STOLEN CAR

Official studio version


Well I found me a little girl and I settled down
In a pretty little house in a pretty little town
We got married and promised never to part
Then little by little we drifted from each other's hearts

Now I'm driving a stolen car on a pitch-black night
And I'm doing my best to make it through
Well I'm just sitting down here at the Stanton light
I wanna get caught but I never do

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

And I'm driving a stolen car waiting on that little red light
I keep telling myself everything's gonna be alright
But I ride by night and I travel in fear
That in this darkness I might just disappear

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

There's a river that runs by that little town
Down into the sea
It was there in the shade I laid my body down
As she flowed on so effortlessly

Now there's a party tonight out at County Line
There'll be dancing down at Seven Trees
From these banks I can see those party lights shine
Maybe she's there, maybe she's looking for me

Last night I dreamed I made the call
I swore to return and stay forevermore
Once again we stood on the wedding steps at Victory Hall
And walked arm in arm through the chapel door

I can remember how good I felt inside
When the preacher said "Son, you may kiss the bride"
But as I leaned over to touch her pretty lips
I felt it all slip away through my fingertips

And I'm driving a stolen car through a pitch-black night
I keep telling myself everything's gonna be alright
But I ride by night and I travel in fear
No matter what I do or where I drive
Nobody ever sees me when I ride by


Info

The above lyrics are for a studio take of STOLEN CAR recorded on 24 Sep 1979 at The Power Station in New York City, NY. This version is longer, features a very different arrangement, and contains several more verses than the album version.

This official studio version of STOLEN CAR was planned for release on Springsteen's 1979 album had it seen the light. See "The Ties That Bind" section below for more details. It was first released on the Tracks box set in 1998 and later included on The Ties That Bind: The River Collection box set in 2015.

On The Power Station reel-to-reel tapes (see "The Ties That Bind" section below), STOLEN CAR is marked as take #3 from 24 Sep 1979. However, according to the Tracks liner notes, the song was recorded on 26 Jul 1979 at The Power Station, but that date is likely incorrect since it's not listed on Sony's database of Bruce Springsteen recording sessions. It is possible that 26 Jul 1979 refer to a mixing or overdub session.

The Ties That Bind

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.

Tracks

In the liner notes of his Tracks box set, Bruce Springsteen introduces the box set as follows:

During long intervals between my record releases, as I was spending more and more time in the studio, when I met a fan out on the street I was often asked, "What are you guys doing in there?" I regularly pondered that question myself.

What we were doing in there was making a lot of music, a lot more music than I could use at any one time. As a result, my albums became a series of choices – what to include, what to leave out? I based my decisions on my creative point of view at the moment – the subject I was trying to focus on, something musical or emotional I was trying to express. In certain instances, as on Darkness on the Edge of Town, Nebraska, and The Ghost of Tom Joad, these choices crystallized the album I was making. On some of my other records the reasons I had for choosing one song over another, in hindsight, feel a good deal less significant. One of the results of working like this was that a lot of music, including some of my favorite things, remained unreleased.

This collection contains everything from the first notes I sang in the Columbia recording studio, my early and later work with the E Street Band, through to my music in the 90s. It's the alternate route to some of the destinations I travelled to on my records, an invitation into the studio on the many nights we spent making music in search of the records we presented to you. I'm glad to finally be able to share this music; here are some of the ones that got away.

- Bruce Springsteen, September 1998

Bruce Springsteen's albums were thematically linked even if they were not strictly concept albums; so some tracks that didn't fit the theme of the album ended up orphaned, not necessarily because they didn't meet his high standards, but because, he says, they didn't fit in with the tone or themes he mined for each set. Many of these unreleased studio outtakes got under the hands of bootleggers. Discussing that issue in 1984, Springsteen told Rolling Stone's Kurt Loder, "We record a lot of material, but we just don't release it all. [...] I always tell myself that some day I'm gonna put an album out with all this stuff on it that didn't fit in. I think there's some good material there that should come out. Maybe at some point, I'll do that."

During a break in The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour, Springsteen thought that "if it's gonna be a year or longer in between records, I have all this music that I know is very good that I never released and I should release some of it whether it was just a CD or something. In that period of time, I should put something out because people would like to have it and I'd like to see it get out." He told Toby Scott (his audio archivist and recording engineer), "send me all the archives, send everything that we recorded". Scott then went to work gathering the potential material from Springsteen's massive audio library (located, along with Sony's sound archives, in the high-tech Iron Mountain facility near Buffalo, NY). "For a week or so," he told Billboard in a Nov 1998 interview, "I just listened to everything that I'd done that we hadn't put out. I made some very brief notes in a notebook, and then I just put it away. It was something that I could do at some point when I get to that place in a new project where I'm not sure how long it's going to take and it would be nice to sort of fill the gap so the fans wouldn't be so long without hearing any music from me".

Springsteen told Mark Hagen in an interview for Mojo magazine published in January 1999, "So it began just with that idea and we listened to about 250 songs, maybe more, I made quick notes in a notebook and put it away. A year went by, more maybe, and I came off the Tom Joad tour and I began to write acoustically again and I wrote about half a record. Then I got stuck and said, 'Well, I'm going to put this aside for a while.' Then I wrote half of an electric record, and hit the same place. So I thought, instead of waiting for another year to put something out I'll put some of this music together. So once again I went back to the archives." According to interview comments made by engineer Toby Scott (Springsteen's audio archivist and recording engineer), it was in February 1998 during solo sessions being conducted at Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio) in Colts Neck, NJ, that Springsteen told Scott that the time was right to proceed with the long-anticipated box set of archived, unreleased studio takes. Thrill Hill Recording served as the main operational center for all Tracks project activities. Note that the "Thrill Hill Recording" name is used for whatever home studio Springsteen is recording at, whether it's in Rumson, NJ, Colts, NJ, or Beverly Hills, CA.

Springsteen told Billboard that the songs were culled from between 200 and 300 tunes. According to Toby Scott, the number was down to about 128 songs by late June 1998. It was then narrowed down yet again in July to about 100 songs that were prepped for the Tracks release. Although the project was originally projected to be a 6-disc set, there was a commercial decision made later in the summer to reduce the size of the release to a 4-disc (66-track) set. The package was delivered to Sony in mid-September in order to facilitate the mid-November 1998 release schedule.

Unreleased songs from the Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ sessions were not included on the box set due to ongoing and still-unresolved court proceedings involving most of these unreleased 1972 recordings. The court battle wasn't resolved until in 2001 (April 2001 in the UK and June 2001 in the U.S.), and those recordings are now free for release at any time. The opening four tracks of the box set – which were culled from Springsteen's 03 May 1972 Columbia Records audition – were not part of the court proceedings.

The Tracks box set was released on Columbia Records on 10 Nov 1998, issued on both compact disc and audio cassette formats. It's a 4-disc (or 4-cassette) set consisting of a total of 66 tracks (almost 4.5 hours long), 10 of which were heretofore unavailable single B-sides, 6 were demos and alternate versions of already-released material, and 50 (48 studio and 2 live) were never-before-released songs recorded during the sessions for Springsteen's many albums. Some tracks were treated with a recent touch-up here or there to give the older recordings a fresh polish.

