Live Aug 1972 version
[Spoken intro:] This first song that I would like to do, is a song about being new in town. Now everybody's been new in town, once, or twice. And uh... that's what this next song's about, I think.
Well they broke your toys this morning, Henry, rode your ford right into dust
Surrounded you with strangers who you could not trust
And then they had the gall
To write your name up on the girl's room wall
And send you out to Maria who spoke of babies and all
And she wanted to shoot your joy
Well it's a hard world when you're the new kid in town, ain't it, Henry Boy
Well now the North side is for diamond-studded women subtly selling their wares
And the West side is for debutantes and would be millionaires
The East side is for lost boys who know their moves too well
The South side that's for gamblers, Henry, the train stops once for hell
It's a hard world when you're forced to live out on Broadway
But Henry I think you're gonna like it well
And now the constellation she points to gate eleven, man that's where you got your connections
Whoa let me take a look inside my magic book, I don't think you're beyond my inventions
These doctor's appendages I'm giving you for wings, I'm sure they'll meet the occasion
I'm gonna mix you some magic, you'll be spittin' sparks and ready for the invasion
'Cause now the Milky Way's a trip for dippers, saw you coming a mile away
In the amusement park you'll get clipped by rippers hiding behind candy 'cades
In the alley you're gonna get ripped by strippers all who know your name
In the stalls stand out the soldier-boy kissers on leave for just a day
And Henry he can't take it, he's gonna be a submariner riding underground for the Pope
Stands on the corner of Broadway in Fourty Second, and screams "Up 'scope"
The above lyrics are for a live August 1972 performance of HENRY BOY at Max's Kansas City in New York City, NY. The song is performed solo on acoustic guitar.
Bruce Springsteen was booked for a 6-nights/12-shows (two shows each night) residency at Max's Kansas City in New York City, NY, from 09 to 14 Aug 1972. The shows were triple bills, with the bottom-billed Bruce Springsteen (solo) opening for headliner Dave Van Ronk and the second-billed folk stylist Doris Abrahams. Each of Bruce's shows was limited to about 30 minutes / 3-to-5 songs. These were Springsteen's first series of "official" public performances after signing with Columbia Records, although there was absolutely no CBS-sponsored promotion of the event.
The club's earliest promotional material for this residency only mentions Dave Van Ronk and not the two then-unknown acts. A later advertisement mentions Van Ronk and Abrahams, but not Springsteen. However an ad from the middle of the residency mentions Bruce Springsteen. It is likely that Bruce was a last-minute addition to the billing but performed at all the shows.
Springsteen's inclusion on the bill may have been arranged by John Hammond, a good friend of Van Ronk. Springsteen has briefly mentioned opening for Van Ronk, with his most well known comments coming during the 1990 Christic Benefit gigs. Shortly before Van Ronk died he also acknowledged letting Bruce open for him during his 1972 residency at Max's Kansas City; these wese Van Ronk's only appearances at the club in 1972. Promoter Victor "Igor" Wasylczenko has commented to Brucebase that he attended one of these Van Ronk dates, Bruce definitely was the opener, and he ended up giving Bruce a ride home to Asbury Park after the show (they lived near each other at the time).
Definitely one, probably two, and possibly several of Springsteen's shows during this residency were audio and video recorded in their entirety, utilizing the club's in-house video camera. It is believed the recording was carried out at the bequest of Columbia who wanted footage of Springsteen for potential promotional use.
Very brief audio-video excerpts of both HENRY BOY and GROWIN' UP from one of the 12 shows during this August 1972 residency at Max's Kansas City first surfaced on the 1990 documentary John Hammond: From Bessie Smith To Bruce Springsteen. The documentary was first broadcast via PBS stations across the United States on 20 Aug 1990 and was subsequently released on VHS and LaserDisc (see the "Official Releases" section below).
The complete audio-video of both songs has since leaked out and is now in circulation among collectors. These complete takes represent what was originally supplied to the Hammond film producers by CBS. The producers were only allowed to use brief excerpts of the two songs in the documentary and were not supplied any footage of the rest of the show. HENRY BOY is the opening song of Springsteen's show and GROWIN' UP is the closing song. The remainder of the show (probably only a couple of more songs) exists in CBS's vault but has never surfaced.
The John Hammond: From Bessie Smith To Bruce Springsteen documentary, which includes excerpts of Bruce Springsteen's live Aug 1972 versions of HENRY BOY and GROWIN' UP and an edit of his live 23 Oct 1987 version of FOREVER YOUNG, was released on VHS and LaserDisc in 1990.
Most of the above info about Springsteen's 6-nights residency at Max's Kansas City is taken from Brucebase.
The John Hammond: From Bessie Smith To Bruce Springsteen was also released on VHS in the UK and Japan. If you have these two releases (or scans of them), or any other release of this documentary not mentioned on this page, please contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.
List of available versions of HENRY BOY on this website:HENRY BOY [Official studio version]