Live 02 Oct 1985 version
[Spoken intro:] This is for the old fans out there tonight. Because, you see, once upon a time...
I stood stone-like at midnight suspended in my masquerade
I combed my hair till it looked just right and commanded the night brigade, hey!
I was open to pain and crossed by the rain, I walked on a crooked crutch
I strode all alone into a fallout zone, came out with my soul untouched
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up, yeah
Now the flag of piracy flew from my mast, my sails were set wing to wing
I had a jukebox graduate for first mate, she couldn't sail but she sure could sing
Well I pushed B-52, bombed 'em with the blues, with my gear set stubborn on standing
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!
On my school shoes!
Come on Big Man!
[Spoken:] Now there I was. I was still in high school, but I wasn't doing too good. I was doing bad in my studies and they sent me down to see the guidance counselor, and I walked in and he said, "Mr. Springsteen, what seems to be your problem?" So I said, "Well, Sir, it's like, you see, I don't have any interest in anything, I don't know what I want to do with myself, I don't care what's going on around me, I ain't got any faith, I don't have any hope in anything, I don't have any close interpersonal relationship with a member of the opposite sex, I don't have, uh..." He said, "Oh, that's, that's too big a problem, you better go home and talk to your folks about it." So I went home and I went in the kitchen and my Pop was in there and I said, "Pop, man, I got sent home from school, I been in a lot of trouble lately and, I really gotta talk to you about something. I don't know what's gonna happen with me, I don't, I don't have any interest in anything, I daydream in class all the time and I don't have any faith in anything, in myself, I don't have any hope in anything," and he said, "Will you get me another beer out of the icebox?" So that was it. I decided I was gonna do myself in. I was gonna end it all. I was gonna say, "Goodbye cruel world." Yeah! So I got out and I hitchhiked down to Asbury Park, I was gonna jump in the ocean and drown myself. I was sitting there on the boardwalk, contemplating the water temperature, when all of a sudden, in the distance, this big handsome dude came walking. He kind of sat down next to me, I started saying my prayers, but we kind of got talking. I was telling him all about my problems, then he started telling me all about his problems, then we cried on each other's shoulder for a while. But we decided that we'd make a good team and we became partners. That's right, that's right, that's right. [Clarence: That's right] And Clarence, he said that he knew a gypsy lady that could help us out with our troubles, so over to the gypsy we went. It was late at night, the boardwalk was deserted. We walked in. We paid our 2.50 each, I had to loan Clarence his 2.50, and she looked into the crystal ball and she said, "You boys are in a lot of trouble." Paid another 2.50. I didn't get it back yet, either. [chuckles] And we looked, she looked into the crystal ball and then she said, "You boys are gonna go on a real long trip. You're gonna seek out new forms of life. You're gonna explore new worlds. You're gonna go where no men have ever gone before, and stay twice as long, and have a lot of fun doing it too." And she gave us a map to the secret of the world and she said if we followed that map at midnight, we'd find the answers to all our troubles. So that night we got into Clarence's Oldsmobile and we started driving south down Route 9, south through the rain, down through Lakewood, down through Freehold, down through Toms River, and a hurricane hit, and then a tornado blew across the highway, and then a blizzard hit, and then a heat wave broke, and then the, the roof flew off the car, and then we got two flat tires, and then the fenders flew off, and then the engine block cracked, and then the carburetor went, and then the windows blew out, and then and then and then....the radio broke! You know what that's like! But there we were, on the side of this dark dirt road, and according to the map what we were looking for was just on the other side of those woods. So into the forest we went. It was spooky in there. There were sounds coming from all over the place, sounded like werewolves. Sounded like homicidal cows. Sounded like mad dogs barking. Sounded like the Jersey Devil out there! And, now, Big Man, I ain't ever heard of no killer beasts, like, in New Jersey or nothing, did you? No? I heard of, like, killer hamburgers, but I didn't know killer beasts. I think we're safe out here, don't you? Yeah. We're alright. I think I hear something behind us. I think I hear something behind us. I think I hear something behind us. Clarence, oh, Clarence. [Bruce and Clarence whimper] Whooa! And all of a sudden up behind us came these two big man-eating bears, but instead of jumping on us and making us their dinner, they were acting kind of friendly, and they said that they weren't mean, but that they were just lonely, and that they'd been out in the woods for a long time by themselves after they escaped from the circus 'cause they got tired of living in them cages, and they say that if we'd be their friends, that they'd help us find what we were looking for. And so back into the forest we went. And all of a sudden the clouds pulled away from the moon, and there in a clearing we saw the answer to our quest. And then we said goodbye to the bears for the last time. And as we stood there in the moonlight we knew that everything was gonna be alright, because, because, when we touched...
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
I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car
We hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "come down," we said...
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Yeah, yeah, yeah
[Spoken outro:] And it was bye-bye New Jersey; we were airborne!
And here we are tonight!
The above lyrics are for the live 02 Oct 1985 performance of GROWIN' UP at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, during the Born In The U.S.A. Tour. The song was played in a full-band, album-style arrangement, and featured a story in the break. This was the last date of the Born In The U.S.A. Tour.
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.
List of available versions of GROWIN' UP on this website:GROWIN' UP [Album version]