Studio version

Well you flash your tongue like diamonds
You tied me to your wildcat schemes
And you forced me to into a power dive
And left your mark on my jeans
And I heard the word on your soldiers
And I heard the word on Jesus too
I heard the word on the country
But I never heard the word on you

Your love was like a machine gun
I wore your bugle in my belt
And I was your kid glove lover
All the cards were yours, you always dealt
And I stood before your soapbox
Noiseless and shoeless playing my pantry boy's games
You had your raised up, you had your hands raised up
You were raised up to the sky shouting, "Oh Sunday deity
Oh Big Daddy Longlegs, come down and bless your sister please"
You were shouting orders about the construction going on down the highway
Doing the Virginia reel, you were naming names, blaming blames
And you blamed me

You wore your heart like a challenge
Far and apart for anyone who came
Open and wide like the river
With rocks on both sides to keep the water tame
But I heard the word on your high tides
And I felt the pain when I tried to rip your floodgates wide
And pull your body on over to my side where we both could hide
But you heard about the freedom ride
And you heard about the highway crew
Who could cut the light a little bit faster than you
So you left me just your shoes

And I heard the word on Jesus
And I heard the word on his marching troops
I heard the word on the country
But I never heard the word on you


THE SONG is a song written by Bruce Springsteen who recorded it in studio in spring 1972 (see the "London Publishing Demos" section below). The song has not yet been officially released. It is also known under the titles "The Word" and "I Heard The Word". The above lyrics are transcribed from the only known studio version of THE SONG.

Composition and Recording

There is no indication to when THE SONG was written. One studio version of the song is in circulation among collectors. It's a studio take likely recorded around May-Jun 1972 at Pocketful Of Tunes Studios in New York City, NY. It features Springsteen solo on vocals and acoustic guitar. The May-Jun 1972 sessions at Pocketful Of Tunes Studios were produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos, and Cretecos took the role of recording engineer. The above lyrics are for that circulating studio version of THE SONG.

London Publishing Demos

1972 was a massive songwriting period for Bruce Springsteen. He wrote many songs in 1972, prior to the January 1973 release of his debut album. According to Brucebase, the vast majority of the known recordings of these songs were made during a 3-4 month period, between May and August 1972, though a few were recorded shortly beforehand and several weren't recorded until early 1973. Virtually all of these feature Springsteen completely solo, on either acoustic guitar or keyboards. Springsteen's manager Mike Appel and his partner Jim Cretecos selected some of this large pool of recordings in 1973 and 1974 and distributed them in Europe most notably to the UK-based music publishing agency Intersong Music Ltd. Some recordings were distributed on tape, others on acetates. Most of these acetates were manufactured at Media Sound in New York City, NY, and Angel Sound in Bedford, MA. Springsteen did not record at either of these locations. Intersong also pressed its own acetates for distribution within the industry. This audio gradually filtered into collector circles in the late seventies, often under the misnomer the "London Publishing Demos". According to Clinton Heylin 2012 book E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, the track-listing of the so-called "London demo-tape" is as follows: STREET QUEEN, SOUTHERN SUN, HENRY BOY, IF I WAS THE PRIEST, VIBES MAN, SONG FOR ORPHANS, SHE'S LEAVING, THE SONG, ARABIAN NIGHTS, and COWBOYS OF THE SEA. Heylin adds that four other songs were also lodged with Intersong, including NO NEED. The remaining three are probably TOKYO, MARIE, and VISITATION AT FORT HORN.

Title and Consideration for Release

In his 2012 book E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Clinton Heylin wrote that THE SONG was included in summer 1972 in a list of possible tracks for Springsteen's debut album, under its alternative title "I Heard The Word". The song was copyrighted in 1995 by JEC Music USA under the title "The Word" (registration no. PAu002008879). According to Brucebase, a perfect sound quality tape of the circulating studio version of the song exists in limited collector circles and it includes the previously unheard introduction: "The Song, take 1". This indicates that the correct title is "The Song".

THE SONG (written as "I Heard The Word") appears on a Springsteen handwritten song list that was put up for auction in December 2013 on This is most probably a list of songs that Springsteen was considering taking into the studio at the very early stages of the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. recording sessions (July 1972).

1972 handwritten song list
1972 handwritten song list

Unofficial Releases

THE SONG was among the songs that were on master tapes that were kept by Jim Cretecos and ended up in the nineties with Dare International and JEC Music USA. However, THE SONG is one of the few of these songs that were not included on any of the CD releases associated with these companies (The Early Years, Unearthed, or Before The Fame). See PRODIGAL SON for more details.

Bootleg Releases

The studio version of THE SONG can be found on several bootlegs, including The Demo Tapes (Traveling Productions) and The Early Years Volume One (Bagel Boys Records).

Bruce Springsteen -- The Demo Tapes (Traveling Productions)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Demo Tapes (Traveling Productions)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Early Years Volume One (Bagel Boys Records)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Early Years Volume One (Bagel Boys Records)

Live History

As far as it's known, Bruce Springsteen has never performed THE SONG live.


As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's THE SONG.

Available Versions

List of available versions of THE SONG on this website:

THE SONG [Studio version]

Page last updated: 24 Nov 2013