Album version

For fifteen years Le Bin Son fought side by side with the Americans
In the mountains and deltas of Vietnam
In '75 Saigon fell and he left his command
And brought his family to the promised land

Seabrook, Texas and the small towns in the Gulf of Mexico
It was delta country and reminded him of home
He worked as a machinist, put his money away and bought a shrimp boat with his cousin
And together they harvested Galveston Bay
In the morning 'fore the sun come up he'd kiss his sleeping daughter
Steer out through the channel and cast his nets into the water

Billy Sutter fought with Charlie Company in the highlands of Quang Tri
He was wounded in the battle of Chu Lai, shipped home in '68
There he married and worked the gulf fishing grounds in a boat that'd been his father's
In the morning he'd kiss his sleeping son and cast his nets into the water

Billy sat in front of his TV as the South fell and the communists rolled into Saigon
He and his friends watched as the refugees came, settled on the same streets and worked the coast they'd grew up on
Soon in the bars around the harbor was talk of America for Americans
Someone said "You want 'em out, you got to burn 'em out." and brought in the Texas Klan

One humid Texas night there were three shadows on the harbor come to burn the Vietnamese boats into the sea
In the fire's light shots rang out, two Texans lay dead on the ground, Le stood with a pistol in his hand
A jury acquitted him in self-defense as before the judge he did stand
But as Le walked down the courthouse steps, Billy said, "My friend you're a dead man."

One late summer night Le stood watch along the waterside
Billy stood in the shadows, his K-bar knife in his hand and the moon slipped behind the clouds
Le lit a cigarette, the bay was still as glass
As he walked by Billy stuck his knife into his pocket, took a breath and let him pass
In the early darkness Billy rose up, went into the kitchen for a drink of water
Kissed his sleeping wife, headed into the channel and cast his nets into the water of Galveston Bay



GALVESTON BAY is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and released on his 1995 album The Ghost Of Tom Joad. The above lyrics are for Bruce Springsteen's album version of GALVESTON BAY as released in 1995.

Composition and Recording


The Ghost Of Tom Joad

Following the Jan-Feb 1995 studio reunion with the E Street Band and the release of Greatest Hits, Bruce Springsteen writing activity increased significantly. Between March and September 1995, Springsteen wrote and recorded about two-albums worth of new songs. From the scattered comments made by Springsteen and other session participants, it would seem that over an album's worth of solo material and over an album's worth of band material were recorded during these sessions. The Ghost Of Tom Joad album consist of 7 solo tracks and 5 band tracks. The songs Springsteen recorded solo may have spanned the entire session period and the band sessions appear to have been split into two or three phases during the spring and summer of 1995.

In his 1998 book Songs, Springsteen wrote: "I knew that The Ghost of Tom Joad wouldn't attract my largest audience. But I was sure the songs on it added up to a reaffirmation of the best of what I do. The record was something new, but it was also a reference point to the things I tried to stand for and be about as a songwriter.

The Ghost Of Tom Joad was released on Columbia Records on 21 Nov 1995. It was produced by Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1997.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Ghost Of Tom Joad
Bruce Springsteen -- The Ghost Of Tom Joad

The Ghost Of Tom Joad features 12 new Springsteen compositions and clocks at 50:16.

Other Official Releases


Bruce Springsteen -- King's Hall, Belfast March 19, 1996
The live 19 Mar 1996 version of GALVESTON BAY was released on the King's Hall, Belfast March 19, 1996 official live download in 2017.

Live History: on-tour


Live History: off-tour




As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's GALVESTON BAY.

Available Versions

List of available versions of GALVESTON BAY on this website:

GALVESTON BAY [Album version]

Page last updated: 27 Feb 2017