Live 05 Jul 1978 version
[Spoken Intro:] Professor!
I remember, ah, one night, I was, I was coming in kinda late. And, uh, my father used to wait for me every night in the kitchen. You know? And, uh, he'd just be sitting there in the dark, you know, have a six pack of beer, be drinking it, waiting for me to come in, you know. And I remember I come in, slick my hair back real tight so it didn't look too long, and uh, he said, "Bruce, sit down, I wanna talk to you for a while." So I sit down, you know. And we start talking. And then we'd start yelling at each other. And pretty soon we'd be like "he" but not "we". He would be chasing me around the kitchen table, you know? I never made it into the dining room to be chased around the dining room table, it was always like, I got in the first room, he'd chase me around the table, I'd run out the screen door, run outside, back out the street. And uh, I still don't know what the living room looks like in the house (chuckles). But I'm sure it was very nice (chuckles). But one night I was out, you know, I was feeling a little bummed out, I was feeling down, and uh, looked up in the sky, saw this star I never saw before. And for just one moment, I remember it didn't last long, but for just one, one second...
I stood stone-like at midnight suspended in my masquerade
And I combed my hair till it looked just right and commanded the night brigade
I was open to pain and crossed by the rain, I walked on a crooked crutch
I strode all alone into a fallout zone and came out with my soul untouched
Well I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Well the flag of piracy flew from my mast, my sails were set wing to wing
Well I had a jukebox graduate for first mate, she wouldn't sail but she sure could sing
Well I pushed B-52, bombed 'em with the blues, my gear set stubborn on standing
Well I broke all the rules, strafed my old high school, never once gave thought to landing
Hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "come down" I threw up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Big Man, please!
[Spoken:] And, the other night, we went down and, uh, we saw the Buddy Holly Story. Just the other night. It was funny because I could never picture Buddy Holly moving. You know, it was like, it was always like, uh, like James Dean he was in the movies. So he was moving, you know? (chuckles) But Buddy Holly, I always used to have a picture of him like standing there, you know. With the old bowtie and the guitar. So, I liked the picture 'cause it made him a lot more, lot real, a lot more real for me, you know, made him lot more human for me and... And it was funny 'cause there was always this one scene in the movie that must've happened to everybody that played the guitar, did anything that they ever wanted to do against, you know, their parents didn't want 'em to. They're sitting at the kitchen table, and uh, his mother's going "Bobby, that guitar is okay for a hobby, but, you know, you really oughta think about doing something serious, you know." (chuckles) And like (chuckles), you know, that's what my mother and my mother and my sister they used to say to me. As I remember for the first, first two years I played guitar, my father could never even figure out what kind of guitar I was playing. You know, he used to like, he didn't know it was a Fender guitar or a Gibson. To him it was just a goddamn guitar. That's how he used to refer to it. His head stick in, "turn down that goddamn guitar," you know. He must've thought that everything in my room was the same make. He says "turn down that goddamn radio, take that goddamn record off that goddamn stereo." You know, "get up off that goddamn bed". How God could damn so many things in my room I could never figure out. But that was, he was always funny like that, you know, and it was like... I remember it was getting, it was getting late, you know, I was, I think I was 18 or something, and they were saying, "Listen, you gotta start thinking about doing something serious with yourself. The guitar is okay for a hobby but, but you need something to fall back on. You can do it on the weekends. You know, I think there's people in my office, they..." My mother'd say, "There's people in my office, they play on the weekends, why can't you?" So, I said, "Well listen. You just better, what you should do..." My mother was very Italian, and uh, and still is. (chuckles) She says, "Well you should," (chuckles) you know, and, "So what you should do, is you gotta go talk to the priest. You go down to the, the rectory. I'm gonna call up Father Ray. You talk to the priest, you have a serious discussion about your future with him." I go, "Ah, okay, okay." Because my mom wanted me to, no... My father wanted me to be a lawyer, and my mother wanted me to be an author. And they said, "Now, you go down and you talk to him about that, but you don't tell him nothing about that goddamn guitar." So I said, "Okay, okay, okay." So I went down to the rectory, you know, rang the bell, said, "Hey, Father Ray", you know? In big trouble. (chuckles). So he comes out, it was a nice summer day, we were walking around. And I was telling him, you know, "My mother wants me to be a lawyer, my father wants me to be a doctor, I like to play this guitar." He says, "Well, this is a lifelong decision. I don't really feel qualified to make this. You better talk to God about this. I'm gonna send you direct to the Big Man, number one," it's like (chuckles) Number two, it's like (chuckles), it's like. "I'm gonna send you direct to the Big Man. You tell him about being a lawyer or an author," but he said, "but don't you tell him nothing about that guitar." I said, "Okay, okay, fine." So I used to spend some time, I used to try to think of what I'm gonna talk to God, where am I gonna talk to him. I can't talk to him in my bedroom because I don't know him that well, I don't go to church too much, it's too intimate. Can't talk to him in church, figured I'd would let him get out of the house for a while. So me and Big Man, number one or two, this is alright (chuckles). He says, "Listen, you come with me in the car, we'll take you out to this place called Crematory Hill which is supposed to be this Indian burial ground, and at night it's real dark down there, real peaceful, you can go up on the hill, you can talk to God, you can get it straight." I said, "Okay". So we drove out there, and, he didn't tell me that it was like right next to the graveyard. It's midnight, spooky as hell. I go, "Big Man, I'm not gonna go up there at night." He says, "Go on, you're the Boss, go on, get up there. You're supposed to be so brave and tough." (chuckles) "Get up on the hill". So I said, "Okay". So up the hill I go and I'm shaking and I'm scared as it could be, it was real dark. And finally I find a nice little spot, and I kneel down, you know. I'm looking up and there's, see all the stars in the sky. And I say, "God, my mother, she wants me to be an author, write great books, or at least, dirty novels and stuff." (chuckles) "That's better than Rock 'N' Roll, she thinks." (chuckles) "Then my father, he wants me to be a lawyer 'cause he says that lawyers, they own the world. But I don't think they do, you know." And, and, it was real quiet, I said but, "And me, I got this guitar I like to play." And it was real quiet for a real long time, and then there was some thunder [Max pounds the drums], and then there was some lightning [Max pounds the drums], little bit of lightning, please [Max pounds the drums]... And all I heard was this big voice saying, "Let it rock!"
I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere, you know it's really hard to hold your breath
I swear I lost everything I ever loved or feared, I was the cosmic kid
My feet they finally took root in the earth, well I got me a nice little place in the stars
Well I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car
Hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I...
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
The above lyrics are for the live 05 Jul 1978 performance of GROWIN' UP at The Forum in Inglewood, CA, during the Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour. The song was played in a full-band, album-style arrangement, and featured a story in the break.
This show was filmed in part by KABC TV and there is also some silent super-8 footage that shows Springsteen playing a Fender Stratocaster instead of the usual Telecaster. An interview with Springsteen was carried out backstage after the show by reporter J. J. Jackson for Eye Witness News. Ten minutes of this interview were broadcast on 07 Jul 1978.
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help. Info about the 05 Jul 1978 show is taken from Brucebase.
List of available versions of GROWIN' UP on this website:GROWIN' UP [Album version]