NEBRASKA

Album version


I saw her standing on her front lawn
Just twirling her baton
Me and her went for a ride, sir
And ten innocent people died

From the town of Lincoln, Nebraska
With a sawed off .410 on my lap
Through to the badlands of Wyoming
I killed everything in my path

I can't say that I'm sorry
For the things that we done
At least for a little while, sir
Me and her we had us some fun

Now the jury brought in a guilty verdict
And the judge he sentenced me to death
Midnight in a prison storeroom
With leather straps across my chest

Sheriff, when the man pulls that switch, sir
And snaps my poor head back
You make sure my pretty baby
Is sitting right there on my lap

They declared me unfit to live
Said into that great void my soul'd be hurled
They wanted to know why I did what I did
Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world


PAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Info

NEBRASKA is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and released on his 1982 album Nebraska. The above lyrics are for Bruce Springsteen's album version of NEBRASKA as released in 1982.

The album version of NEBRASKA was included on The Essential Bruce Springsteen (2003 edition) compilation album.

Studio Recording

SECTION NOT YET COMPLETED

Nebraska

Following The River Tour, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band were scheduled to start recording the next album in New York City in February 1982. Springsteen felt that the upcoming band studio sessions would progress faster than they had for his previous three albums if he first records finished demos and demonstrates them to the band. He decided to record multi-channel, professional sounding, finished demos of some songs he had written during the period.

To achieve his goal, Springsteen asked his guitar technician, Mike Batlan, in December 1981 to set up a recording facility in a spare room at his home in Colts Neck, NJ. Some modification work was done to the room making it more receptive to achieving a decent sound. Batlan purchased a Teac Tascom Series 144 4-track cassette recorder, two Shure SM57 microphones, and two microphone stands. The sound was mixed through an old Gibson Echoplex and an old Panasonic boom box acted as the mix-down deck.

The four-track cassette recorder that Bruce Springsteen used to record his famous Nebraska demo tape of January 1982
The four-track cassette recorder that Bruce Springsteen used to record his famous Nebraska demo tape of January 1982

Batlan told journalist David McGee, "Springsteen began organizing his work for Nebraska during the first week of December 1981 – that's when I was directed to buy the four-track... actual recording began on 17 or 18 December and ended around January 3." Some of the songs were recorded two or three times in slightly different arrangements. A cassette tape was compiled and edited at the end of the sessions, likely on 03 Jan 1982. It contained fourteen songs recorded during these late December 1981 / early January 1982 sessions plus what is almost certainly a live recording of a fifteenth song, JOHNNY BYE-BYE. It also included seven alternate takes and five alternate mixes. The first person to listen to the tape was Jon Landau. Two or three months later, Springsteen recorded two additional songs (MY FATHER'S HOUSE and THE BIG PAYBACK) at home on the same equipment – thus making a total of 17 different songs.

  1. NEBRASKA (released on Nebraska)
  2. ATLANTIC CITY (released on Nebraska)
  3. MANSION ON THE HILL (released on Nebraska)
  4. BORN IN THE U.S.A. (released on Tracks)
  5. JOHNNY 99 (released on Nebraska)
  6. DOWNBOUND TRAIN (unreleased)
  7. LOSIN' KIND (unreleased)
  8. STATE TROOPER (released on Nebraska)
  9. USED CARS (released on Nebraska)
  10. OPEN ALL NIGHT (released on Nebraska)
  11. PINK CADILLAC (unreleased)
  12. HIGHWAY PATROLMAN (released on Nebraska)
  13. REASON TO BELIEVE (released on Nebraska)
  14. CHILD BRIDE (unreleased)
  15. MY FATHER'S HOUSE (released on Nebraska)
  16. THE BIG PAYBACK (released as a B-side)
  17. JOHNNY BYE-BYE (unreleased live version)

The solo demo tape was never conceived to result in a commercially released album, as the songs were recorded by the E Street Band with multi-instrument arrangements, during what's known by fans as the "Electric Nebraska Sessions". It should be noted that most of the songs were not recorded in "rock" arrangements. Instead, Springsteen and Max Weinberg just added light percussion, or Roy Bittan added a synth pad.

During the E Street Band sessions it became apparent to Springsteen that a majority of these songs did not lend themselves well to a full band arrangement. He later wrote in his 1998 book Songs, "I went into the studio, brought in the band, rerecorded, remixed, and succeeded in making the whole thing worse." At one point he even went back into the studio with an acoustic guitar to try and re-record the songs solo, but the result lacked the atmosphere and feeling of isolation only found on the original home demos. According to Toby Scott, Springsteen handed him the original solo demo tape in April 1982 and asked him if it was possible to just master off the tape, with the intention to release some of the songs as a solo album. It took Scott a few weeks before eventually saying yes and in May a decision was taken to release a solo album ahead of the still-in-progress E Street Band album.

Most of the E Street Band arrangements of these songs were discarded and ten of the original solo demos from the tape were released on the Nebraska album. Max Weinberg revealed to Rolling Stone in June 2010 that the recording of the "Electric Nebraska Sessions" does exist. He said that "the E Street Band actually did record all of Nebraska and it was killing [...] It was all very hard-edged. As great as it was, it wasn't what Bruce wanted to release. There is a full band Nebraska album, all of those songs are in the can somewhere."

"Open All Night" and "January 3, 1982" were considered as titles for the album, but ultimately "Nebraska" was chosen. The album was produced by Bruce Springsteen and was commercially released on 20 Sep 1982 by Columbia Records.

Bruce Springsteen -- Nebraska
Bruce Springsteen -- Nebraska

Nebraska features 10 new Springsteen compositions and clocks at 40:50.

