The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle

Filled with iconic characters such as Rosalita and Sandy, hoodlums, fortune tellers, and sprawling narratives that fall somewhere between historical fact and tall tale, Springsteen’s sophomore effort is nothing less than the sound of summer on the Jersey boardwalk.

Released: September 11, 1973
Label: Columbia
Produced By: Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos for Laurel Canyon Ltd.
1 The E Street Shuffle
Lyrics
Sparks fly on E Street when the boy prophets walk it handsome and hot
All the little girls' souls grow weak when the man-child gives them a double shot
Them schoolboy pops pull out all the stops on a Friday night
The teenage tramps in skintight pants do the E Street dance and everything's all right
Well the kids down there are either dancing or hooked up in a scuffle
Dressed in snakeskin suits packed with Detroit muscle
They're doin' the E Street Shuffle
Now those E Street brats in twilight duel flash like phantoms in full star stream
Down fire trails on silver nights with blonde girls pledged sweet sixteen
The newsboys say the heat's been bad since Power Thirteen gave a trooper all he had in a summer scuffle
And Power's girl, Little Angel, been on the corner keepin' those crazy boys out of trouble
Little Angel steps the shuffle like she ain't got no brains
She's death in combat down on Lover's Lane
She drives all them local boys insane
Little Angel says, "Oh, oh, everybody form a line
Oh, oh, everybody form a line"
Sparks light on E Street when the boy prophets walk it handsome and hot
All them little girls' souls grow weak when the man-child gives them a double shot
Little Angel hangs out at Easy Joe's, it's a club where all the riot squad goes when they're cashin' in for a cheap hustle
But them boys are still on the corner loose and doin' that lazy E StreetShuffle
As them sweet summer nights turn into summer dreams
Little Angel picks up Power and he slips on his jeans
And they move on out down to the scene
All the kids are dancin'
Also Appears On
Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75
2 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
3 Kitty's Back
Lyrics
Catlong sighs holding Kitty's black tooth
She left to marry some top cat, ain't it the cold truth
And there hasn't been a tally since Sally left the alley
Since Kitty left with Big Pretty things have got pretty thin
It's tight on this fence since them young dudes are musclin' in

Jack Knife cries 'cause baby's in a bundle
She goes running nightly, lightly through the jungle
And them tin cans are explodin' out in the ninety-degree heat
Cat somehow lost his baby down on Bleecker Street
It's sad but it sure is true
Cat shrugs his shoulders, sits back and sighs
OOh, what can I do, ooh, what can I do?
OOh, what can I do, ooh what can I do?

Catlong lies back bent on a trash can,
Flashing lights cut the night, dude in the white says he's the man
Well you better learn to move fast when you're young or you're not long around
Cat somehow lost his Kitty down in the city pound
So get right, get tight, get down
Well who's that down at the end of the alley?
She's been gone so long

Kitty's back in town, here she comes now
Kitty's back in town
Kitty's back in town, here she comes now
Kitty's back in town
Kitty's back in town, here she comes now
Kitty's back in town

Now Cat knows his Kitty's been untrue
And that she left him for a city dude
But she's so soft, she's so blue
When he looks into her eyes
He just sits back and sighs
Ooh, what can I do, ooh, what can I do?
Also Appears On
Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75
4 Wild Billy's Circus Story
Lyrics
The machinist climbs his ferris wheel like a brave
And the fire eater's lyin' in a pool of sweat, victim of the heatwave
Behind the tent the hired hand tightens his legs on the sword swallower's blade
And circus town's on the shortwave

The runway lies ahead like a great false dawn
Fat lady, big mama, Missy Bimbo sits in her chair and yawns
And the man-beast lies in his cage sniffin' popcorn
As the midget licks his fingers and suffers Missy Bimbo's scorn
Circus town's been born

Whoa, and a press roll drummer go, ballerina to and fro
Cartwheelin' up on that tightrope with a cannon blast lightin' flash
Movin' fast through the tent Mars bent, he's gonna miss his fall
Oh God save the human cannonball.
And the flying Zambinis watch Margarita do her neck twist,
And the ringmaster gets the crowd to count along: "Ninety-five, ninety-six, ninety-seven"
A ragged suitcase in his hand, he steals silently away from the circus grounds
And the highway's haunted by the carnival sounds
They dance like a great greasepaint ghost on the wind
A man in baggy pants, a lonely face, a crazy grin
Runnin' home to some small Ohio town
Jesus send some good women to save all your clowns

And circus boy dances like a monkey on barbed wire
And the barker romances with a junkie, she's got a flat tire,
And now the elephants dance real funky and the band plays like a jungle fire
Circus town's on the live wire
And the strong man Sampson lifts the midget little Tiny Tim way up on his shoulders, way up
And carries him on down the midway past the kids, past the sailors
To his dimly lit trailer
And the ferris wheel turns and turns like it ain't ever gonna stop
And the circus boss leans over, whispers into the little boy's ear "Hey son, you want to try the big top?"
All aboard, Nebraska's our next stop.
5 Incident on 57th Street
Lyrics
Spanish Johnny drove in from the underworld last night
With bruised arms and broken rhythm in a beat-up old Buick
But dressed just like dynamite
He tried sellin' his heart to the hard girls over on Easy Street
But they sighed "Johnny it falls apart so easy and you know hearts these days are cheap"
And the pimps swung their axes and said "Johnny you're a cheater."
Well the pimps swung their axes and said "Johnny you're a liar"
And from out of the shadows came a young girl's voice said: "Johnny don't cry"
Puerto Rican Jane, oh won't you tell me what's your name.
I want to drive you down to the other side of town where paradise ain't so crowded, there'll be action goin' down on Shanty Lane tonight
All them golden-heeled fairies in a real bitch fight
Pull .38s and kiss the girls good night

