Live 02 Jun 1974 version

Well, the broken down doll
Where Little Angel, she dances topless at night down in Coral Inn
Along the satin couch, high above the bar
She watches the surfers drift in just to waste away, this night away
Oh, two IDs at the door
And you're tripped into wonderland, filled with South Shore cruisers
And blondies with false curvy features
And sandals
And soft hands

Ah, you meet a new girl and for a while, boy, you listen to the band
Oh, you got no money to get up, but you still got to dance
And, baby, it feels more honest making love, making love on the sand
She takes off her shoes, runs off in the night
You catch up with her, you take her hand
You lay your jacket down on the sand
And she tries to make it all right

Oh, dance on, dance on, Little Angel, dance
Oh, now, baby, don't laugh, oh, little girl, don't cry
Night after night, we searched, we searched for romance
Because on a night like this, we all die

Well across the street in the Shady Bell
Well, the fags come in to drink and to dance
Whoa, and the disco roller DJ blasts a solid beat
Strike a pose, everybody knows that you're the man
Whoa, the floors are just a sex machine
Whoa, as wet hands force themselves into tight pants
Well, that ain't gonna get her loose
But tonight you feel like taking a chance
And so you strut across the floor, and with your last breath, you say
"Baby, do you want to dance?"

Oh, the boardwalk is so quiet at three in the morning
Oh, and the wind blows life into a sleepy Ferris wheel
And somehow tonight, even the streets ain't so boring
Raped and ravaged, stripped and savage
With no secrets left to reveal, specially on the front

Now, the bars, they close down
And along the beach the lonesome army awaits you
Oh, the lost boys, they're waitin', watchin' her transformation, waiting to date you
And them lost boys, oh, they dress rough, skin and savage legs
They hide beneath the pier, gettin' hard, drinkin' beer, waitin' to kiss you
And once you're locked in their arms you wanna die
But baby they won't let you

Oh, turn up the house lights, Little Angel gets paid
And she goes in the back room to get changed
She's out the door, down the street
She turns the corner, towards her apartment
On the beach she hears the lost boys call her name
(Oh, Little Angel, bar angel, bar angel, Little Angel)

And so you gotta dance on, dance on through the night, Little Angel, dance
Whoa, baby don't look so frightened, and please, honey, don't cry

Because night after endless night, up and down this boardwalk we search for romance
But on a night like this, with one last kiss, we all die

Oh, all right
All night long
Go on, oh, you hurt me
Oh, all right, now


A NIGHT LIKE THIS is a song written by Bruce Springsteen. He recorded it during the Born To Run sessions and performed it live in 1974.

Composition and Recording

During the 02 Jun 1974 show in Toledo, OH, Bruce Springsteen introduced A NIGHT LIKE THIS as a "new song" but did not mention the title. This indicates that the song was probably written around May 1974.

According to a studio log, the song was recorded during the Born To Run sessions under the title "A Night Like This", on 16 Oct 1974 at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY. This is documented in the second edition (1992) of Charles R. Cross book Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music. He writes, "Studio records show a song with this title was recorded by Bruce on October 16th, 1974 from 10:00PM to 1:00AM." Unfortunately, no studio recording of A NIGHT LIKE THIS has ever circulated.

The live 02 Jun 1974 recording of A NIGHT LIKE THIS has been in circulation since at least the mid-eighties; the lyrics were first published around 1984 on the fifth and last volume of the "Songs To Orphans" lyrics file. A NIGHT LIKE THIS usually circulated as a single song without the rest of the set because it was always assumed to be from late 1972 or early 1973. Many even assumed that it was an early version of 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY).

The song is also known under the titles "Angel baby" and "Dance On Little Angel", the former being being Springsteen's original working title. It was a candidate track for the Born To Run album, as evidenced in a handwritten list of candidate tracks for Springsteen's third studio album. The list is untitled and probably dates from 1974. Springsteen used the title "Angel Baby (Broken Down Doll)" (see scan below). The lyric "broken down doll" appears in the first line of the song. It's probably not part of the title, but more of a way of identifying the song given that "Angel Baby", the title that Springsteen was using at that time, doesn't appear in the song's lyrics.

Proposed handwritten song list for Springsteen's third album
Proposed handwritten song list for Springsteen's third album

Lyrics from A NIGHT LIKE THIS were later used in LONELY NIGHT IN THE PARK, another studio outtake from the Born To Run sessions.

Live 02 Jun 1974 version

The above lyrics are for the live 02 Jun 1974 performances of A NIGHT LIKE THIS at The Toledo Agora in Toledo, OH, during what is considered The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour. This is the only known live performances of A NIGHT LIKE THIS. The song was the show opener and was played in an acoustic arrangement with Bruce Springsteen on guitar and vocals and backed by Danny Federici on accordion and Clarence Clemons on saxophone. A weak quality audience recording of the performance is in circulation.

Live History

A NIGHT LIKE THIS is known to have been performed at least once during The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour, on 02 Jun 1974 in Toledo, OH. Some of that period's setlists are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song may have been played on some more dates. The song was played in an acoustic arrangement.


No artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's A NIGHT LIKE THIS.

Credits / References

Thanks Oskari (zeke at SPL) and Pete Russell (Peteadmin at Brucebase) for the help. Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.

Some of the above info is taken from Brucebase.

Available Versions

List of available versions of A NIGHT LIKE THIS on this website:

A NIGHT LIKE THIS [Live 02 Jun 1974 version]

Page last updated: 04 May 2013