IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY

Live 07 Apr 1976 version


I had skin like leather and the diamond-hard look of a cobra
I was born blue and weathered but I burst just like a supernova
I could walk like Brando right into the sun
And dance like a Casanova
With my blackjack and jacket and hair slicked sweet
Silver star studs on my duds like a Harley in heat
When I strut down the street I could feel its heartbeat
Sisters fell back, said, "Don't that man look pretty"
The cripple on the corner cried out, "Nickels for your pity"
Them downtown boys sure talk gritty
And it's so hard to be a saint in the city

I was king of the alley, mama, I could talk some trash
Prince of the paupers, crowned downtown at the beggar's bash
The pimp's main prophet, I kept everything cool
Backstreet gambler with the luck to lose
When the heat came down, it was left on the ground
Devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street
Showin' me a hand I knew even the cops couldn't beat
I felt his hot breath on my neck as I dove into the heat
And it's hard to be a saint when you're just a boy!

And the sages of the subway sit just like the living dead
The tracks clack out the rhythm, their eyes fixed straight ahead
They ride the line of balance and hold on by just a thread
It's too hot in these tunnels, you get hit up by the heat
You get up to get out at your next stop, they push you back down in your seat
Your heart starts beatin' faster as you struggle to your feet
You're out of that hole and back up on the street

Them south side sisters sure look pretty
The cripple on the corner cries out, "Nickels for your pity"
Them downtown boys sure talk gritty
And it's hard to be a saint in the city
So hard, sir

Now!


Info

The above lyrics are for the live 07 Apr 1976 performance of IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY at Allen Theatre in Cleveland, OH, during the so-called Chicken Scratch Tour. The song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement.

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.

The 07 Apr 1976 Show

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.

Ticket stub for the 07 Apr 1976 show at Allen Theatre, Cleveland, OH
Ticket stub for the 07 Apr 1976 show at Allen Theatre, Cleveland, OH
(Taken from Brucebase)

  1. NIGHT
  2. TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT
  3. SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
  4. IT'S MY LIFE
  5. THUNDER ROAD
  6. SHE'S THE ONE
  7. BORN TO RUN
  8. INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET
  9. FRANKIE
  10. BACKSTREETS
  11. GROWIN' UP
  12. IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY[/SONG]
  13. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
  14. JUNGLELAND
  15. ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)
  16. 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY)
  17. DETROIT MEDLEY
  18. QUARTER TO THREE

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.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Gap Year Broadcast
Bruce Springsteen -- The Gap Year Broadcast

2xCD - Sonic Boom (SON0345) - UK, 2017

This release contains the 07 Apr 1976 show at Allen Theatre.

Credits

Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.

Available Versions

List of available versions of IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY on this website:

IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Album version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Unedited studio version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Unofficial studio version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [03 May 1972 demo version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 31 Jul 1973 (late show) version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 23 Nov 1974 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 05 Feb 1975 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 02 Oct 1975 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 18 Nov 1975 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 07 Apr 1976 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 25 Mar 1977 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 07 Jul 1978 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 08 Dec 1978 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 01 Jan 1979 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 14 Sep 1981 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 26 Nov 1996 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 20 Jun 2000 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 07 Mar 2003 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 03 Aug 2005 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 22 Nov 2005 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 28 Jul 2008 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 22 Nov 2009 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 26 Feb 2014 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [Live 25 Feb 2016 version]
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [David Bowie's cover version]

Page last updated: 18 Jan 2016