Official 1995 studio version
Hey there mister, can you tell me what happened to the seeds I've sown
Can you give me a reason, sir, as to why they never grown
They just blown around from town to town till they're back out on these fields
Yeah where they fall from my hand back into the dirt of this hard land
Now me and my sister, from Germantown yeah we did ride
Well we made our beds, sir, from the rock on the mountain side
We've been blown around from town to town looking for a place to land
Where the sun bursts through the clouds to fall like a circle, like a circle of fire down on this hard land
Now even the rain it don't come around, don't come around here no more
And the only sound at night's the wind slamming that back porch door
It just stirs you up like it wants to blow you down, twisting and churning up the sand
And leaving all them scarecrows lying face down, face down in the dirt of this hard land
From a building up on the hill I can hear a tape deck blasting "Home On The Range"
And I can hear them bar rim choppers sweeping low across the plains
And it's me and you Frank, we're looking for lost cattle, our hooves twisting and churning up the sand
Yeah we're riding in the whirlwind, searching for lost treasure way down south of the Rio Grande
We're riding across that river in the moonlight way up onto the banks of this hard land
Hey Frank, won't you pack your bags and meet me tonight down at Liberty Hall
I just want a kiss from you my brother and we'll ride until we fall
We'll sleep in the fields, we'll sleep by the rivers and in the morning we'll make a plan
Well if you can't make it, stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive if you can and meet me in a dream of this hard land
Come on! Whoa!
The above lyrics are for a studio version of THIS HARD LAND recorded in January 1995 and released the following month on the Greatest Hits compilation album. It's the album's eighteenth (and closing) track. It features session player Frank Pagano on percussion.
The 1995 studio recording of THIS HARD LAND was portrayed in the 1996 documentary Blood Brothers.
Greatest Hits (1995 edition) is a collection of some of Bruce Springsteen's hit singles and popular album tracks through the years, in addition to four previously unreleased songs, three of which were recorded with the E Street Band in 1995 – Springsteen's first release with his backing band since the late eighties. Some of the songs on Greatest Hits are shorter versions of the original album releases.
In 1994 Bruce Springsteen recorded an album that was never released. His manager Jon Landau wasn't a fan of the project and recommended shelving it and focusing more on a "career overview". This lead to the Greatest Hits sessions with the E Street Band in 1995. Springsteen called the band in early January to record some new songs for the album and they assembled for the recording sessions on 09 Jan 1995 at The Hit Factory in New York City, NY. The sessions, which lasted about ten days, were the band's first studio reunion in 11 years (since the Born In The U.S.A. sessions) and their first ever with Nils Lofgren.
Greatest Hits was released on 27 Feb 1995 on Columbia Records. It was commercially successful, debuting at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 where it stayed on the chart for 32 weeks. It also peaked at #1 in Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and many European countries. By 2008 the album had sold more than four million copies in the United States.
In 2013, Sony Music reissued the album in Venezuela as part of its Star Collection series, which was made exclusively for the Venezuelan market via Sony Music Venezuela in 2013. The album is titled after the series and features totally different artwork. Just like on Greatest Hits, the songs are shorter versions of the original album releases.
In the liner notes found in the Greatest Hits booklet, Springsteen wrote about THIS HARD LAND: "I guess this kinda sums if up with one of the ones that got away. Cut in the frontier town of N.Y.C. in Jan. '95 + featuring me + the band + one of my favorite last verses."
Producer/director/photographer Ernie Fritz was given complete access to the 1995 studio sessions with the E Street Band, and part of the 23-hour footage was released on the 80-minute documentary Blood Brothers in November 1996.
The video was nominated in 1997 for a "Best Long Form Music Video" Grammy Award. The nomination was shared among video director/producer Ernie Fritz, video producer Lee Rolantz, and video producer Jack Gulick. It lost to The Beatles Anthology.
Blood Brothers premiered in the United States on 03 Mar 1996 on the Disney Channel. It was released on Laserdisc on 01 Oct 1996, VHS on 19 Nov 1996 (the packaging for which included the bonus Blood Brothers EP), and DVD on 16 Jan 2001.
In addition to the full version that was released on Greatest Hits, the documentary also shows a brief practice take of THIS HARD LAND.
List of available versions of THIS HARD LAND on this website:THIS HARD LAND [Official 1982 studio version]