Live 07 Apr 1976 version
Spanish Johnny drove in from the underworld last night
With bruised arms and broken rhythm in a beat-up old Buick but dressed just like dynamite
He tried sellin' his heart to the hard girls over on Easy Street
They sighed, "Ah, Johnny, it falls apart so easy and you know hearts these days are cheap"
And the pimps swung their axes and said, "Johnny, you're a cheater"
And the pimps swung their axes and said, "Johnny, you're a liar"
And from out of the shadows came a young girl's voice, said, "Johnny!"
Said, "Johnny, don't cry"
And Johnny sighed, "Puerto Rican Jane, whoa, won't you tell me what's your name
I want to ride you down to the other side of town
Where paradise ain't so crowded, there'll be action goin' down on Shanty Lane tonight
All them golden-heeled fairies in a real bitch fight, pull thirty-eights and kiss the girls goodnight"
And Johnny sighed, "Goodnight, it's all right, Jane
Ah, let the black boys in to light the soul flame
We may find it out on the street tonight, baby
Or we may walk 'til the morning light, maybe"
Well, like a cool Romeo he made his move, she looked so fine
And like a late Juliet she knew he'd never be true, but she did not really mind
Upstairs the band was playin' and the singer was singin' something about going home
And she whispered, "Spanish Johnny, you can leave me tonight, but just don't leave me alone"
And Johnny sighed, "Puerto Rican Jane, word is down them cops have found the vein"
Them little barefoot boys left their homes for the woods
Them little barefoot street boys, they say homes ain't no good
They left the corners and they threw away all of their switchblade knives
And they kissed each other bye-bye
Johnny sat on the fire escape watchin' the kids playin' down in the street
He called down, "Hey, hey, little heroes, summer's long, but I guess it ain't so sweet around here no more"
Janey sleeps in sheets damp with sweat; Johnny sits up all night, watches her dreamin' on
And her sister breaks down in the chapel late at night after everybody's gone
Janey wakes up, moves over to share her pillow, but she sees Johnny up and out of bed and putting his clothes on
She sighs, "Them romantic young boys, all they ever want to do is fight"
Them romantic young boys, they call in the window:
"Hey, Johnny, why don't you come on out and make a little easy money tonight?"
And Johnny sighed, "Goodnight, it's all tight, Jane
I swear I'll meet you tomorrow night
The above lyrics are for the live 07 Apr 1976 performance of INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET at Allen Theatre in Cleveland, OH, during the so-called Chicken Scratch Tour. The song was played in in a full-band version, closer to the album arrangement than The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour full-band arrangement, but "rockier". The tail end of the audio recording of INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET from this particular performance is clipped.
This tour (35 know dates, March to May 1976) was nicknamed the "Chicken Scratch Tour" by the road crew because of the high proportion of secondary markets in the South.
During the so-called Chicken Scratch Tour, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performed two consecutive shows at Allen Theatre in Cleveland, OH, on 07 and 08 Apr 1976. Soundboard recordings for both concert are in circulation among collectors. The recording from the second night is incomplete, but the one from the second night is complete and is of higher quality.
The 07 Apr 1976 show at Allen Theatre was commercially released in Europe. Since 2005 some enterprising record labels in Europe (mostly in the UK) have been releasing Bruce Springsteen radio and TV broadcasts (and some soundboard recordings) from the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Though these releases are not authorized by Bruce Springsteen or his record company, they are lawful due to a legal loophole in Europe.
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.
List of available versions of INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET on this website:INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Album version]