[Male voice (spoken):] "Tokyo", take 1.
The hook hung like a shadow on a rung over Shanghai
The firemen were returning home screaming "Banzai"
And the reindeers played games
And got hurt in the rain
As I listened to the broadcast
Oh, blow me down now, Tokyo, 'cause I'm sinkin' fast
Oh oh oh oh yeah
Yeah, the legendary chaplain of the fighting 51st was getting ready to go
I said, "Padre, do you know a cheap virgin who likes to tango?"
He said, "You can try Rosa Lee
Around the corner and across the sea
Ooh, word's out that she's fast"
Well, then bust me down now, Rosie, 'cause I'm sinkin' fast
Yeah yeah yeah oh yeah
Oh ooh yeah
And the cats are sure getting fat down in the train yard
The sandman brings them dreams to ship out in boxcars
The union says, "hold
Break out the dice and the gold"
It's lunchtime at last
Whoa, stage Mama says, "George Raft's tonight on the late show"
She sits straddling a kitchen chair, really gung-ho
She shivers with chills
Wet with her slot car thrills
Hypnotically lost in the glass
And the sunrise and we all sighed
As we watch the credits pass
Oh, and the morning cloak fell down like a hoax over Sleepy Town
The garbage truck vigilantes were out making their last rounds
The inheritor sipped beer
And made fun of the queer
Threatening to kick his ass
But the bell rings, a horn blows
Pump that gas
Oh, pumping gas, ooh ooh yeah
TOKYO is a song written by Bruce Springsteen who recorded it in studio in spring 1972 (see the "London Publishing Demos" section below) and early 1973. The song, which has been performed live in 1974 and 1974, has not been officially released. The above lyrics are for a studio take of the song recorded in May or June 1972.
The song is also known under the titles "And The Band Played", "Tokyo (And The Band Played)", and "Shanghai". BORN TO WIN may be a song that evolved from TOKYO.
There is no indication to when TOKYO 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 piano. 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 transcribed from that circulating studio version of TOKYO.
According to Sony's database of Springsteen recording sessions, TOKYO was also cut on 19-20 Feb 1973 at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY. These sessions came after Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. was released, so they're more appropriately classified as The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle recording sessions.
TOKYO was a candidate track for Born To Run, as evidenced in a handwritten list of candidate tracks for Springsteen's third studio album. The list is untitled and probably dates from 1974. Springsteen referred to the song as "Shanghai" (see scan below).
The word "Tokyo" appears only once in the circulating studio version of the song but does not appear anywhere in the circulating live versions. "And The Band Played", a title under which the song is also commonly known, appears in the circulating live versions but does not appear anywhere in the circulating studio version. The studio engineer (probably Jim Cretecos) used "Tokyo" when introducing the song on the circulating studio version (see lyrics above). Additionally, the song was copyrighted in 1995 by JEC Music USA under the title "Tokyo" (registration no. PAu002008881) and in 1999 by Bruce Springsteen also under the title "Tokyo" (registration no. PAu002423545).
The song also appears on the above-mentioned handwritten list of candidate tracks for Springsteen's third studio album. Springsteen referred to the song as "Shanghai" (see scan above), a word that appears only once in the circulating studio version of the song and earlier live versions.
This website uses the title "Tokyo" since it seems to be the most correct based on the above.
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.
The studio version of TOKYO was released on the briefly-legal album Before The Fame (Pony Express Records, third issue only). See PRODIGAL SON for more details. On this release, the studio engineer's introduction to the song is edited out.
Before its release on the above album, the studio version of TOKYO has been circulating on several bootlegs, including The Early Years Volume One (Bagel Boys Records) and The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 4 (Yellow Dog Records).
TOKYO is known to have been performed at least 4 times during what is considered the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour (October 1972 to September 1973). Many of that period's setlists are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour.
TOKYO is known to have been performed at least twice during what is considered The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour (September 1973 to March 1975). Some of that period's setlists are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates during The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour.
As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's TOKYO.
List of available versions of TOKYO on this website:TOKYO [Studio version]