BLINDED BY THE LIGHT

Live 04 Apr 2005 version


[Spoken intro:] Let we move on to something else. Uh, can I have a guitar? I wrote a lot of notes which I'll be drawing from uh, uh... I wrote them yesterday, uh... the day before, I thought they were really brilliant. But then uh, then I read them this morning and I sounded like I was really full of myself which, uh... I don't actually need notes to help me with, so... But I'll be, but I'll be checking on them as we go through the night. Alright, this was a song that, uh, was written as... I handed my first record in to Clive Davis and... "yeah that's just great, great, but there's no hits, there's nothing, we can't play anything on the radio." So, uh, I'm thinking, "I have no hits, we gotta have some hits", you know. So I, I went to him -- I went to the beach and I wrote this song and I wrote "Spirit in the Night" but I wrote I think "Blinded by the Light". And so, uh, uh... I handed the record in and I found Clarence who had been missing in action, which is why he's only on the first two songs on the first album because, uh, couldn't find him, you know (chuckles). And uh, let me set the scene; I'm sitting on my bed, people always ask me the one question, the dumbest question in the world, but they always ask you, "what, what came first, the music or the words?" You know, when somebody wants to ask you something about songwriting. Usually, I wanna say this, in this song the words came first. And I was sitting on my bed with a rhyming dictionary in one hand and a notebook in the other one. I am in my apartment which is above an old abandoned beauty salon in Asbury Park. And uh... this is what happened.

Madman drummers bummers and Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat
In the dumps with the mumps as the adolescent pumps his way into his hat
With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin' kinda older I tripped the merry-go-round
With this very unpleasing sneezing and wheezing, the calliope crashed to the ground
Some all-hot half-shot was headin' for the hot spot, snappin' his fingers clappin' his hands
Some fleshpot mascot was tied into a lover's knot with a whatnot in her hand
Now young Scott with a slingshot finally found a tender spot and throws his lover in the sand
Some bloodshot forget-me-not whispers, "Daddy's within earshot, save the buckshot, turn up the band"

And she was blinded by the light
Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
She got down but she never got tight
She's gonna make it alright

Some brimstone baritone anti-cyclone rolling stone preacher from the east
He says, "Dethrone the dictaphone, hit it in its funny bone, yeah, that's where they expect it least"
Some new-mown chaperone was standin' in the corner all alone watchin' the young girls dance
Some fresh-sown moonstone was messin' with his frozen zone to remind him of the feeling of romance

Yeah, he was blinded by the light
Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
He got down but he never got tight
He's gonna make it alright

Some silicone sister with her manager's mister told me I got what it takes
She said, "I'll turn you on, sonny, to something strong if you'll play that song with the funky break"
And Go-cart Mozart was checkin' out the weather chart to see if it was safe to go outside
And little Early-Pearly came by in her curly-wurly, asked me if I needed a ride
Oh, some hazard from Harvard was skunked on beer playin' backyard bombardier
And Scotland Yard was trying hard, they sent some dude with a calling card, he said, "Do what you like, but don't do it here"
Well, I jumped up, turned around, spit in the air, fell on the ground
And asked him which was the way back home
He said, "Take a right at the light, keep goin' straight all night, and then boys, you're on your own"

There's more?
In Zanzibar a shootin' star was ridin' in a side car hummin' a lunar tune
And the avatar said, "Blow the bar but first remove the cookie jar we're gonna teach those boys to laugh too soon"
Some kidnapped handicap was complainin' that he caught the clap from some mousetrap he bought last night
Well I unsnapped his skull cap, between his ears I saw a gap and figured he'd be all right

Well, he was blinded by the light
Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun
Whoa, but mama that's where the fun is
I was blinded
[Spoken:] This, yeah, this is the best part, you got it
I was blinded (I was blinded)
I was blinded (I was blinded)
I was blinded, I was blinded

[Spoken:] All right. Thank you, yes, yes. Please, remain seated, I know, an A-minor masterpiece, I, I understand (laughs).