Oh good night, it's alright Jane
Now let them black boys in to light the soul flame
We may find it out on the street tonight baby
Or we may walk until the daylight maybe

Well like a cool Romeo he made his moves, oh she looked so fine
Like a late Juliet she knew he'd never be true but then she really didn't mind
Upstairs a band was playin', the singer was singin' something about goin' home
She whispered, "Spanish Johnny, you can leave me tonight but just don't leave me alone"

And Johnny cried "Puerto Rican Jane, word is down the cops have found the vein"
Oh them barefoot boys left their homes for the woods
Them little barefoot street boys they say homes ain't no good
They left the corners, threw away all their switchblade knives and kissed each other good-bye

Johnny was sittin' on the fire escape watchin' the kids playin' down the street
He called down "Hey little heroes, summer's long but I guess it ain't very sweet around here anymore"
Janey sleeps in sheets damp with sweat, Johnny sits up alone and watches her dream on, dream on
And the sister prays for lost souls, then breaks down in the chapel after everyone's gone

Jane moves over to share her pillow but opens her eyes to see Johnny up and putting his clothes on
She says "Those romantic young boys
All they ever want to do is fight"
Those romantic young boys
They're callin' through the window
"Hey Spanish Johnny, you want to make a little easy money tonight?"
And Johnny whispered:
Good night, it's all tight Jane
I'll meet you tomorrow night on Lover's Lane
We may find it out on the street tonight baby
Or we may walk until the daylight maybe
Also Appears On
Live in Barcelona
6 Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Lyrics
Spread out now Rosie, doctor come cut loose her mama's reins
You know playin' blindman's bluff is a little baby's game
You pick up Little Dynamite, I'm gonna pick up Little Gun
And together we're gonna go out tonight and make that highway run
You don't have to call me lieutenant Rosie and I don't want to be your son
The only lover I'm ever gonna need's your soft sweet little girl's tongue
Rosie you're the one
Dynamite's in the belfry playin' with the bats
Little Gun's downtown in front of Woolworth's tryin' out his attitude on all the cats
Papa's on the corner waitin' for the bus
Mama she's home in the window waitin' up for us
She'll be there in that chair when they wrestle her upstairs
'Cause you know we ain't gonna come
I ain't here for business
I'm only here for fun
And Rosie you're the one

Rosalita jump a little lighter
Senorita come sit by my fire
I just want to be your love, ain't no lie
Rosalita you're my stone desire

Jack the Rabbit and Weak Knees Willie, you know they're gonna be there
Ah, sloppy Sue and Big Bones Billie, they'll be comin' up for air
We're gonna play some pool, skip some school, act real cool
Stay out all night, it's gonna feel all right
So Rosie come out tonight, baby come out tonight
Windows are for cheaters, chimneys for the poor
Closets are for hangers, winners use the door
So use it Rosie, that's what it's there for

Rosalita jump a little lighter
Senorita come sit by my fire
I just want to be your love, ain't no lie
Rosalita you're my stone desire

Now I know your mama she don't like me 'cause I play in a rock and roll band
And I know your daddy he don't dig me but he never did understand
Papa lowered the boom, he locked you in your room
I'm comin' to lend a hand
I'm comin' to liberate you, confiscate you, I want to be your man
Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny
But now you're sad, your mama's mad
And your papa says he knows that I don't have any money
Tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
Because the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance
My tires were slashed and I almost crashed but the Lord had mercy
My machine she's a dud, I'm stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey
Hold on tight, stay up all night 'cause Rosie I'm comin' on strong
By the time we meet the morning light I will hold you in my arms
I know a pretty little place in Southern California down San Diego way
There's a little cafe where they play guitars all night and day
You can hear them in the back room strummin'
So hold tight baby 'cause don't you know daddy's comin'
Also Appears On
Live 1975–85 The Essential Bruce Springsteen London Calling: Live in Hyde Park Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75 Greatest Hits (2009)
7 New York City Serenade
Lyrics
Billy he's down by the railroad tracks
Sittin' low in the back seat of his Cadillac
Diamond Jackie, she's so intact
As she falls so softly beneath him
Jackie's heels are stacked
Billy's got cleats on his boots
Together they're gonna boogaloo down Broadway and come back home with the loot
It's midnight in Manhattan, this is no time to get cute
It's a mad dog's promenade
So walk tall or baby don't walk at all

Fish lady, oh fish lady
She baits them tenement walls
She won't take corner boys
They ain't got no money
And they're so easy
I said "Hey, baby
Won't you take my hand
Walk with me down Broadway
Well mama take my arm andÊ move with me down Broadway"
I'm a young man, I talk it real loud
Yeah babe I walk it real proud for you
Ah so shake it away
So shake away your street life
Shake away your city life
Hook up to the train
And hook up to the night train
Hook it up
Hook up to the train
But I know that she won't take the train, no she won't take the train
Oh she won't take the train, no she won't take the train
Oh she won't take the train, no she won't take the train
Oh she won't take the train, no she won't take the train
She's afraid them tracks are gonna slow her down
And when she turns this boy'll be gone
So long, sometimes you just gotta walk on, walk on

Hey vibes man, hey jazz man, play me your serenade
Any deeper blue and you're playin' in your grave
Save your notes, don't spend 'em on the blues boy
Save your notes, don't spend 'em on the darlin' yearlin' sharp boy
Straight for the church note ringin', vibes man sting a trash can
Listen to your junk man
Listen to your junk man
Listen to your junk man
He's singin', he's singin', he's singin'
All dressed up in satin, walkin' past the alley
He's singin', singin', singin', singin'