
  Man turns his back on his family he ain't no friend of mine

  Well the night was like any other, I got a call `bout quarter to nine
  There was trouble in a roadhouse out on the Michigan line
  There was a kid lyin' on the floor lookin' bad bleedin' hard from his head
  There was a girl cry'n' at a table and it was Frank, they said

  Well I went out and I jumped in my car and I hit the lights
  Well I musta done one hundred and ten through Michigan county that night
  It was out at the crossroads, down `round Willow bank
  Seen a Buick with Ohio plates. Behind the wheel was Frank

  Well I chased him through them county roads
  Till a sign said "Canadian border five miles from here"
  I pulled over the side of the highway and watched his tail-lights disappear

  Me and Frankie laughin' and drinkin'
  Nothin' feels better than blood on blood
  Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band
  Played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"

State Trooper


   New Jersey Turnpike, ridin' on a wet night `neath the refin'ry's glow
   Out where the great black rivers flow
   License, registration: I ain't got none
   But I got a clear conscience `bout the things that I done

   Mister state trooper, please don't stop me
   Please don't stop me, please don't stop me
   Maybe you got a kid, maybe you got a pretty wife
   The only thing that I got's been both'rin' me my whole life
   Mister state trooper, please don't stop me
   Please don't stop me, please don't stop me

   In the wee, wee hours your mind get hazy
   Radio relay towers lead me to my baby
   The radio's jammed up with talk show stations
   It's just talk, talk, talk, talk, till you lose your patience

   Mister state trooper, please don't stop me

   Hey, somebody out there, listen to my last prayer
   Hiho silver-o, deliver me from nowhere

Used Cars


   My sister's in the front seat with an ice cream cone
   My ma's in the black seat sittin' all alone
   As my pa steers her slow out of the lot
   For a test drive down Michigan Avenue

   Now, my ma, she fingers  her wedding band
   And watches the salesman stare at my old man's hands
   He's telling us all about the break he'd give us
   If he could, but he just can't

   Well if I could, I swear I know just what I'd do
   Now, mister, the day the lottery I win
   I ain't ever gonna ride in no used car again

   Now, the neighbors come from near and far
   As we pull up in our brandnew used car
   I wish he'd just hit the gas and let out a cry
   Tell `em all they can kiss our asses goodbye

   My dad, he sweats the same job from mornin' to morn
   Me, i walk home on the same dirty streets where I was born
   Up the block I can hear my little sister
   In the front seat blowin' that horn

   The sounds echoin' all down Michigan Avenue
   Now, mister, the day my numbers comes in
   I ain't ever gonna ride in no used car again

Open all Night


   Well, I had the carburator, baby, cleaned and checked
   With her line blown out she's hummin' like a turbojet
   Propped her up in the backyard on concrete blocks
   For a new clutch plate and a new set of shocks
   Took her down to the carwash, check the plugs and point
   Well, I'm goin' out tonight. I'm gonna rock that joint

   Early north Jersey industrial skyline
   I'm a all-set cobra jet creepin' through the nighttime
   Gotta find a gas station, gotta find a pay phone
   This turnpike sure is spooky at night when you're all alone
   Gotta hit the gas, baby. I'm running late
   This New Jersey in the mornin' like a lunar landscape

   Now, the boss don't dig me, so he put me on the night shift
   It's an all-night run to get back to where my baby lives
   In the wee, wee hours your mind gets hazy
   Radio relays towers, won't you lead me to my baby?
   Underneath the overpass, trooper hits his party light switch
   Good night, good luck. One, two power shift

   I met Wanda when she was employed
   Behind the counter at Route Sixty Bob's Big Boy Fried Chicken
   On the front seat, she's sittin' in my lap
   We're wipin' our fingers on a Texaco road map
   I remember Wanda up on scrap metal hill
   With them big brown eyes that make your heart stand still

   Well, at five a.m., oil pressure's sinkin' fast
   I make a pit stop, wipe the windshield, check the gas
   Gotta call my baby on the telephone
   Let her know that her daddy's comin' on home
   Sit tight, little mama, I'm comin' `round
   I got three more hours, but I'm coverin' ground

   Your eyes get itchy in the wee, wee hours
   Sun's just a red ball risin' over them refinery towers
   Radio's jammed up with gospel stations
   Lost souls callin' long distance salvation
   Hey, mister deejay, won'tcha hear my last prayer?
   Hey, ho, rock'n'roll, deliver me from nowhere

My Father's House


   Last night I dreamed that I was a child
   Out where the pines grow wild and tall
   I was trying to make it home through the forest
   Before the darkness falls

   I heard the wind rustling through the trees
   And ghostly voices rose from the fields
   I ran with my heart pounding down that broken path
   With the devil snappin' at my heels

   I broke through the trees, and there in the night
   My father's house stood shining hard and bright
   The branches and brambles tore my clothes and scratched my arms
   But I ran till I fell, shaking in his arms

   I awoke and I imagined the hard things that pulled us apart
   Will never again, sir, tear us from each other's hearts
   I got dressed, and to that house I did ride
   From out on the road, I could see its windows shining in light

   I walked up the steps and stood on the porch
   A woman I didn't recognize came and spoke to me through a chained door
   I told her my story, and who I'd come for
   She said "I'm sorry, son, but no one by that name lives here anymore"

   My father's house shines hard and bright
   It stands like a beacon calling me in the night
   Calling and calling, so cold and alone
   Shining `cross this dark highway where our sins lie unatoned

Reason to Believe


  Seen a man standin' over a dead dog lyin' by the highway in a ditch
  He's lookin' down kinda puzzled pokin' that dog with a stick
  Got his car door flung open he's standin' out on Highway 31
  Like if he stood there long enough that dog'd get up and run
  Struck me kinda funny seem kinda funny sir to me
  At the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

  Now Mary Lou loved Johnny with a love mean and true
  She said "Baby I'll work for you every day and bring my money home to you"
  One day he up and left her and ever since that
  She waits down at the end of that dirt road for young Johnny to come back
  Struck me kinda funny seemed kind of funny sir to me
  How at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

  Take a baby to the river Kyle William they called him
  Wash the baby in the water take away little Kyle's sin
  In a whitewash shotgun shack an old man passes away
  Take his body to the graveyard and over him they pray
  Lord won't you tell us tell us what does it mean
  Still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

  Congregation gathers down by the riverside
  Preacher stands with his Bible groom stands waitin' for his bride
  Congregation gone and the sun sets behind a weepin' willow tree
  Groom stands alone and watches the river rush on so effortlessly
  Lord and he's wonderin' where can his baby be
  Still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe