ZERO AND BLIND TERRY

Official studio version


The Skulls met the Pythons down at the First Street station
Alliances have been made in alleyways all across the nation
These boys live off the milk of a silver jet and the love of sweet young women
And the Pythons are down from old Englishtown and they're looking to do some living
Well the leader of the Pythons is a kid they just call Zero
Now Terry's pop says these kids are some kind of monsters
But Terry says, "No, pop, they're just plain heroes"

Zero and Terry they found the love that burns like wildfire
Now Terry's daddy understood that this Zero was no good, a child, a thief and a liar
Well from out of the darkness that breaks the dawn Zero rode like twilight
He sayd, "Tonight's the night, blind Terry, come on," Terry come on, tonight is the night
Pack your bags baby

And together they ran like reindeers through the street
Well like tomorrow the earth was gonna catch up on fire
Now Terry's dad hired some troopers to kill Zero and bring Terry back home
They crawled up in the night like firelight

Now snow-white troopers from the council of crime rode silver foxes through Terry's field
Oh they met the Pythons down on Route 9 but they refused to yield
Yeah now the Pythons fought with buzz guns and the troopers with swords like light
And Zero and Terry they ran away as the gang fought all through the night

Well now some folks say Zero and Terry got away, others said they were caught and brought back
But still them young pilgrims to this day go to that spot way down by the railroad track
Where the troopers met the pythons, old timers cry on a hot August night
If you look hard enough, if you try, you'll catch Zero and Terry and all the Pythons
Oh just hiking the streets up in the sky
Oh just walking, just hiking the streets up in the sky
Just hiking the streets up in the sky
??? the streets in the sky
Just hiking the streets in the sky
Oh just hiking the streets
Hey Zero


Info

ZERO AND BLIND TERRY is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and first released on the Tracks box set in 1998. The above lyrics are for the official studio version of ZERO AND BLIND TERRY as released in 1998.

Composition and Recording

ZERO AND BLIND TERRY was probably written in June 1973. The song uses the exact same melody as PHANTOMS.

ZERO AND BLIND TERRY was recorded during the recording sessions of The Wild, The Innocent, And The E Street Shuffle album, which were held at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY, between mid-May 1973 and mid-Sept 1973. According to Sony's database of Springsteen recording sessions, the song was cut on 28 Jun 1973 and 07 Aug 1973 at 914 Sound Studio.

Only one studio version of ZERO AND BLIND TERRY has surfaced. It first appeared on bootlegs in two mixes: the basic instrumental track and the basic recording. The final mix of the song has never circulated prior to its emergence on the Tracks box set in 1998. It includes additional solo vocal courtesy of Suki Lahav, then the wife of Louis Lahav who was Springsteen's sound engineer at the time, and who would join the E Street Band for six months as a violinist and singer staring in October 1974. Lahav overdub kicks in at 2:19 into the song and goes until 2:42, but she's not credited in the Tracks liner notes. She has been contacted about it and has confirmed that it's her. As per the Tracks liner notes, the song was recorded on 28 Jun 1973 at 914 Sound Studios and was produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos, recorded by Louis Lehav, and mixed by Ed Thacker.

ZERO AND BLIND TERRY was issued in 1974 on a US 12-inch two-sided acetate for use by Intersong Music, Springsteen's music publishing agency in the UK. The acetate contains six tracks recorded in 1973 but not released on Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. or The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle. Instead, the six songs were used as publishing demos. The version included on the acetate is the basic recording without the harmony vocals. It is this version that have circulated on various bootlegs over the year.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band "Intersong Music" acetate (side 1 label)
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band "Intersong Music" acetate (side 1 label)

According to a bonus booklet that came with the now-sold-out issue #61 (Winter 1998) of Backstreets magazine, ZERO AND BLIND TERRY was short-listed for Springsteen's third album, and was even considered early on as a possible title – "The Legend of Zero & Blind Terry" appears on a list of potential album titles Springsteen wrote in 1974.

ZERO AND BLIND TERRY was copyrighted in 1995 by JEC Music USA as "Zero and Blind Terry (version 1)" (registration no. PAu002008880) and as "Zero and Blind Terry (version 2)" (registration no. PAu002008874). It seems that JEC Music was in hold of two versions of the song – only one was released on the Before The Fame album. See PRODIGAL SON for more details about JEC Music. Bruce Springsteen copyrighted the song in 1998 under the title "Zero and blind Terry" (registration no. PA0000908544), but then he copyrighted it again in 1999 oddly under the title "Zero and blind Terry : version 1" (registration no. PAu002423544). It could be that Springsteen first copyrighted one version prior to its release on Tracks, and then copyrighted the other version that JEC Music was in hold of.