  • Disc 1 consists of material from 1972 to 1980, including Springsteen's very first Columbia Records audition for legendary A & R executive John Hammond. This disc also features additional songs most of which recorded for (but never released on) Springsteen's first four albums.
  • Disc 2 consists of material from 1979 to 1983, taken primarily from the recording sessions of The River, Nebraska, and Born In The U.S.A.. Springsteen describes this disc as "almost the completely other album from 'The River'."
  • Disc 3 consists of material from 1982 to 1987, taken primarily from the recording sessions of Born In The U.S.A. and Tunnel Of Love.
  • Disc 4 consists of material from 1989 to 1998, taken primarily from the recording sessions of Human Touch.
Bruce Springsteen -- Tracks
Bruce Springsteen -- Tracks

Disc 1 (CD format):

1.MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSASRecorded on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios, New York City, NY
2.IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITYRecorded on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios, New York City, NY
3.GROWIN' UPRecorded on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios, New York City, NY
4.DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET?Recorded on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios, New York City, NY
5.BISHOP DANCEDRecorded live on 31 Jan 1973 at Max's Kansas City, New York City, NY
6.SANTA ANARecorded on 28 Jun 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY
7.SEASIDE BAR SONGRecorded on 28 Jun 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY
8.ZERO AND BLIND TERRYRecorded on 28 Jun 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY
9.LINDA LET ME BE THE ONERecorded on 28 Jun 1975 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
10.THUNDERCRACKRecorded on 28 Jun 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY
11.RENDEZVOUSRecorded live on 31 Dec 1980 at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
12.GIVE THE GIRL A KISSRecorded on 10 Nov 1977 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
13.ICEMANRecorded on 27 Oct 1977 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
14.BRING ON THE NIGHTRecorded on 13 Jun 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
15.SO YOUNG AND IN LOVERecorded on 06 Jan 1978 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
16.HEARTS OF STONERecorded on 14 Oct 1977 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
17.DON'T LOOK BACKRecorded on 02 Jul 1977 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY

Disc 2 (CD format):

1.RESTLESS NIGHTSRecorded on 11 Apr 1980 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
2.A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND (PITTSBURGH)Recorded on 05 May 1982 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
3.ROULETTERecorded on 03 Apr 1978 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
4.DOLLHOUSERecorded on 21 Aug 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
5.WHERE THE BANDS ARERecorded on 09 Oct 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
6.LOOSE ENDSRecorded on 18 Jul 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
7.LIVING ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLDRecorded on 07 Dec 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
8.WAGES OF SINRecorded on 10 May 1982 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
9.TAKE 'EM AS THEY COMERecorded on 10 Apr 1980 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
10.BE TRUERecorded on 21 Jul 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
11.RICKY WANTS A MAN OF HER OWNRecorded on 16 Jul 1979 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
12.I WANNA BE WITH YOURecorded on 31 May 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
13.MARY LOURecorded on 30 May 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
14.STOLEN CARRecorded on 26 Jul 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
15.BORN IN THE U.S.A.Recorded in January 1983 at Thrill Hill Recording, Colts Neck, NJ
16.JOHNNY BYE-BYERecorded in January 1983 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, CA
17.SHUT OUT THE LIGHTRecorded in January 1983 at Thrill Hill Recording

Disc 3 (CD format):

1.CYNTHIARecorded on 20 Apr 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
2.MY LOVE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWNRecorded on 05 May 1982 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
3.THIS HARD LANDRecorded on 11 May 1982 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
4.FRANKIERecorded on 14 May 1982 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
5.TV MOVIERecorded on 13 Jun 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
6.STAND ON ITRecorded on 16 Jun 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
7.LION'S DENRecorded on 25 Jan 1982 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
8.CAR WASHRecorded on 31 May 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
9.ROCKAWAY THE DAYSRecorded on 03 Feb 1984 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
10.BROTHERS UNDER THE BRIDGES ('83)Recorded on 04 Sep 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
11.MAN AT THE TOPRecorded on 12 Jan 1984 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
12.PINK CADILLACRecorded on 31 May 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
13.TWO FOR THE ROADRecorded in February 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Colts Neck, NJ
14.JANEY DON'T YOU LOSE HEARTRecorded on 16 Jun 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
15.WHEN YOU NEED MERecorded on 10 Jan 1987 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
16.THE WISHRecorded on 22 Feb 1987 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
17.THE HONEYMOONERSRecorded on 22 Feb 1987 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
18.LUCKY MANRecorded on 04 Apr 1987 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY

