THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD

Live 26 Feb 1997 version


[Spoken intro (Pete Seeger):] Well, friends, it's my pleasure to introduce to you my friend Bruce Springsteen.

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
You 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

And the highway is alive tonight
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 (mic)
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
Wherever somebody's 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

[Spoken outro:] Thanks Pete.


Info

The above lyrics are for the live 26 Feb 1997 performance of THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY, during the 39th Grammy Awards ceremony. The song was played in a solo acoustic guitar and harmonica arrangement.


Bruce Springsteen's The Ghost Of Tom Joad album won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Springsteen performed the title track from him album. His performance was introduced by Pete Seeger, whose album Pete won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. The awards ceremony was broadcast live on CBS.

Bruce Springsteen's acceptance speech:

Ah thanks. First I'd like to say I'm uh... honored to be amongst these other nominees. There's such good records and people whose work I've admired for a long time uh... I guess Eric Clapton is right, you sing the song, you get the award, I guess. But uh... anyway, I'd like to thank my family for the support, thanks, Patti, Jon Landau, Barbara Carr, Charlie Plotkin, Toby Scott. I'd like to thank Elaine Steinbeck for allowing me to uh... use the Tom Joad image. Everybody at Sony Records around the world, Donnie Inner, who as he sat in my studio, listening to a rough cut, his dreams of mega-sales slipping down the drain. Gave me his full support from the heart. I appreciate that, Donnie. Uh... last, well, last of all I'd like to thank my fans for supporting the tour and work I've done the past year... Yeah, and uh... especially Pete Seeger for being here tonight. That was a thrill for me. Pete, thank you, thank you very much, thanks again.

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 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: 07 Sep 2016