[Line-by-line song explanation:]

But uh... so what was that one about? You know, that was well, I always that, uh, that's the song that explains why I never did any drugs -- I don't think I could've stood it. My mind was already, already reeling, but uh... I'll give it to you little bit by bit. Alright

Uh., "Madman drummers bummers and Indians in the summer", Mad Dog Vincent Lopez, drummer in the E Street Band who was always, he always getting in shit. And uh... and "Indians in the summer", well the Indians were my little-league team when I was a kid. So uh... but there's also the kind of cowboys and Indians in the woods but uh... The "teenage"... "and Indians in the summer", the "teenage diplomat", well that's me. Alright. "In the dumps with the mumps", I was diseased. "As the, uh, adolescent pumps his way into his hat", is self-explanatory, you know. Alright (chuckles). "With, uh, with a boulder on my shoulder", I always felt something big pressing down my whole life. Uh... "feelin' kinda older I tripped the merry-go-round", that's where I was living, that was the boardwalk, and "with this very unpleasing sneezing and wheezing, the calliope crashed to the ground", that was I seek chaos and disruption I suppose.

"Some all-hot half-shot was headin' for the hot spot, snappin' his fingers clappin' his hands", that me. "Some fleshpot" -- is that right? Did I miss a not? (chuckles) ??? Alright I'm gonna go with it, alright "some fleshpot mascot was tied into a lover's knot with a whatnot in her hand". That was me and a friend. Alright, "now young Scott with a slingshot finally found a tender spot", we're always looking for life's tender spots, you know, that's where, you know, that's where the love is, you know. Uh, "And throws his lover in the sand", and "some bloodshot forget-me-not whispers, 'Daddy's within earshot'", I was always very unpopular with my girlfriend's parents. "Save the buckshot", aw, "turn up the band", but I could not be defeated, you see. (chuckles)

Then we got the chorus, "I was blinded by the light", that kinda says it all, you know, that's, that's, just, that's what I was looking for. "Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night", this is an interesting line because, uh, this song is my only number one song. I had never had another number one song, except this one, and it wasn't done by me, it was done Manfred Mann, which I appreciate, but they changed this line. My line says "Cut loose like a deuce", and theirs said "Cut loose like a douche". Uh, I have a feeling that that is why this song skyrocketed into number one. But, uh, it's one of those, you know, that word, you know, and then the "deuce" was like a little deuce coupe, as in two-seat hot rod. Uh, "douche" is of course is a feminine hygienic procedure. Uh, so, they're different! And uh... but, uh, what can I say? You know, the public spoken, and they were right, you know. So, uh, alright, let me, let me carry on.

Uh... "brimstone baritone anti-cyclone rolling stone preacher from the east, he says, 'Dethrone the dictaphone, hit it in its funny bones'", gotta be funny, everything was funny, "that's where they expect it least". "New-mown chaperone was standin' in the corner all alone watchin' the young girls dance", I guess that was the YMCA when they had this guy sitting in that corner with a flashlight and if you moved in for a, for a quick round, they hit with the spotlight. Uh, "Some fresh-sown moonstone was messin' with his frozen zone". That was if you were in the stands, the YMCA had a little basketball court, and the stands, in the far corner of the stands there was always something, uh, slightly shady going on, you know. Uh, "to remind him of the feeling of romance", very necessary.

Uh, "Blinded by the light", here comes the chorus. "Some silicone sister with her manager's mister", possibly, uh, the first reference to a female breast enhancement in popular music. Uh... so I was ahead of my game, I know. Uh... so "I'll turn you on, sonny, to something strong if you'll play that song with the funky break", which is my business. "And Go-cart Mozart checkin' out the weather chart to see if it was safe to go outside", uh "And little Early-Pearly came by in her curly-wurly and asked me if I needed a ride", that's self-explanatory. (chuckles) "Some hazard from Harvard was skunked on beer", well that was sort of the day, this was 1972 which was just still the sixties in New Jersey and it was kind of this old campus radical thing, and, so that found its way in. "Scotland Yard was trying hard", the F.B.I. "sent some dude with a calling card", the undercover agents, "said, 'do what you like, but don't do it here', jumped up, turned around, spit in the air, fell on the ground", uh, "Asked him which was the way back home, said, 'Take a right at the light, keep goin' straight until night, and then boys you're on your own'", which I was. Is that clear? Alright (chuckles).