Disc 4 (CD format):

1.LEAVIN' TRAINRecorded on 27 Feb 1990 at Oceanway Studios, Los Angeles, CA
2.SEVEN ANGELSRecorded on 29 Jun 1990 at Oceanway Studios, Los Angeles, CA
3.GAVE IT A NAMERecorded on 24 Aug 1998 at Thrill Hill Recording, Colts Neck, NJ
4.SAD EYESRecorded on 25 Jan 1990 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles, CA
5.MY LOVER MANRecorded on 04 Dec 1990 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles, CA
6.OVER THE RISERecorded on 07 Dec 1990 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles, CA
7.WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUTRecorded on 06 Dec 1990 at The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA
8.LOOSE CHANGERecorded on 31 Jan 1991 at Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA
9.TROUBLE IN PARADISERecorded on 01 Dec 1989 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles, CA
10.HAPPYRecorded on 18 Jan 1992 at A & M Studios, Los Angeles, CA
11.PART MAN, PART MONKEYRecorded in January 1990 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles, CA
12.GOIN' CALIRecorded on 29 Jan 1991 at A & M Studios, Los Angeles, CA
13.BACK IN YOUR ARMSRecorded on 12 Jan 1995 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
14.BROTHERS UNDER THE BRIDGERecorded on 22 May 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, CA

The Ties That Bind: The River Collection

The Ties That Bind: The River Collection is a Bruce Springsteen box set released in 2015 on Columbia Records to celebrate the 35th anniversary of The River album. The 10"x12" box set contains four CDs, 2 Blu-Ray discs or 3 DVDs, and a hardcover 148-page coffee table book featuring 200 mostly unseen studio and live photographs, pages from Springsteen's notebooks, single covers, images and outtakes from the original album package, and other memorabilia documenting the album, plus a new essay by Mikal Gilmore. The box set was announced on 16 Oct 2015 and released to retail on 04 Dec 2015.

The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (box set cover art)
The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (box set cover art)

The first two discs consist of the 2014 remastered version of The River album. The third disc contains The River: Single Album, a 10-track album originally planned for release in 1979, under the title "The Ties That Bind". "The songs lacked the kind of unity and conceptual intensity I liked my music to have. So we went back in the studio," Springsteen wrote in his 1998 book Songs. He scrapped the project and went on to rework some of the songs and write and record some others, leading to the double-disc release the following year. All but one of these ten tracks were previously released.

1.THE TIES THAT BINDDifferent version previously released on The River
2.CINDYPreviously unreleased
3.HUNGRY HEARTPreviously released on The River
4.STOLEN CARPreviously released on Tracks
5.BE TRUEPreviously released as a B-side and on Tracks
6.THE RIVERPreviously released on The River
7.YOU CAN LOOK (BUT YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH)Different version previously released on The River
8.THE PRICE YOU PAYDifferent version previously released on The River
9.I WANNA MARRY YOUPreviously released on The River
10.LOOSE ENDSPreviously released on Tracks

The fourth discs contains The River: Outtakes, a 22-track album collection consisting of outtakes from the 1979-1980 sessions that didn't make the cut for either the single- or double-album versions of The River. The CD is divided into two parts, "Record One" (the first 11 tracks) and "Record Two" (the remaining 10 tracks). The former consists of unreleased songs while the latter consists of previously released songs.

