THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD

2014 album version


Bruce Springsteen:Men walking 'long the railroad tracks
Going someplace, 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 the cars in the southwest
No home, no job, no peace, no rest

Bruce Springsteen: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

Tom Morello: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's aqueduct

Bruce Springsteen:Go!
Springsteen and Morello:Well 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

Bruce Springsteen:Now Tom said, "Mom, 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
Tom Morello: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, Ma, and you'll see me"
Yeah!

Springsteen and Morello:The highway is alive tonight
Where it's headed everybody knows
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
With the ghost of old Tom Joad
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
With the ghost of old Tom Joad
With the ghost of old Tom Joad

Info

The above lyrics are for Bruce Springsteen's 2014 album version of THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD as released on High Hopes.

Studio Recording

In a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen explained to Andy Greene that THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD was originally written for the Greatest Hits (1995 edition) compilation album. It was intended to be a rock song, but he couldn't come up with an arrangement, so he recorded it in an acoustic arrangement, which led the way to The Ghost Of Tom Joad album (see the 1995 album version). Then as he toured with the E Street Band in the following years, some of The Ghost Of Tom Joad album's songs got their rock treatment. "I sort of found some of those arrangements on the road while playing with the band," Springsteen said. "So 'Ghost Of Tom Joad' ends up on [High Hopes] as the rock song it was, perhaps, intended to be 15 years ago."

In a January 2014 interview for Rolling Stone, Tom Morello told Andy Greene: "Well, I think [THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD] was one of Bruce's best songs and it really cuts to the core of his social justice writing in a way that it tells a story. The song tells a very human tale, and the musical accompaniment of the song invokes the very different ends of the struggle for social justice spectrum. There's a plaintive ballad, which feels like a lament. And there's the full-bore rocker that feels like a threat."

The 2014 album version of THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD was recorded in Los Angeles, CA, the day before Bruce Springsteen flew to Australia for the Australian leg of the Wrecking Ball Tour, which would kick off on 14 Mar 2013. "We were doing mixes and he was posing for the pictures, too," Ron Aniello told Andy Greene in a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone. "He put in a 15-hour day in the studio. We recorded 'The Ghost of Tom Joad' with Tom Morello." But in a January 2014 interview, Tom Morello told Andy Greene: "The day before I left for Australia, we tracked 'The Ghost of Tom Joad' in Los Angeles. It was me, Max [Weinberg] and Ron Aniello. We just did the basic tracks for that song and I sang my verse." It's unclear if Springsteen overdubbed his parts on that same March 2014 day.

The 2014 album version of THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD was produced by Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen. The performing musicians line-up on the track is:

  • Bruce Springsteen (lead vocal, guitar)
  • Roy Bittan (piano)
  • Nils Lofgren (pedal steel, mandolin)
  • Max Weinberg (drums)
  • Tom Morello (lead vocal, guitar)
  • Soozie Tyrell (violin)
  • Charles Giordano (accordion)
  • Ron Aniello (bass, synth)

High Hopes

High Hopes is Bruce Springsteen's eighteenth studio album. It was officially released on 14 Jan 2014 on Columbia Records. It consists of 12 tracks and clocks at 56:24. Four songs were previously released in different versions (two of which are covers), two more were previously performed live but never released, and the remaining six are new to fans (one of which is a cover). "This is music I always felt needed to be released," Springsteen wrote in the album's liner notes.

In a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone, Springsteen told Andy Greene that he has always written and recorded significantly more songs than can fit on to whatever album he's creating at the moment. "I have a lot of this music on a computer," he said. "I bring it out on the road to amuse myself. Very often, if I have nothing to do late at night I'll bring it up and look at different bodies of music." The songs that began catching Springsteen's attention were largely recorded after he reunited with the E Street Band in 1999. "The songs were relatively current and had a similar sound picture," he said. "I was interested in putting this material together in some form because it sounded like it all fit together... You have to imagine that when I'm home or done with a tour I go into a studio and I'm surrounded by paintings that I've sorta half-finished. There might be something wrong with this one and I didn't have time to finish this one. When I go into my studio, I'm surrounded by all my music that I haven't released. I wait to see what's going to speak to me." But then they cut a few sessions in 2013 while on tour. "I said, 'Well, these sound good,'" Springsteen told Rolling Stone. "These things blend together. Suddenly, it began to feel very fresh and fit together quite well."

Work on the album started in late 2012 when Springsteen called producer Ron Aniello asking him to work on some demos that he was thinking about releasing. "I remember that Bruce called me on my birthday, so it was December 9th, 2012", Aniello told Andy Greene in a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone. "He said to me, 'I have some songs. I want to get together.'" According to Aniello, these were old demos that Springsteen had done with Toby Scott and that had been around for a while. Springsteen told him that he wanted to get these songs in shape and see what comes out of that. Aniello was not able to sit with Springsteen to sort it all out because Springsteen was away most of the time touring with the E Street Band. "It all happened in a very unusual manner," Aniello told Rolling Stone. "There was a lot of conversations in Europe and I did some of the recording via iChat when the band was in Australia."