The Tracks Box Set

In the liner notes of his Tracks box set, Bruce Springsteen introduces the box set as follows:

During long intervals between my record releases, as I was spending more and more time in the studio, when I met a fan out on the street I was often asked, "What are you guys doing in there?" I regularly pondered that question myself.

What we were doing in there was making a lot of music, a lot more music than I could use at any one time. As a result, my albums became a series of choices – what to include, what to leave out? I based my decisions on my creative point of view at the moment – the subject I was trying to focus on, something musical or emotional I was trying to express. In certain instances, as on Darkness on the Edge of Town, Nebraska, and The Ghost of Tom Joad, these choices crystallized the album I was making. On some of my other records the reasons I had for choosing one song over another, in hindsight, feel a good deal less significant. One of the results of working like this was that a lot of music, including some of my favorite things, remained unreleased.

This collection contains everything from the first notes I sang in the Columbia recording studio, my early and later work with the E Street Band, through to my music in the 90s. It's the alternate route to some of the destinations I travelled to on my records, an invitation into the studio on the many nights we spent making music in search of the records we presented to you. I'm glad to finally be able to share this music; here are some of the ones that got away.

- Bruce Springsteen, September 1998

Bruce Springsteen's albums were thematically linked even if they were not strictly concept albums; so some tracks that didn't fit the theme of the album ended up orphaned, not necessarily because they didn't meet his high standards, but because, he says, they didn't fit in with the tone or themes he mined for each set. Many of these unreleased studio outtakes got under the hands of bootleggers. Discussing that issue in 1984, Springsteen told Rolling Stone's Kurt Loder, "We record a lot of material, but we just don't release it all. [...] I always tell myself that some day I'm gonna put an album out with all this stuff on it that didn't fit in. I think there's some good material there that should come out. Maybe at some point, I'll do that."

During a break in The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour, Springsteen thought that "if it's gonna be a year or longer in between records, I have all this music that I know is very good that I never released and I should release some of it whether it was just a CD or something. In that period of time, I should put something out because people would like to have it and I'd like to see it get out." He told Toby Scott (his audio archivist and recording engineer), "send me all the archives, send everything that we recorded". Scott then went to work gathering the potential material from Springsteen's massive audio library (located, along with Sony's sound archives, in the high-tech Iron Mountain facility near Buffalo, NY). "For a week or so," he told Billboard in a Nov 1998 interview, "I just listened to everything that I'd done that we hadn't put out. I made some very brief notes in a notebook, and then I just put it away. It was something that I could do at some point when I get to that place in a new project where I'm not sure how long it's going to take and it would be nice to sort of fill the gap so the fans wouldn't be so long without hearing any music from me".

Springsteen told Mark Hagen in an interview for Mojo magazine published in January 1999, "So it began just with that idea and we listened to about 250 songs, maybe more, I made quick notes in a notebook and put it away. A year went by, more maybe, and I came off the Tom Joad tour and I began to write acoustically again and I wrote about half a record. Then I got stuck and said, 'Well, I'm going to put this aside for a while.' Then I wrote half of an electric record, and hit the same place. So I thought, instead of waiting for another year to put something out I'll put some of this music together. So once again I went back to the archives." According to interview comments made by engineer Toby Scott (Springsteen's audio archivist and recording engineer), it was in February 1998 during solo sessions being conducted at Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio) in Colts Neck, NJ, that Springsteen told Scott that the time was right to proceed with the long-anticipated box set of archived, unreleased studio takes. Thrill Hill Recording served as the main operational center for all Tracks project activities. Note that the "Thrill Hill Recording" name is used for whatever home studio Springsteen is recording at, whether it's in Rumson, NJ, Colts, NJ, or Beverly Hills, CA.

Springsteen told Billboard that the songs were culled from between 200 and 300 tunes. According to Toby Scott, the number was down to about 128 songs by late June 1998. It was then narrowed down yet again in July to about 100 songs that were prepped for the Tracks release. Although the project was originally projected to be a 6-disc set, there was a commercial decision made later in the summer to reduce the size of the release to a 4-disc (66-track) set. The package was delivered to Sony in mid-September in order to facilitate the mid-November 1998 release schedule.

Unreleased songs from the Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ sessions were not included on the box set due to ongoing and still-unresolved court proceedings involving most of these unreleased 1972 recordings. The court battle wasn't resolved until in 2001 (April 2001 in the UK and June 2001 in the U.S.), and those recordings are now free for release at any time. The opening four tracks of the box set – which were culled from Springsteen's 03 May 1972 Columbia Records audition – were not part of the court proceedings.

