April 1972 demo version

Shrieks of sheikhs as they run across the movie screen
A thousand sand dune soldiers led by an Arabian queen
And the harem girls move like fancy dancers in my dirty dream
And I wake up on the floor holding a bed lamp

Mama, she comes in and screams, "Huh! You been out with that tramp again last night
That silver sequined ivory black bitch, you know, the one that Mama don't like"
You see, but, Mama, she sings me moontime melodies with this great Top 40 hook
But Mama don't care, Papa he just stares and says, "Mary, look the girl's alright, yeah, look the girl's alright"

And there's a tenseness in the air, don't you know, can't you feel
There's something hanging there, pull back the mist and reveal it
Even if you fear what you hear, try to conceal it
And if what Mama feels is too real, she just claims she don't feel it

So come out from behind your bunkers, the liftoff's been a bust
Papa's gone and Mama's dead and buried in my rocket dust
You're alone now for the first time, but that's all right
Because all fear will completely disappear come the Arabian night

The soundman smiles and turns the dials to set the meter reading rising
He pulls the singer's voice from out of his pocket to see how the audience likes it
And in the very first row sits sweet Jenny Rue with a bell on her shoe, she wants him to make it
He flicks a switch but Jenny moves too fast and the audience sways to the sound of her shotgun blast
The manage runs out, "Check the band's arms for bullet holes and make that man roll up his sleeves"
The drummer shoots himself with cyanide then asked to be relieved
And me, I say, "It's crazy in here, where is the stage door? Which way is out? I gotta get up for work"
The man says, "Well, once, once you're in they all lead out, what's the matter, ain't you heard?
There's a war going on outside and I'm paying you to sing like a bird
So get in and get tough or get up and get out 'cause things aren't too tight"
I said, "Don't worry, everything's gonna loosen up come the Arabian Night"

So I get back in bed but outside my window I hear another gang fight
It's Duke and the boys against The Devil's best man and both sides have drawn their knives
With one quick jab Duke brings The Devil down
He smiles 'cause he knows there's a high price on Devil's in a good God fearing town
Duke sold The Devil to some priest in Pennsylvania to exhibit on his altar Christmas night
But The Devil's eyes, they're remain red like fire as long as Duke walks upright
'Cause The Devil swears there's gonna be a showdown at sundown on the Arabian night
On the Arabian night, on the Arabian night


The above lyrics are for a demo of ARABIAN NIGHTS recorded probably in April 1972 at Mike Appel's office or home in New York City, NY. It features Springsteen solo on vocals and acoustic guitar. See the studio version for more details about the song.

In April 1972, Bruce Springsteen traveled to New York on occasions to visit Mike Appel at the publishing company Pocketful Of Tunes where Appel was then employed. During that period some spontaneous, "off-the-cuff" Springsteen performances were recorded in a songwriting room (not the studio) at Pocketful Of Tunes. To date only a couple of these demos have surfaced. There may have been other songs similarly taped that have yet to circulate among collectors.

Bootleg Releases

This April 1972 demo version of ARABIAN NIGHTS can be found on The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 1 (Yellow Dog Records) bootleg.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 1 (Yellow Dog Records)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 1 (Yellow Dog Records)


Some of the above info about the demo recording is taken from Brucebase.

Available Versions

List of available versions of ARABIAN NIGHTS on this website:

ARABIAN NIGHTS [Studio version]
ARABIAN NIGHTS [April 1972 demo version]
ARABIAN NIGHTS [03 May 1972 demo version]

Page last updated: 03 Feb 2013