JACKSON CAGE

Album version


Oh, oh
Oh, yeah!
Whoa, yeah

Driving home she grabs something to eat
Turns a corner and drives down her street
Into a row of houses she just melts away
Like the scenery in another man's play
Into a house where the blinds are closed
To keep from seeing things she don't wanna know
She pulls the blinds and looks out on the street
Where the cool of the night takes the edge off the heat

In the Jackson Cage
Down in the Jackson Cage
And you can try with all your might
But you're reminded every night
That you been judged and handed life
Down in the Jackson Cage

Every day ends in wasted motion
Just crossed swords on the killing floor
To settle back is to settle without knowing
The hard edge that you're settling for
Because there's always just one more day
And it's always gonna be that way
Little girl, you've been down here so long
I can tell by the way that you move you belong

To the Jackson Cage
Down in Jackson Cage
And it don't matter just what you say
Are you tough enough to play the game they play?
Or will you just do your time and fade away
Down into the Jackson Cage?

(Yeah!)
Let's go!

Baby, there's nights when I dream of a better world
But I wake up so downhearted, girl
I see you feeling so tired and confused
I wonder what it's worth to me or you
Just waiting to see some sun
Never knowing if that day will ever come
Left alone standing out on the street
Till you become the hand that turns the key

Down in Jackson Cage
Down in Jackson Cage
Well, darlin', can you understand
The way that they will turn a man
Into a stranger to waste away
Down in the Jackson Cage


Info

JACKSON CAGE is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and released on his 1980 album The River. The above lyrics are for Bruce Springsteen's album version of JACKSON CAGE as released in 1980.

Some of this song's lyrics can be found in the early-1980 home demo WHITE TOWN.

JACKSON CAGE is considered a live rarity. It was occasionally performed during The River Tour but then disappeared for Springsteen's repertoire for two decades before reappearing during The Rising Tour. See the "Live History" section below for more details.

Circulating Takes

Five takes of JACKSON CAGE are in circulation:

  • An acoustic home demo snippet recorded in Sep-Dec 1979 at Springsteen's home in Holmdel, NJ. See the home demo for more details.
  • A brief snippet that features Springsteen singing over an 11 Jan 1980 band rehearsal of RESTLESS NIGHT. See the vocal snippet for more details.
  • Two 05 Feb 1980 band rehearsal workouts at the Telegraph Hill Road property. See band rehearsal #1 and band rehearsal #2 for more details.
  • The take that was eventually released on The River. It was recorded at The Power Station in February or March 1980.

The River

Bruce Springsteen wrapped up the Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour on the first day of 1979. For the next few months, he altered between composing and practicing solo demos at his home in Holmdel, NJ (between January and June 1979), rehearsing with the band at his Telegraph Hill Road property in Holmdel, NJ (between March and May 1979), and recording in studio at The Power Station in New York City, NY (from March to late August 1979).

By the end of August, enough quality material had been recorded at The Power Station, and it was looking like an album might be released in Christmas 1979. A title, "The Ties That Bind", and tracks were selected and wheels put in motion to produce artwork for the cover. Around September, at least ten tracks were mixed to completion. On 04 Oct 1979, the ten selected tracks were dubbed to two half-track reel-to-reel tapes at The Power Station, and labeled "side one" and "side two". The producer was Jon Landau and the engineers were Neil Dorfsman and Bob Clearmountain. These selected tracks were as follows:


Bruce Springsteen -- The Ties That Bind (reel #1, front)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Ties That Bind (reel #1, front)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Ties That Bind (reel #2, front)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Ties That Bind (reel #2, front)

Mock covers with "The Ties That Bind" title were roughed out early in the planning. The cover shot was to be a picture of Bruce Springsteen in front of a barn, with the back cover being a shot of his face behind a screen door. In late September 1979, and for reasons never fully explained, The Ties That Bind album was scrapped as Springsteen's writing process continued.

A second phase of recording sessions was scheduled. Again, for the next few months, Springsteen altered between composing and practicing solo demos at his home in Holmdel, NJ (between September 1979 and February 1980), rehearsing with the band at his Telegraph Hill Road property in Holmdel, NJ (between September 1979 and February 1980), and recording in studio at The Power Station in New York City, NY (from October 1979 to June 1980).

