Studio version

Vibes man in the alley, play me your spitball serenade
Any deeper blue and you'll be playing in your grave
Save your notes, spend them on your blues, boy
Help your darlin' yearlin' blues, boy
Hit the church note, ring it
Vibes man, sting a trashcan, hear your junkman, singing

Fish lady, don't you bait those tenement walls
Don't take corner boys, because they're too easy
You were born black and blue
You didn't have to wait for somebody to hit you

Take my arm, I'll move with you down Broadway
Take my arm, oh, honey, I'm 'a walk with you down Broadway
I'm a young man, and I'll be proud
And I can talk real loud
And I'm from out of town, too

Won't you come home with me?
Won't you come home with me?
But no, 'cause she won't take a train
Oh, she won't take that train
She won't take a train
No, she won't take that train
She won't take a train
Oh, no, she won't take that train
Lord, she won't take a train
Oh, ah, no, she won't that that train
You won't take the train
She won't take the train
Cause she's afraid those tracks are gonna slow her down
And when she turns around
I'm gonna be gone like the notes in any man's song


VIBES MAN is a song written by Bruce Springsteen who recorded it in studio in Spring 1972 (see the "London Publishing Demos" section below). He would merge it in mid-1973 with his early 1973 composition NEW YORK SONG to create NEW YORK CITY SERENADE. The song has not yet been officially released. The above lyrics are transcribed from the only known studio version of VIBES MAN.

Composition and Recording

There is no indication to when VIBES MAN 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 VIBES MAN.

According to Sony's database of Springsteen recording sessions, VIBES MAN 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.

In jazz, "vibes" is a slang word for Vibraphone, a percussion musical instrument.

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.

Unofficial Releases

VIBES MAN 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, VIBES MAN 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 VIBES MAN can be found on several bootlegs, including The Demo Tapes (Traveling Productions), The Early Years Volume One (Bagel Boys Records), and The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 4 (Yellow Dog Records). The song is also included on The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 2 (Yellow Dog Records) but on that version audience clapping has been spliced onto the end of the song by a bootlegger years ago in order to fake a live performance.

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)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 4 (Yellow Dog Records)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 4 (Yellow Dog Records)

Live History

As far as it's known, Bruce Springsteen has never performed VIBES MAN live.


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


Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.

Available Versions

List of available versions of VIBES MAN on this website:

VIBES MAN [Studio version]

Page last updated: 13 Oct 2013