The Essential Bruce Springsteen

The Essential Bruce Springsteen is a compilation album released as part of Sony BMG'S (previously Sony Music Entertainment) series of "Essential" sets. According to Springsteen's liner notes comments, the collection was intended as an introduction to his music for new fans who attended shows on The Rising Tour.

The collection is fundamentally a 2-disc set (clocking at 153:37) compiling songs from all of Springsteen's studio albums to date plus his Live In New York City release. A 3-disc limited edition (clocking at 201:04) was also released. It includes a bonus third disc comprising of a selection of rarities and previously unreleased recordings.

The Essential Bruce Springsteen was released on 11 Nov 2003 on Columbia Records. It debuted and peaked at #14 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart where it spent 13 weeks. It also reached #28 on the UK Albums Chart. The album was awarded certified gold and platinum records by the RIAA on 16 Dec 2003.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Essential Bruce Springsteen (2003 edition)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Essential Bruce Springsteen (2003 edition)

The Essential Bruce Springsteen was reissued on 16 Oct 2015, this time as a 2-disc set (clocking at 156:25) with an updated track list, compiling songs from all of Springsteen's studio albums to date plus his Greatest Hits (1995 edition) collection. This 2015 reissue features remastered tracks not found in that form on other Springsteen releases.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Essential Bruce Springsteen (2015 edition)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Essential Bruce Springsteen (2015 edition)

Other Official Releases

SECTION NOT YET COMPLETED

Bruce Springsteen -- The Christic Shows, November 16 & 17, 1990
The live 16 Nov 1990 version of NEBRASKA was released on The Christic Shows, November 16 & 17, 1990 official live download in 2016.
Bruce Springsteen -- The Christic Shows, November 16 & 17, 1990
The live 17 Nov 1990 version of NEBRASKA was released on The Christic Shows, November 16 & 17, 1990 official live download in 2016.
Bruce Springsteen -- King's Hall, Belfast March 19, 1996
The live 19 Mar 1996 version of NEBRASKA was released on the King's Hall, Belfast March 19, 1996 official live download in 2017.

Live History

SECTION NOT YET COMPLETED

Covers

SECTION NOT YET COMPLETED

Various artists -- For You: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen
Various artists -- For You: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen

CD - Totem Records (TTM 480499 2) - Italy, 1995

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album. NEBRASKA is performed by Chicken Mambo.
Various artists -- Badlands - A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska
Various artists -- Badlands - A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska

CD - Sub Pop (SPCD 525) - USA, 2000
CD - Sub Pop (9878-70525-2) - Germany, 2000
CD - Sub Pop (WPCR-10845) - Japan, 2000

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album. NEBRASKA is performed by Chrissie Hynde with Adam Seymour.
The Section -- Hometown: The String Quartet Tribute To Springsteen
The Section -- Hometown: The String Quartet Tribute To Springsteen

CD - Vitamin (CD 8678) - USA, 2002

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.
Various artists -- Born To Run 2003 Volume One
Various artists -- Born To Run 2003 Volume One

CD - Uncut (2003 04A) - UK, 2003

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album. It's a free CD (volume 1 of 2) issued exclusively with the April 2003 issue of Uncut magazine. NEBRASKA is performed by Dan Bern.
Luca Hawk -- Bruce Springsteen Tribute: Acoustic Solo Project
Luca Hawk -- Bruce Springsteen Tribute: Acoustic Solo Project

CD EP - no label (no catalog number) - Italy, 2007

This is a promotional Bruce Springsteen tribute EP.
The Bruceband -- Nebraska Electric
The Bruceband -- Nebraska Electric

CD - Stemra (88690-2) - Holland, 2008

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.
Le Voci Del Tempo -- Il Mio Nome È Joe Roberts
Le Voci Del Tempo -- Il Mio Nome È Joe Roberts

CD - Pubblico-08 (no catalog number) - Italy, 2010

This is a live Bruce Springsteen tribute album.
George Mileson -- Leap of Faith: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen
George Mileson -- Leap of Faith: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen

CD - Growin' Up Records (8471812289631) - Spain, 2012

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.
Jon Bingham -- Deliver Me From Nowhere
Jon Bingham -- Deliver Me From Nowhere

Digital album - no label (no catalog number) - USA, 2012

This is a free download-only digital Bruce Springsteen tribute album.
Various artists -- Long Distance Salvation: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska
Various artists -- Long Distance Salvation: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska

LP - no label (no catalog number) - USA, 2012
Digital album - no label (no catalog number) - USA, 2012

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album, available in downloadable digital form and on limited edition colored vinyl. The digital version contains three tracks not found on the LP issue. NEBRASKA is performed by The Wooden Sky.
Various artists -- Return To Nebraska
Various artists -- Return To Nebraska

Digital album - no label (no catalog number) - Holland, 2012

This is a free download-only digital Bruce Springsteen tribute album. NEBRASKA is performed by Tommy Ebben.
Various artists -- The Nebraska Sessions - A Tribute
Various artists -- The Nebraska Sessions - A Tribute

CD - Clubhouse Records (no catalog number) - UK, 2012
Digital album - Clubhouse Records (no catalog number) - UK, 2012

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album, available in downloadable digital form and on CD. The digital version contains two tracks not found on the CD issue. NEBRASKA is performed by Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou.
Pony Face -- Pony Face Presents Nebraska
Pony Face -- Pony Face Presents Nebraska

2xLP - Cobra Snake Necktie Records (unknown catalog number) - Australia, 2014
CD - Love & Theft Recording Co. (LNT022) - Australia, 2014

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album. Includes two versions of NEBRASKA, the second version is a bonus track titled "Nebraska (Bearded)".

Available Versions

List of available versions of NEBRASKA on this website:

NEBRASKA [Album version]
NEBRASKA [Early home demo version 1]
NEBRASKA [Early home demo version 2]

Page last updated: 17 Dec 2015