The combined sessions from March 1979 to June 1980 produced the double album The River that was eventually released in October 1980. The studio sessions to some extent extended into August 1980 due to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's involvement in the recording of Gary U.S. Bonds' album Dedication, which was released April 1981).

Bruce Springsteen -- The River
Bruce Springsteen -- The River

The album features 20 new Springsteen compositions and clocks at 83:47. It was produced by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, and Steven Van Zandt, engineered by Neil Dorfsman, and mixed by Bob Clearmountain, Chuck Plotkin, and Toby Scott. Track list:

According to recording engineer Neil Dorfsman, about 50 songs were recorded to a completed state during The River sessions. 20 were released on The River and 14 were released as B-sides and on official compilations. 14 songs are circulating via the unofficial route, but the majority of them are poor recordings of band rehearsals at the Telegraph Hill Road property, though it is likely that most of them exist as completed takes from The Power Station.

Other Official Releases

Other versions of JACKSON CAGE were also officially released.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Ties That Bind: The River Collection
The live 05 Nov 1980 version of JACKSON CAGE was released on The Ties That Bind: The River Collection box set in 2015.

Other Official Releases

live.brucespringsteen.net
Audio recordings for most High Hopes Tour shows were officially released on live.brucespringsteen.net. These include two versions of JACKSON CAGE.

  1. 12 Feb 2014 at Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide, Australia
  2. 26 Apr 2014 at Aaron's Amphitheatre At Lakewood, Atlanta, GA

Live History

JACKSON CAGE is known to have been performed 44 times during The River Tour (138 dates, October 1980 to September 1981). The song was played on every single show in the first two months (October and November) before becoming a rarity for the rest of the tour. The live 05 Nov 1980 version of JACKSON CAGE was released on the Arizona State University, Tempe 1980 official live download in 2015.

  1. 03 Oct 1980 at Chrisler Arena, Ann Arbor, MI
  2. 04 Oct 1980 at Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, OH
  3. 06 Oct 1980 at Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, OH
  4. 07 Oct 1980 at Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, OH
  5. 09 Oct 1980 at Cobo Arena, Detroit, MI
  6. 10 Oct 1980 at Uptown Theatre, Chicago, IL
  7. 11 Oct 1980 at Uptown Theatre, Chicago, IL
  8. 13 Oct 1980 at St. Paul Civic Center Arena, Saint Paul, MN
  9. 14 Oct 1980 at MECCA Arena, Milwaukee, WI
  10. 17 Oct 1980 at Kiel Opera House, St. Louis, MO
  11. 18 Oct 1980 at Kiel Opera House, St. Louis, MO
  12. 20 Oct 1980 at McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, CO
  13. 24 Oct 1980 at Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA
  14. 25 Oct 1980 at Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR
  15. 27 Oct 1980 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA
  16. 28 Oct 1980 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA
  17. 30 Oct 1980 at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA
  18. 31 Oct 1980 at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA
  19. 01 Nov 1980 at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA
  20. 03 Nov 1980 at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA
  21. 05 Nov 1980 at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  22. 08 Nov 1980 at Reunion Arena, Dallas, TX
  23. 09 Nov 1980 at University Of Texas, Austin, TX
  24. 11 Nov 1980 at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LO
  25. 14 Nov 1980 at The Summit, Houston, TX
  26. 15 Nov 1980 at The Summit, Houston, TX
  27. 20 Nov 1980 at Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, IL
  28. 23 Nov 1980 at Capital Centre, Largo, MD
  29. 24 Nov 1980 at Capital Centre, Largo, MD
  30. 27 Nov 1980 at Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
  31. 28 Nov 1980 at Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
  32. 30 Nov 1980 at Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
  33. 08 Dec 1980 at Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
  34. 12 Dec 1980 at Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT
  35. 29 Jan 1981 at Iowa State University, Ames, IA
  36. 01 Feb 1981 at St. Paul Civic Center Arena, Saint Paul, MN
  37. 16 Feb 1981 at Lakeland Civic Center, Lakeland, FL
  38. 30 May 1981 at Wembley Arena, London, England
  39. 04 Jun 1981 at Wembley Arena, London, England
  40. 08 Jun 1981 at Birmingham International Arena, Birmingham, England
  41. 05 Aug 1981 at Capital Centre, Largo, MD
  42. 11 Aug 1981 at Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI
  43. 24 Aug 1981 at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA
  44. 02 Sep 1981 at San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego, CA

JACKSON CAGE was sound-checked prior to the 25 Oct 1999 show in Oakland, CA, (as far as it's known) but it was not performed on any of The Reunion Tour's regular shows.

