Live 24 Apr 1973 (early show) version
[MC introduction:] Please welcome Columbia recording artist Bruce Springsteen.
[Spoken intro:] Last summer I got stuck in, uh, New York too much, and, uh, these are some of the things that should have happened.
Oh, Blackie's down by the railroad track
He sinks low in the back seat of his Cadillac
And Diamond Jackie, she's so intact
She freezes beneath Black's attack
Oh, and Jackie's shoes are shellacked
She got cleats on her boots
Together they're gonna boogaloo down Broadway
And come back with the loot
Because it's midnight in Manhattan, this is no time to get cute
It's a madcap promenade
It's like New York City, the city, hey, hey
Oh, well, ain't Jackie pretty? Ain't she sweet?
Her faith lies at midnight, between her teeth
She got a dirty big daddy, who through all the tears
Has supplied her with hope and kept her in fear
He's a lone privateer, working down on the docks
He was born in 1943 and almost died of the shock
And now he drags her to some D-side joint
Where the atomic punks, they rock
Until she breaks down and falls
Soft like a child
Crying, "New York City, you're so wild"
And in the night air you could hear crying
And now the girls say, "Ain't he thin?"; girls say, "Ain't he fine?"
He was born on the border of the Kansas line
When he broke into town, it was hot, ninety degrees
Swore he'd bust that monster to its knees
Folks said he was master of the universe
Some kid said he was the holder of the cosmic keys
His throat was choked with lightning from some childhood disease
And with a burnt gun blast he's got the people running from the streets
And he lies empty in Times Square just like street scum
Crying, "New York City, kill their young"
Crying, "New York City, kill their young"
From a tenement window you hear
[Spoken outro:] Yeah! Thank you. Thank you. And, uh... Thank you very much.
NEW YORK SONG is a song written by Bruce Springsteen. He performed it live as a solo acoustic piece in April, May, and June 1973, and very likely in March too. The song has not been officially released.
According to Brucebase, a studio version of NEW YORK SONG was cut during the recording sessions for The Wild, The Innocent, And The E Street Shuffle album, sometime between 22 and 15 May 1973 or between 17 and 20 June 1973 at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY. The studio take is apparently similar in arrangement to the known live renditions; it is piano-based and features sparse band backing. The studio recording of NEW YORK SONG is not in circulation among fans. According to Sony's database of Springsteen recording sessions, NEW YORK SONG was cut on 20 or 22 Jun 1973 at 914 Sound Studios.
The lyric "She got cleats on her boots" is similar to one used in JESSE.
The above lyrics are for the live 24 Apr 1973 early show performance of NEW YORK SONG at The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, PA, during what is considered the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour. The song was played in an arrangement featuring Bruce Springsteen on acoustic guitar and vocals and Clarence Clemons on saxophone.
In April 1973, Bruce Springsteen performed a two-night stand at The Main Point, (24 and 25 Apr 1973). He played two shows each night, an early one at 08:00 PM and a late one at 10:00 PM. These were double-bill shows, with Springsteen headlining and folk duo Aztec Two-Step opening. The complete early show from the first night was broadcast live on Philadelphia's WMMR-FM, and that was Bruce Springsteen's first real time concert venue simulcast. Since then, the audio has widely circulated in excellent quality among collectors.
The 24 Apr 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast 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.
NEW YORK SONG is known to have been performed at least 3 times during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour. Very little is known about the 1972 and 1973 shows, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates. On this tour, or at least on the circulating version, the song was played in an arrangement featuring Bruce Springsteen on acoustic guitar and vocals and Clarence Clemons on saxophone. See the live 24 Apr 1973 version.
In 1973, Bruce Springsteen performed NEW YORK SONG on two radio performances. The version from the 31 May 1973 WGOE-FM broadcast featured Bruce Springsteen on piano and vocals and Clarence Clemons on saxophone (see the live 31 May 1973 (1974-03-03]) version) and the 02 Jun 1973 WHFS-FM broadcast featured Springsteen on acoustic guitar and vocals and Clemons on saxophone (see the live 02 Jun 1973 version).
As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's NEW YORK SONG.
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.
List of available versions of NEW YORK SONG on this website:NEW YORK SONG [Live 24 Apr 1973 (early show) version]