DON'T BACK DOWN

Studio version 1


Two, one two three

When the night winds rustle the far away leaves
Rolling down the Conna valley through the cottonwood trees
And the white river rises with last season's rains
I awake in the darkness and I call your name

Don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down

Baby, don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down

I lie awake and I know that sleep won't come soon
So I watch the headlights crawl up and down the wall of the lonesome room
Think of that club by the river where we danced on and on
We swore our love would last forever and you laughed on and on

Don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down

Yeah, come on, I wanna weep but I'm broke inside and the tears won't run
I want to sleep but there ain't no dream and the sleep won't come

Last night I stood on Black Mountain and looked out to the sea
Where the waters of Mystery River go rushing endlessly
And the love we swore would last as long as the waters roared on
I woke in the darkness, it was gone, gone, gone

Don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down

Baby, don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down

Baby, don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
Don't back down on our love
[fades out]


Info

DON'T BACK DOWN is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and was planned for release as a B-side in 1983 had an album seen the light that year. See the "Unreleased 1982 and 1983 Albums" section below for more details.

The above lyrics are for a rock-flavored version of DON'T BACK DOWN, recorded sometime between mid-January and mid-February 1983 at Thrill Hill West, Springsteen's home studio in Los Angeles, CA. This version was released on The Lost Masters Vol. 18 (Labour Of Love) bootleg.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Lost Masters Vol. 18 (Labour Of Love)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Lost Masters Vol. 18 (Labour Of Love)

Circulating Studio Versions

There are eleven studio versions of DON'T BACK DOWN in circulation, all recorded sometime between mid-January and mid-February 1983 at Thrill Hill West, Springsteen's home studio in Los Angeles, CA. Springsteen recorded more than an album's worth of songs by himself during this period. He played all the instruments himself, with the help of a drum machine only, and overdubbing to create the final product.

All these versions are complete takes, except for studio version 5 which is cut. See each version for more details.

A brief home demo of DON'T BACK DOWN is also in circulation. It was recorded at Springsteen's home in Colts Neck, NJ, sometime between mid-September 1981 and May 1982.

Unreleased 1982 and 1983 Albums

Bruce Springsteen recorded a bulk of solo demoes at his Colts Neck, NJ home studio in early January 1982. His intention was to demonstrate them to The E Street Band when they enter the studio later that month so that the recording sessions for their next album would progress faster. These studio sessions came to a halt in May when Springsteen decided to release Nebraska, an album consisting of the original solo demoes without the band treatment.

For the next month or two the focus turned to overseeing final preparations of Nebraska. However, Springsteen had already made up his mind that a few of the January home demoes should be on an E Street Band album, in addition to some more songs he recorded with the band when they were in studio. Mixing of the band material continued through June, alongside the Nebraska tracks. In fact, Springsteen even considered putting both albums out as a double record. "I had these two extremely different recording experiences going," Springsteen told Mark Hagen in an interview for Mojo magazine published in January 1999. "I was going to put them out at the same time as a double record. I didn't know what to do."

In his 2012 book E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Clinton Heylin revealed that the track sequence for the band album was compiled (see list below). These tracks were all recorded with the E Street Band between January and May 1982 at The Power Station and The Hit Factory in New York City, NY.

Side 1:

  • BORN IN THE U.S.A.
  • MURDER INCORPORATED (spelled "Murder Inc.")
  • DOWNBOUND TRAIN
  • I'M GOIN DOWN (titled "Down Down Down")
  • GLORY DAYS
  • MY LOVE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN (titled "My Love")

Side 2:

  • WORKING ON THE HIGHWAY
  • DARLINGTON COUNTY
  • FRANKIE
  • I'M ON FIRE
  • THIS HARD LAND

In early October 1982, soon after the release of Nebraska, Springsteen moved to Los Angeles where he spent much of the following five months. He had recording engineer Mike Batlan install a home recording studio at his house in Los Angeles where he recorded more than an album's worth of songs over the early months of 1983, playing all the instruments himself except for a drum machine.

According to Brucebase, Springsteen has mentioned that sometime in early 1983 he also gave consideration to releasing the best of the Los Angeles home studio recordings as a thematic follow-up to Nebraska. This album concept is not known to have ever been given a working title because Springsteen quickly abandoned the concept.

A document from around March 1983 reveals that at the time Springsteen briefly considered releasing an album tentatively titled "Murder Incorporated" and consisting of eleven tracks. The document also lists six additional tracks that apparently were selected for B-sides. All these tracks were cut during two phases of recording sessions, the early 1982 sessions with the band and the early 1983 solo sessions.

Album:

  • BORN IN THE U.S.A.
  • MURDER INCORPORATED (spelled "Murder Inc.")
  • DOWNBOUND TRAIN
  • GLORY DAYS
  • THIS HARD LAND (titled "Hard Land")
  • MY LOVE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN (titled "My Love")
  • JOHNNY BYE-BYE (titled "Bye Bye Johnny")
  • FRANKIE
  • I'M GOIN DOWN (titled "Down Down Down")
  • WORKING ON THE HIGHWAY (spelled "Workin' on the Highway")
  • I'M ON FIRE (written between parentheses)

B-sides:

Springsteen disregarded the album and opted for another round of recording session. These sessions took place between April and June 1983 at The Hit Factory in New York City, NY, and featured the E Street Band, apparently minus Steven Van Zandt who was busy at the time recording his second solo album and touring with his own group. Following this third phase of recording sessions major mixing sessions took place and some in CBS were talking of a possible of a pre-Christmas release. In his book, Clinton Heylin revealed a track sequence for a band album that was compiled on 26-27 Jul 1983 (see list below). This new track sequence comprised of three songs carried over from the 1982 sequence, four from the early 1983, sessions and five from the recent E Street Band sessions.

Side 1:

  • BORN IN THE U.S.A.
  • CYNTHIA
  • NONE BUT THE BRAVE
  • DROP ON DOWN AND COVER ME
  • SHUT OUT THE LIGHT
  • JOHNNY BYE-BYE

Side 2:

As had been the case in March, Springsteen disregarded the album again and opted for another round of recording session. This final round was scattered from autumn 1983 to the early months of 1984.

Live History

As far as it's known, Bruce Springsteen has never performed DON'T BACK DOWN live.

Covers

As far as it's known, only one artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's DON'T BACK DOWN.

Graziano Romani -- Soul Crusader: The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen
Graziano Romani -- Soul Crusader: The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen

CD - Freedom Rain (FREED-001) - Italy, 2001

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.

References

Some of the above info about the studio recordings is taken from Brucebase.

Request

The above lyrics may not be 100% correct. If you have any corrections, additions, or comments, please contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.

Available Versions

List of available versions of DON'T BACK DOWN on this website:

DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 1]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 2]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 3]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 4]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 5]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 6]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 7]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 8]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 9]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 10]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Studio version 11]
DON'T BACK DOWN [Home demo]

Page last updated: 13 Jun 2015