The Tracks box set was released on Columbia Records on 10 Nov 1998, issued on both compact disc and audio cassette formats. It's a 4-disc (or 4-cassette) set consisting of a total of 66 tracks (almost 4.5 hours long), 10 of which were heretofore unavailable single B-sides, 6 were demos and alternate versions of already-released material, and 50 (48 studio and 2 live) were never-before-released songs recorded during the sessions for Springsteen's many albums. Some tracks were treated with a recent touch-up here or there to give the older recordings a fresh polish.

  • Disc 1 consists of material from 1972 to 1980, including Springsteen's very first Columbia Records audition for legendary A & R executive John Hammond. This disc also features additional songs most of which recorded for (but never released on) Springsteen's first four albums.
  • Disc 2 consists of material from 1979 to 1983, taken primarily from the recording sessions of The River, Nebraska, and Born In The U.S.A.. Springsteen describes this disc as "almost the completely other album from 'The River'."
  • Disc 3 consists of material from 1982 to 1987, taken primarily from the recording sessions of Born In The U.S.A. and Tunnel Of Love.
  • Disc 4 consists of material from 1989 to 1998, taken primarily from the recording sessions of Human Touch.
Bruce Springsteen -- Tracks
Bruce Springsteen -- Tracks

Disc 1 (CD format):

1.MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSASRecorded on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios, New York City, NY
2.IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITYRecorded on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios, New York City, NY
3.GROWIN' UPRecorded on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios, New York City, NY
4.DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET?Recorded on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios, New York City, NY
5.BISHOP DANCEDRecorded live on 31 Jan 1973 at Max's Kansas City, New York City, NY
6.SANTA ANARecorded on 28 Jun 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY
7.SEASIDE BAR SONGRecorded on 28 Jun 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY
8.ZERO AND BLIND TERRYRecorded on 28 Jun 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY
9.LINDA LET ME BE THE ONERecorded on 28 Jun 1975 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
10.THUNDERCRACKRecorded on 28 Jun 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY
11.RENDEZVOUSRecorded live on 31 Dec 1980 at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
12.GIVE THE GIRL A KISSRecorded on 10 Nov 1977 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
13.ICEMANRecorded on 27 Oct 1977 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
14.BRING ON THE NIGHTRecorded on 13 Jun 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
15.SO YOUNG AND IN LOVERecorded on 06 Jan 1978 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
16.HEARTS OF STONERecorded on 14 Oct 1977 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
17.DON'T LOOK BACKRecorded on 02 Jul 1977 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY

Disc 2 (CD format):

1.RESTLESS NIGHTSRecorded on 11 Apr 1980 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
2.A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND (PITTSBURGH)Recorded on 05 May 1982 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
3.ROULETTERecorded on 03 Apr 1978 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
4.DOLLHOUSERecorded on 21 Aug 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
5.WHERE THE BANDS ARERecorded on 09 Oct 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
6.LOOSE ENDSRecorded on 18 Jul 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
7.LIVING ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLDRecorded on 07 Dec 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
8.WAGES OF SINRecorded on 10 May 1982 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
9.TAKE 'EM AS THEY COMERecorded on 10 Apr 1980 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
10.BE TRUERecorded on 21 Jul 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
11.RICKY WANTS A MAN OF HER OWNRecorded on 16 Jul 1979 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY
12.I WANNA BE WITH YOURecorded on 31 May 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
13.MARY LOURecorded on 30 May 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
14.STOLEN CARRecorded on 26 Jul 1979 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
15.BORN IN THE U.S.A.Recorded in January 1983 at Thrill Hill Recording, Colts Neck, NJ
16.JOHNNY BYE-BYERecorded in January 1983 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, CA
17.SHUT OUT THE LIGHTRecorded in January 1983 at Thrill Hill Recording

Disc 3 (CD format):