In preparation for The Rising Tour, JACKSON CAGE was performed during one of the tour's five public warm-up rehearsal shows that took place in July and August 2002 in Asbury Park and East Rutherford.

  1. 02 Aug 2002 at Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ (public rehearsal)

JACKSON CAGE was performed 7 times during The Rising Tour (120 dates, August 2002 to October 2003).

  1. 25 Sep 2002 at United Center, Chicago, IL
  2. 24 Oct 2002 at Globe Arena, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 27 Oct 2002 at Wembley Arena, London, England
  4. 10 Jun 2003 at Olympiastadion, Munich, Germany
  5. 22 Jun 2003 at Ullevi, Gothenburg, Sweden
  6. 21 Jul 2003 at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
  7. 06 Aug 2003 at PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA

JACKSON CAGE was sound-checked prior to the 10 May 2005 show in Saint Paul, MN, (as far as it's known) but it was not performed on any of the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour's regular shows.

JACKSON CAGE was performed 8 times during the Magic Tour (100 dates, October 2007 to August 2008).

  1. 05 Nov 2007 at The Palace Of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
  2. 12 Nov 2007 at Verizon Center, Washington, DC
  3. 18 Nov 2007 at TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA
  4. 26 Nov 2007 at Bizkaia Arena, Bilbao, Spain
  5. 02 Dec 2007 at SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany
  6. 04 Dec 2007 at Oslo Spektrum, Oslo, Norway
  7. 06 Mar 2008 at Blue Cross Arena At The War Memorial, Rochester, NY
  8. 16 Jun 2008 at LTU Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany

JACKSON CAGE was performed 5 times during the Working On A Dream Tour (83 dates, April to November 2009).

  1. 24 Apr 2009 at XL Center, Hartford, CT
  2. 19 May 2009 at Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
  3. 05 Jul 2009 at Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna, Austria
  4. 22 Aug 2009 at Comcast Center, Mansfield, MA
  5. 08 Nov 2009 at Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY (complete The River album performed)

JACKSON CAGE was performed 10 times during the Wrecking Ball Tour (133 dates, March 2012 to September 2013).

  1. 26 Mar 2012 at TD Garden, Boston, MA
  2. 04 Apr 2012 at Izod Center, East Rutherford, NJ
  3. 18 Jul 2012 at RDS Arena, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 14 Sep 2012 at Nationals Park, Washington, DC
  5. 25 Oct 2012 at XL Center, Hartford, CT
  6. 31 Oct 2012 at Blue Cross Arena At The War Memorial, Rochester, NY
  7. 31 Mar 2013 at Hanging Rock, Macedon, Australia
  8. 15 Jun 2013 at Wembley Stadium, London, England
  9. 05 Jul 2013 at Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany
  10. 20 Jul 2013 at King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland

JACKSON CAGE was performed twice during the High Hopes Tour (34 dates, January to May 2014). Audio recordings for most High Hopes Tour shows are officially available for purchase. See the live 12 Feb 2014 version for more details.

Covers

As far as it's known, only two artists have recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's JACKSON CAGE.

Various artists -- One Step Up / Two Steps Back: The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen
Various artists -- One Step Up / Two Steps Back: The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen

2xCD - The Right Stuff (7243 8 59780 2 9) - USA, 1997
2xCD - EMI (TOCP-50377/8) - Japan, 1997

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album. Disc 1 was reissued in 2000 as The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen. JACKSON CAGE is performed by John Wesley Harding. See John Wesley Harding's cover version for more details.
Sergio Gisbert -- Loose Ends: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen's 78-80 Era
Sergio Gisbert -- Loose Ends: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen's 78-80 Era

CD - no label (no catalog number) - Spain, 2014

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.

Credits / References

Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help. Some of the above info about the studio recording and the live performances is taken from Brucebase.

Available Versions

List of available versions of JACKSON CAGE on this website:

JACKSON CAGE [Album version]
JACKSON CAGE [Home demo]
JACKSON CAGE [Vocal snippet]
JACKSON CAGE [Band rehearsal #1]
JACKSON CAGE [Band rehearsal #2]
JACKSON CAGE [Live 12 Feb 2014 version]
JACKSON CAGE [John Wesley Harding's cover version]

Page last updated: 28 Dec 2015