1.MEET ME IN THE CITYPreviously unreleased
2.THE MAN WHO GOT AWAYPreviously unreleased
3.LITTLE WHITE LIESPreviously unreleased
4.THE TIME THAT NEVER WASPreviously unreleased
5.NIGHT FIREPreviously unreleased
6.WHITETOWNPreviously unreleased
7.CHAIN LIGHTNINGPreviously unreleased
8.PARTY LIGHTSPreviously unreleased
9.PARADISE BY THE "C"Live version previously released on Live/1975-85
10.STRAY BULLETPreviously unreleased
11.MR. OUTSIDEPreviously unreleased
12.ROULETTEPreviously released on Tracks
13.RESTLESS NIGHTSPreviously released on Tracks
14.WHERE THE BANDS AREPreviously released on Tracks
15.DOLLHOUSEPreviously released on Tracks
16.LIVING ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLDPreviously released on Tracks
17.TAKE 'EM AS THEY COMEPreviously released on Tracks
18.RICKY WANTS A MAN OF HER OWNPreviously released on Tracks
19.I WANNA BE WITH YOUPreviously released on Tracks
20.MARY LOUPreviously released on Tracks
21.HELD UP WITHOUT A GUNPreviously released as a B-side
22.FROM SMALL THINGS (BIG THINGS ONE DAY COME)Previously released on The Essential Bruce Springsteen (2003 3-disc edition)

The fifth disc contains the 60-minute documentary, The Ties That Bind, produced and directed by Grammy and Emmy-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny. The documentary features an intimate interview with Bruce Springsteen as he reflects on writing and recording of The River. The film transitions between Springsteen telling the stories behind the music — and illustrating them with solo acoustic guitar performances — interspersed with period concert footage and rare photos of him and the band in and out of the studio.

The sixth disc (on the Blu-Ray release) or sixth and seventh disc (on the DVD release) feature(s) The River Tour, Tempe 1980, a new professionally shot film consisting of 24 songs from Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band's 05 Nov 1980 concert at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. The film uses four cameras and is recorded in multitrack audio and clocks at 2 hours and 40 minutes. The tapes were edited by Thom Zimny and the audio was mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig.

  1. BORN TO RUN
  2. PROVE IT ALL NIGHT
  3. TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT
  4. JACKSON CAGE
  5. TWO HEARTS
  6. THE PROMISED LAND
  7. OUT IN THE STREET
  8. THE RIVER
  9. BADLANDS
  10. THUNDER ROAD
  11. NO MONEY DOWN
  12. CADILLAC RANCH
  13. HUNGRY HEART
  14. FIRE
  15. SHERRY DARLING
  16. I WANNA MARRY YOU
  17. CRUSH ON YOU
  18. RAMROD
  19. YOU CAN LOOK (BUT YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH)
  20. DRIVE ALL NIGHT
  21. ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)
  22. I'M A ROCKER
  23. JUNGLELAND
  24. DETROIT MEDLEY

The ten songs that are not included on The River Tour, Tempe 1980 (DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, INDEPENDENCE DAY, FACTORY, RACING IN THE STREET, CANDY'S ROOM, THE TIES THAT BIND, STOLEN CAR, WRECK ON THE HIGHWAY, POINT BLANK, and BACKSTREETS) were later officially released on Live.BruceSpringsteen.net.

The last disc also contains The River Tour Rehearsals, which consists of a 5-song 20-minute bonus footage from Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band's private rehearsals in late September 1980 at Clair Brothers Audio in Lititz, PA. Springsteen and the band can be seen working through live arrangements of what was then unreleased material from the upcoming album.

  1. RAMROD
  2. CADILLAC RANCH
  3. FIRE
  4. CRUSH ON YOU
  5. SHERRY DARLING

Bootleg Releases

Prior to its release on Tracks, this official studio version of STOLEN CAR appeared on several bootlegs, including The Ties That Bind (unknown label) [track 04] and The Definitive River Outtakes Collection Volume 2 (E Street Records) [disc 2, track 04].

Bruce Springsteen -- The Ties That Bind (unknown label)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Ties That Bind (unknown label)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Definitive River Outtakes Collection Volume 2 (E Street Records)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Definitive River Outtakes Collection Volume 2 (E Street Records)

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: 01 Dec 2015