1.CYNTHIARecorded on 20 Apr 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
2.MY LOVE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWNRecorded on 05 May 1982 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
3.THIS HARD LANDRecorded on 11 May 1982 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
4.FRANKIERecorded on 14 May 1982 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
5.TV MOVIERecorded on 13 Jun 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
6.STAND ON ITRecorded on 16 Jun 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
7.LION'S DENRecorded on 25 Jan 1982 at The Power Station, New York City, NY
8.CAR WASHRecorded on 31 May 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
9.ROCKAWAY THE DAYSRecorded on 03 Feb 1984 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
10.BROTHERS UNDER THE BRIDGES ('83)Recorded on 04 Sep 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
11.MAN AT THE TOPRecorded on 12 Jan 1984 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
12.PINK CADILLACRecorded on 31 May 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
13.TWO FOR THE ROADRecorded in February 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Colts Neck, NJ
14.JANEY DON'T YOU LOSE HEARTRecorded on 16 Jun 1983 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
15.WHEN YOU NEED MERecorded on 10 Jan 1987 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
16.THE WISHRecorded on 22 Feb 1987 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
17.THE HONEYMOONERSRecorded on 22 Feb 1987 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
18.LUCKY MANRecorded on 04 Apr 1987 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY

Disc 4 (CD format):

1.LEAVIN' TRAINRecorded on 27 Feb 1990 at Oceanway Studios, Los Angeles, CA
2.SEVEN ANGELSRecorded on 29 Jun 1990 at Oceanway Studios, Los Angeles, CA
3.GAVE IT A NAMERecorded on 24 Aug 1998 at Thrill Hill Recording, Colts Neck, NJ
4.SAD EYESRecorded on 25 Jan 1990 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles, CA
5.MY LOVER MANRecorded on 04 Dec 1990 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles, CA
6.OVER THE RISERecorded on 07 Dec 1990 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles, CA
7.WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUTRecorded on 06 Dec 1990 at The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA
8.LOOSE CHANGERecorded on 31 Jan 1991 at Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA
9.TROUBLE IN PARADISERecorded on 01 Dec 1989 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles, CA
10.HAPPYRecorded on 18 Jan 1992 at A & M Studios, Los Angeles, CA
11.PART MAN, PART MONKEYRecorded in January 1990 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles, CA
12.GOIN' CALIRecorded on 29 Jan 1991 at A & M Studios, Los Angeles, CA
13.BACK IN YOUR ARMSRecorded on 12 Jan 1995 at The Hit Factory, New York City, NY
14.BROTHERS UNDER THE BRIDGERecorded on 22 May 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, CA

Unofficial Releases

The basic recording (without the harmony vocals) of the studio version of ZERO AND BLIND TERRY was released on the briefly-legal album Before The Fame (Pony Express Records, third issue only). See PRODIGAL SON for more details.

Bruce Springsteen -- Before The Fame (Pony Express Records, third issue)
Bruce Springsteen -- Before The Fame (Pony Express Records, third issue)

Bootleg Releases

Before its release on the above albums, the basic recording (without the harmony vocals) of the studio version of ZERO AND BLIND TERRY has been circulating on some bootlegs, including Fire On The Fingertips (LP, unknown label) and Forgotten Songs (Traveling Productions).

Bruce Springsteen -- Fire On The Fingertips (LP, unknown label)
Bruce Springsteen -- Fire On The Fingertips (LP, unknown label)
Bruce Springsteen -- Forgotten Songs (Traveling Productions)
Bruce Springsteen -- Forgotten Songs (Traveling Productions)

The basic instrumental track of ZERO AND BLIND TERRY has been circulating on some bootlegs, including Born In The Studio (Archive Productions) and The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 5 (Yellow Dog Records).

Bruce Springsteen -- Born In The Studio (Archive Productions)
Bruce Springsteen -- Born In The Studio (Archive Productions)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 5 (Yellow Dog Records)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 5 (Yellow Dog Records)

Live History: on-tour

ZERO AND BLIND TERRY is known to have been performed at least once during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour. Very little is known about the 1972 and 1973 shows, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates.

ZERO AND BLIND TERRY is known to have been performed at least 4 times during The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour. Some of that period's setlists are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates.

ZERO AND BLIND TERRY was performed once during the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour, on the very last date. See the live 22 Nov 2005 version for more info.

Live History: off-tour

ZERO AND BLIND TERRY was performed off-tour on 27 Jul 1973 at Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, CA, during a private three-day sales convention for CBS Records.

  1. 27 Jul 1973 at Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, CA

Covers

As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's ZERO AND BLIND TERRY.

References

Some of the above info about the live performances is taken from Brucebase.

Available Versions

List of available versions of ZERO AND BLIND TERRY on this website:

ZERO AND BLIND TERRY [Official studio version]
ZERO AND BLIND TERRY [Live 23 Jul 1973 (early show) version]
ZERO AND BLIND TERRY [Live 31 Oct 1973 (late show) version]
ZERO AND BLIND TERRY [Live 06 Jan 1974 version]
ZERO AND BLIND TERRY [Live 22 Nov 2005 version]

Page last updated: 13 Oct 2013