Album Info Track List

Recorded on four-track cassette in his New Jersey bedroom, Nebraska has proved one of Springsteen’s most enduring works, a raw, haunted acoustic record populated by lost souls searching not for salvation through music but simply a reason to believe.

  • Released:
  • Label: Columbia Records
  • Producer: Bruce Springsteen
  • 1 Nebraska

    Lyrics

    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 head 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

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  • 2 Atlantic City

    Lyrics

    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 busin' 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 its teeth

    CHORUS
    Well now everything dies baby that's a fact
    But maybe everything 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

    CHORUS

    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 so put on your stockin's baby 'cause the night's getting cold
    And everything dies baby that's a fact
    But maybe everything 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
    But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
    Put your hair up nice and set up pretty
    and meet me tonight in Atlantic City
    Meet me tonight in Atlantic City
    Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

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  • 3 Mansion on the Hill

    Lyrics

    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 corn fields
    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

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  • 4 Johnny 99

    Lyrics

    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 fistfight 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 judge I had debts no honest man could pay
    The bank was holdin' my mortgage and they was takin' 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
    And if you can take a man's life for the thoughts that's in his head
    Then won't you 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 execution line

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  • 5 Highway Patrolman

    Lyrics

    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 Franky and Franky 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 Franky'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

    Me and Franky 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 Franky 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
    Franky came home in '68, and me, I took this job

    Yea 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 cryin' 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 must of 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 taillights disappear

    Me and Franky 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

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  • 6 State Trooper

    Lyrics

    New Jersey Turnpike ridin' on a wet night 'neath the refinery'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 gets hazy, radio relay towers lead me to my baby
    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

  • 7 Used Cars

    Lyrics

    My little 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 tellin' us all 'bout 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 brand new used car
    I wish he'd just hit the gas and let out a cry and 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

  • 8 Open All Night

    Lyrics

    Well, I had the carburetor, 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 points
    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 payphone 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 nightshift
    It's an all night run to get back to where my baby lives
    In the wee wee hours your mind gets hazy radio relay towers, won't you lead me to my baby?
    Underneath the overpass, trooper hits his party light switch
    Goodnight good luck one two power shift

    I met Wanda when she was employed behind the counter at route 60 Bob's Big Boy Fried Chicken on the front seat, she's sittin' in my lap
    We're wipin' our fingers on a Texaco roadmap
    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, woncha hear my last prayer hey, ho, rock'n'roll, deliver me from nowhere

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  • 9 My Father's House

    Lyrics

    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

  • 10 Reason to Believe

    Lyrics

    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
    Still 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
    Wonderin' where can his baby be still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

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