In a January 2014 interview for Rolling Stone, Tom Morello told Andy Greene that he wasn't aware that there was ever talk of a new studio album when they sent him a couple of songs to add guitar on. He did that in his home studio and shortly after he was recording in studio with Max Weinberg and Ron Aniello. "But these studio sessions just kept occurring without any formal notion of what we were doing," Morello recounted. "My assumption was just that 'Bruce is always recording music.' So it was fantastic that I was asked to be a part of it. I was psyched." In March 2013 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performed ten shows in Australia as part of the Wrecking Ball Tour. Steven Van Zandt was off filming his television series Lillyhammer and was replaced by Morello for that leg of the tour. Morello suggested to add HIGH HOPES to the live set. They worked it up during the rehearsals prior to the Australian shows and Morello then "proceeded to burn the house down with it," as Springsteen said. They then re-cut the song along with JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD at Studios 301, Australia's largest studio complex. "Tom and his guitar became my muse, pushing the rest of this project to another level," Springsteen said. He told Rolling Stone's David Fricke, "We've never had a recording session during a tour in our lives. We did a couple of things that I wanted to put down. So that was very exciting. And being with Tommy was exciting. The band – Steven, Nils, all those guys – continues to be a source of inspiration for me." Morello told Rolling Stone that he didn't get the notion that this was "coalescing into what was going to be a major release" until they were in Australia.

No less than sixteen recording studios were used in the making of High Hopes: Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio in Colts Neck, NJ), Stone Hill Studio (Springsteen's new home studio in Colts Neck, NJ), Very Loud House (in Los Angeles, CA), Renegade Studio (in New York City, NY), Veritas Studio (in Los Angeles, CA), Southern Tracks (Atlanta, GA), East West Studios (in Los Angeles, CA), NRG Studios (in Los Angeles, CA), Village Studios (in Los Angeles, CA), Studios 301 (in Byron Bay and Sydney, Australia), Record Plant (in Los Angeles, CA), Electric Lady Studios (in New York City, NY), Avatar Studios (in New York City, NY), Sear Sound (in New York City, NY), and Berkeley Street Studio (in Santa Monica, CA).

Ron Aniello revealed that at least 20 tracks were recorded for the album. Among the tracks that didn't make the album cut were COLD SPOT, HEY BLUE EYES, AMERICAN BEAUTY, and MARY MARY.

The album was produced by Bruce Springsteen, Brendan O'Brien, and Ron Aniello. It features all E Street Band members, including the late Clarence Clemons and the late Danny Federici on several songs of what Springsteen calls "some of our best unreleased material from the past decade." The album also features an ensemble of guest artists, including Tom Morello who's featured prominently on the album, appearing on eight tracks.

Bruce Springsteen -- High Hopes
Bruce Springsteen -- High Hopes

High Hopes is available in three configurations: standard CD edition, limited edition, and double-disc LP. The limited edition consists of the standard audio CD and includes a bonus live DVD of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performing the entire Born In The U.S.A. album on 30 Jun 2013 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England, during the Wrecking Ball Tour. The double-disc LP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl and includes a CD version of the album.

High Hopes was officially announced on 25 Nov 2013 and the release date was set for 14 Jan 2014, but on 28 Dec 2013 it became available for purchase as individual tracks in MP3 format through Amazon.com's mobile application. Although Amazon quickly removed the files, presumably recognizing its mistake, the album had already made its way onto file-sharing websites.

The album topped the charts in 20 countries, including the United States and the UK. It was Springsteen's eleventh #1 album in the US, placing him third all-time for most #1 albums only behind The Beatles and Jay-Z. It was his tenth #1 in the UK, putting him joint fifth all-time and level with The Rolling Stones and U2.

Country Chart Peak position
Australia Aria Top 50 Albums Chart 1
Austria Alben Top 75 2
Belgium Ultratop 50 Albums (Flanders) 1
Belgium Ultratop 50 Albums (Wallonia) 2
Canada Billboard Top Canadian Albums 1
Croatia Arhiva Kombiniranih (all artists chart) 1
Czech Republic 1
Denmark Album 40 1
Finland Suomen Virallinen Albumilista 1
France Top 200 Albums 2
Germany Media Control Charts Top 100 Albums 1
Greece 1
Hungary Top 40 Albums 12
Ireland Top 100 Individual Artist Albums 1
Italy Top 20 Albums 1
Japan Japan Hot 100 8
New Zealand Album Top 40 1
Norway VG Lista Topp 40 Album 1
Poland Poland Albums Top 50 6
Portugal Albums Top 30 4
Slovenia 1
South Africa 5
South Korea 83
Spain Album Top 100 1
Sweden Sverigetopplistan Albums Top 60 1
Switzerland Albums Top 100 1
The Netherlands GFK Dutch AlbumTop 100 1
UK Official UK Albums Top 100 1
USA Billboard 200 1

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: 05 Sep 2016