Skip to content
Bruce Springsteen Springsteen On Broadway front cover
Track

The Ghost of Tom Joad

Label
Columbia Records
Release Date
21 November 1995
Lyrics
Men walkin’ ‘long the railroad tracks
Goin’ someplace, there’s no goin’ back
Highway Patrol choppers comin’ up over the ridge
Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
Shelter line stretchin’ ‘round the corner
Welcome to the new world order
Families sleepin’ in their cars in the southwest
No home, no job, no peace, no rest

Well the highway is alive tonight
But nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes
I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
Searchin’ for the ghost of Tom Joad

He pulls a prayer book out of his sleepin’ bag
Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
Waitin’ for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass
You got a one way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand
Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
Bathin’ in the city’s aqueduct

The highway is alive tonight
But where it’s headed everybody knows
I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
Waitin’ on the ghost of Tom Joad

Now Tom said, “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beatin’ a guy
Wherever a hungry new born baby cries
Where there’s a fight ‘gainst the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me mom I’ll be there.
Wherever somebody’s fightin’ for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helpin’ hand.
Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free,
Look in their eyes ma you’ll see me.”

Well the highway is alive tonight
Where it’s headed everybody knows
I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
With the ghost of old Tom Joad


Well the highway is alive tonight
But nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes
I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
With the ghost of old Tom Joad

With the ghost of old Tom Joad
With the ghost of old Tom Joad

Appears On

The Ghost of Tom Joad
12 Songs 1995
High Hopes
12 Songs 2014
The Essential Bruce Springsteen
42 Songs 2003
Magic Tour Highlights
4 Songs 2008
MusiCares Person Of The Year: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen
21 Songs 2014
Chapter and Verse
18 Songs 2016
Springsteen on Broadway
35 Songs 2018
Live in Dublin
28 Songs 2007
X
Save On Apple Music Save On Deezer Save On Spotify
X
X

We're sorry, a Spotify Premium account is required to use this service. Start your free trial here.

We're sorry, this service doesn't work with Spotify on mobile devices yet. Please use the Spotify app instead.

X

You're signed in! About the streaming player:

Songs play if you keep the player window open. The music stops if you close the window. To keep the music playing while you visit other pages, two options:

  1. In top row of the player, click Pop-Up Player button to open player in a new window.
  2. Keep player open in a browser tab. Visit other pages in a separate tab.
X

We're sorry, this service doesn't work with Spotify on mobile devices yet. Please use the Spotify app instead.

You're signed in! About the streaming player:

Songs play if you keep the player window open. The music stops if you close the window. To keep the music playing while you visit other pages, two options:

  1. In top row of the player, click Pop-Up Player button to open player in a new window.
  2. Keep player open in a browser tab. Visit other pages in a separate tab.