By now the rhyming dictionary is in flames. It's, it's getting, it's hot in my hand, you know, (mumbles) it's burning up. "In Zanzibar a shootin' star was ridin' in a side car hummin' a lunar tune, avatar said, 'Blow the bar'", once again campus radicals "first remove the cookie jar", don't blow up the money, "we're gonna teach those boys to laugh too soon, some kidnapped handicap was complainin' that he caught the clap", a little road experience unfortunately, "from some mousetrap he bought last night, I unsnapped his skull cap, between his ears I saw a gap and figured he'd be all right", don't over-think the whole thing (chuckles), which I didn't do on this. Don't over-think the whole thing.

So, really uh... Oh! The best line! This line, the line that makes the whole song, "Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun", uh, "but mama that's where the fun is". And, uh, that was where, that was where I wanted to go. I wanted to get blinded by the light, I wanted to, uh, do things I hadn't done and see things I hadn't seen. I was twenty-three years old, I wanted to create my own ridiculous language and, uh... So it was really, uh, a young musician's tale, kinda of a litany of, of adventures, and it was rather on the ??? Wasn't hit though, maybe I should've changed that word, so (chuckles).


Info

The above lyrics are for the live 04 Apr 2005 performance of BLINDED BY THE LIGHT at Rechnitz Theater in Red Bank, NJ, during the taping of Bruce Springsteen's episode of VH1's Storytellers television series. Springsteen played the song solo on acoustic guitar then dissected it line by line discussing the song's meaning and origin. This performance of BLINDED BY THE LIGHT was included on Springsteen's VH1 Storytellers DVD release.

Bruce Springsteen performing BLINDED BY THE LIGHT during the 04 Apr 2005 show at Rechnitz Theater, Red Bank, NJ (from the "VH1 Storytellers" DVD)
Bruce Springsteen performing BLINDED BY THE LIGHT during the 04 Apr 2005 show at Rechnitz Theater, Red Bank, NJ (from the "VH1 Storytellers" DVD)

The 04 Apr 2005 Show

Storytellers is a television music series produced by the VH1 network. In each episode artists perform in front of a mostly small and intimate live audience, and tell stories about their music, writing experiences and memories, somewhat similar to MTV Unplugged. The show started in 1996, and since then many of the performances have subsequently been released on CD or DVD.

Bruce Springsteen was booked on 04 Apr 2005 for the taping of an episode of VH1's Storytellers, as part of the promotion for his upcoming Devils & Dust album release later that month. The taping took place at Rechnitz Theater, the larger of two theaters housed in the newly opened Two River Theater building in Red Bank, NJ. Springsteen played a set of eight songs on guitar and piano. He sang and dissected his songs for meaning, sometimes line by line. A question and answer session with contest-winning audience members closed the night. The setlist selection, he later revealed, was driven by a desire to showcase the different types, styles, and moods of his songs from each stage of his career.

Ticket stub for the 04 Apr 2005 show at Rechnitz Theater, Red Bank, NJ
Ticket stub for the 04 Apr 2005 show at Rechnitz Theater, Red Bank, NJ

  1. DEVILS & DUST
  2. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
  3. BRILLIANT DISGUISE
  4. NEBRASKA (two takes)
  5. JESUS WAS AN ONLY SON (two takes)
  6. WAITIN' ON A SUNNY DAY
  7. THE RISING (two takes)
  8. THUNDER ROAD (two takes)
  9. Q&A session

An edited form of the concert aired on VH1 on 23 Apr 2005. An expanded and completely re-edited version (but not the complete show) was officially released on 06 Sep 2005 on DVD. The release, titled VH1 Storytellers, has one version of each song and part of the full Q&A session.

Bruce Springsteen -- VH1 Storytellers (DVD cover art)
Bruce Springsteen -- VH1 Storytellers (DVD cover art)

Credits

Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.

Available Versions

List of available versions of BLINDED BY THE LIGHT on this website:

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Album version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 09 Jan 1973 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 02 Mar 1973 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 31 Oct 1973 (late show) version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 06 Jan 1974 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 07 Apr 1976 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 26 Jun 1993 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 22 Apr 1996 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 23 Oct 1999 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 18 Aug 2001 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 20 Feb 2003 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 06 Aug 2003 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 04 Apr 2005 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 25 Jun 2005 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 11 Nov 2006 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 19 Nov 2006 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 31 Jul 2008 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 22 Nov 2009 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Live 15 Apr 2014 version]
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT [Manfred Mann's Earth Band's cover version]

Page last updated: 01 Aug 2010