STOLEN CAR

Album version


I met a little girl and I settled down
In a little house out on the edge of town
We got married and swore we'd never part
Then little by little we drifted from each other's heart

At first I thought it was just restlessness
That would fade as time went by and our love grew deep
In the end it was something more I guess
That tore us apart and made us weep

And I'm driving a stolen car down on Eldridge Avenue
Each night I wait to get caught but I never do

She asked if I remembered the letters I wrote
When our love was young and bold
She said last night she read those letters
And they made her feel one hundred years old

I'm driving a stolen car on a pitch-black night
And I'm telling myself I'm gonna be alright
But I ride by night and I travel in fear
That in this darkness I will disappear


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Info

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

Another studio version of STOLEN CAR (the official studio version) was first released on the Tracks box set in 1998.

Composition and Recording

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According to Sony's database of Bruce Springsteen recording sessions, STOLEN CAR was recorded on 22-21 Jun 1979, 24 Sep 1979, 21 Jan 1980, 20 Feb 1980, 01 Apr 1980, 09 Apr 1980, and 09 May 1980 at The Power Station in New York City, NY. The last three dates are most likely for mixing or overdub sessions.

Circulating Takes

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Four studio takes of STOLEN CAR are in circulation. Unofficial studio version 1 was recorded during the 21 Jun 1979 session. Official studio version was recorded during the 24 Sep 1979 session. Unofficial studio version 2, which is very similar, was likely recorded during the same 24 Sep 1979 session. The album version was likely recorded during the 21 Jan 1980 session or the 20 Feb 1980 session.

The album version is shorter, features a very different arrangement, and contains several less verses than the remaining three studio versions. Official studio version and Unofficial studio version 2 are very similar, but unofficial studio version 1 is longer and features some alternate lyrics not found in any of the other three studio versions.

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

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Other versions of STOLEN CAR were also officially released.

Bruce Springsteen -- Tracks
The official studio version of STOLEN CAR was first released on the Tracks box set in 1998.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Arizona State University, Tempe 1980
The live 05 Nov 1980 version of STOLEN CAR was released on the Arizona State University, Tempe 1980 official live download in 2015.

Live History

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Appearance In Movies

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Covers

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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. STOLEN CAR is performed by Elliott Murphy.
Various artists -- Light Of Day: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen
Various artists -- Light Of Day: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen

2xCD - Schoolhouse Records (SHR0022-2) - USA, 2003
3xCD - Good Sounds (DM 797-02) - Spain, 2003
2xCD - Good Sounds (DM 797E-02) - Spain, 2003
2xCD - Revolver (REV XD244) - UK, 2004
2xCD - Sony (MHCP-928/9) - Japan, 2005
2xCD - Sony Records (MHCO 928-929) - Japan, 2007

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album. There are six issues of this album (with three track configurations) and this track was included on all six issues listed above. STOLEN CAR is performed by Patty Griffin.
Andrew Nicholson -- Lost Highway: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen
Andrew Nicholson -- Lost Highway: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen

CD - no label (no catalog number) - UK, 2008

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.
Various artists -- Play Some Pool, Skip Some School, Act Real Cool: A Global Pop Tribute To Bruce Springsteen
Various artists -- Play Some Pool, Skip Some School, Act Real Cool: A Global Pop Tribute To Bruce Springsteen

2xCD - Where It's At Is Where You Are (WIACD20) - UK, 2009

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album. STOLEN CAR is performed by The Manhattan Love Suicides.
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.
Lorenzo "FullG" Bianchi -- Via Emilia Shuffle
Lorenzo "FullG" Bianchi -- Via Emilia Shuffle

CD - no label (no catalog number) - Italy, 2016

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.

References

Some of the above info about the studio recording and the live performances is taken from Brucebase.

Available Versions

List of available versions of STOLEN CAR on this website:

STOLEN CAR [Album version]
STOLEN CAR [Official studio version]
STOLEN CAR [Unofficial studio version 1]
STOLEN CAR [Unofficial studio version 2]
STOLEN CAR [Home demo version]
STOLEN CAR [Band rehearsal #1]
STOLEN CAR [Band rehearsal #2]
STOLEN CAR [Band rehearsal #3]
STOLEN CAR [Band rehearsal #4]
STOLEN CAR [Band rehearsal #5]
STOLEN CAR [Band rehearsal #6]
STOLEN CAR [Band rehearsal #7]
STOLEN CAR [Band rehearsal #8]
STOLEN CAR [Band rehearsal #9]
STOLEN CAR [Live 05 Nov 1980 version]

Page last updated: 10 Jan 2016