THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD

Live 28 Oct 1995 version


[Spoken intro:] Alright, I got, I got one more here. And uh... gonna do uh... gonna dedicate this song – like right now there's a white riot going on in Congress and the Senate. That uh... is gonna make the world less safe, less equal for all our kids, and the country more divided. So I wanna dedicate this tonight to the Gingrich mob. This is called "Ghost Of Tom Joad".

Men walking 'long the railroad tracks
Going someplace and there's no going back
Highway patrol choppers coming up over the ridge
Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
Shelter line stretching 'round the corner
Welcome to the new world order
Families sleeping in their cars in the southwest
No home, no job, no peace, no rest

Well the highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Searching for the ghost of Tom Joad

He pulls a prayer book out of his sleeping bag
Preacher lights up a butt and he takes a drag
Waiting for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box 'neath the underpass
Got a one-way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand
Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
Bathing in the city aqueduct

Well the highway is alive tonight
But where it's headed everybody knows
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Waiting on the ghost of Tom Joad

Now Tom said, "Ma, wherever there's a cop beating a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me, Mom, I'll be there
Where there's somebody fighting for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helping hand
Wherever somebody's struggling to be free
Look in their eyes, Mom, you'll see me"

Well the highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
With the ghost of old Tom Joad


Info

The above lyrics are for the live 28 Oct 1995 performance of THE GHOST OF JOAD at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, during the ninth Bridge School Benefit concert. The song was played in a solo acoustic guitar and harmonica arrangement. This was the world premiere of the song.

The 28 Oct 1995 Show

The Bridge School Benefit is an annual charity concert organized by Neil Young's wife (until 2014) Pegi Young. Almost every one of the concerts, which started in 1986 and were held every year since 1998, has taken place at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA. Proceeds from the concerts benefit the Bridge School, a non-profit organization in Hillsborough, CA, for children with severe speech and physical impairments. The school aims to help the children achieve full participation in their communities through Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Assistive Technologies (AT). It was founded in 1986 by Pegi Young, Jim Foreder and Dr. Marilyn Buzolich. Bruce Springsteen has performed at two of these benefits: the first edition in 1986 and the ninth edition in 1995.

The ninth annual concert took place on 28 Oct 1995 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, and featured in the line-up Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Beck, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, The Pretenders, and Hootie & The Blowfish. Springsteen performed solo during his set.

Promotional poster for the 28 Oct 1995 Bridge School Benefit concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
Promotional poster for the 28 Oct 1995 Bridge School Benefit concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
Ticket stub for the 28 Oct 1995 Bridge School Benefit concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
Ticket stub for the 28 Oct 1995 Bridge School Benefit concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
(Taken from Brucebase)
Pass for the 28 Oct 1995 Bridge School Benefit concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
Pass for the 28 Oct 1995 Bridge School Benefit concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
(Taken from Brucebase)

  1. SEEDS (solo)
  2. ADAM RAISED A CAIN (solo)
  3. SINALOA COWBOYS (solo)
  4. POINT BLANK (solo)
  5. I DON'T WANT NO MORE OF THIS ARMY LIFE (solo)
  6. THIS HARD LAND (solo)
  7. THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD (solo)
  8. DOWN BY THE RIVER (with Neil Young)
  9. ROCKIN' IN THE FREE WORLD (with all performers)

The first eight songs are Bruce Springsteen's set, featuring Springsteen solo. The last song is the concert's finale featuring all of the evening's performers.

Available Versions

List of available versions of THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD on this website:

THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [1995 album version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [2006 studio version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [2009 (first) studio version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [2009 (second) studio version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [2014 album version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 28 Oct 1995 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 27 Nov 1995 (NBC Studios) version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 09 Dec 1995 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 20 Feb 1996 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 23 Feb 1996 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 19 Mar 1996 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 27 Apr 1996 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 26 Feb 1997 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 05 May 1997 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 22 Jan 1998 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 10 Dec 1998 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 19 Mar 1999 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 10 Mar 2000 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [26 Jun 2000 rehearsal version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 19 Feb 2002 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 16 Sep 2003 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 14 May 2005 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 19 Nov 2006 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 07 Apr 2008 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 04 Oct 2008 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 05 Oct 2008 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 06 Oct 2008 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 15 Apr 2009 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 03 May 2009 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 07 May 2009 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 29 Oct 2009 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 15 Mar 2012 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 26 Apr 2012 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 11 Jul 2012 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 11 Feb 2014 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 16 Jul 2016 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 25 Aug 2016 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Rage Against The Machine's cover version]

Page last updated: 06 Sep 2016