Album's version

In the summer that I was baptized, my father held me to his side
As they put me to the water, he said how on that day I cried
We were prisoners of love, a love in chains
He was standin' in the door, I was standin' in the rain
With the same hot blood burning in our veins
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)

All of the old faces ask you why you're back
They fit you with position and the keys to your daddy's Cadillac
In the darkness of your room your mother calls you by your true name
You remember the faces, the places, the names
You know it's never over, it's relentless as the rain
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)

In the Bible, mamma, Cain slew Abel and East of Eden, mamma, he was cast
You're born into this life paying for the sins of somebody else's past
Well Daddy worked his whole life for nothing but the pain
Now he walks these empty rooms looking for something to blame
But you inherit the sins, you inherit the flames
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)

Lost but not forgotten from the dark heart of a dream
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain (yeah)
Adam raised a Cain
(Adam raised a Cain)
(Whooaaaaaa) - Yeah!
(Whooaaaaaa) - Yeah!
(Whooaaaaaa) - Yeah!
[fades out]

From the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album, this is an "emotionally autobiographical" song as Bruce calls it. It is a dark track detailing the complicated relationship between Bruce and his father Douglas Springsteen, a relation that's bitter, dramatic, but loving in its painful way. The aggression and anger on this track will later diminish in later songs, from INDEPENDENCE DAY to LONG TIME COMIN', of which Christopher Phillips writes in Backstreets Magazine #83/84:

"Adam Raised a Cain" is the main reference point here, as "Long Time Comin'" spits in the face of that song's "You know it's never over, it's relentless as the rain." Compare "You're born into this life paying for the sins of somebody else's past" with "Well, if I had one wish in this godforsaken world, kids / It'd be that your sins would be your own."

Bruce wrote this song during his lawsuit with former manager Mike Appel, when he was living in a farm in Holmdel, NJ. From his introduction to INDEPENDENCE DAY during the 19 Dec 1978 show at Paramount Theatre, Portland, OR, one can conclude that the song was written around late 1976 or early 1977. Spoken intro:

...This is a song called "Independence Day", and this is, uh, wrote it about two years ago. It was originally gonna be on the "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" album, and it was sort of like the, the thing that I wrote around the same time around "Raised A Cain"...

ADAM RAISED A CAIN -- as much others songs from the album -- is inspired by Elia Kazan's 1955 movie, East Of Eden, which is the film adaptation John Steinbeck's novel by the same title. The movie deals with a repeated father-and-sons story that mirrors a lot of Genesis [read about this movie below].

It is reported that Bruce's work-in-progress title was "Daddy Raised A Cain". The track that appears on the album was cut in Oct or Nov 1977 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY, but an earlier recording from Aug 1977 at Atlantic Studios, New York City, NY, is in circulation. Check out the outtake version.

The song appeared for the first time during the Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour rehearsals on 19 May 1978 at the Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, NJ. It was then played a total of 36 times during that tour. At the beginning of the tour, the song was regularly included on the setlist, but it then started to be dropped out more and more, and the 15 Sep 1978 show at the Palladium, New York City, NY, became the last time the song was played on that tour. Note that not all Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour setlists are known -- this means that ADAM RAISED A CAIN might have been played more than 36 times during that tour. The 07 Jul 1978 performance at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, CA, was later included on the Live/1975-85 box set. See the live 07 Jul 1978 version.

Director John Sayles used ADAM RAISED A CAIN, IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY, SHE'S THE ONE, and THE E STREET SHUFFLE in the soundtrack of his 1983 movie Baby It's You [read about this movie below]. This was the first movie authorized to include Springsteen music in the soundtrack. Sayles told Backstreets Magazine that year, "We sent him the script and he really liked it. He sent his manager to see it and then Bruce said we could have [the songs]. We didn't even have to pay a whole bunch of money for them. I was really honored." The relation continues through the years, as Sayles would direct Springsteen's videos for BORN IN THE USA in 1984 and I'M ON FIRE and GLORY DAYS in 1985. Bruce would later write LIFT ME UP for John Sayles' 1999 film Limbo.

The song was performed during every show on the Tunnel Of Love tour. Starting on the 19 Jun 1988 show at Hippodrome De Vincennes, Paris, France, lyrics from Muddy Waters' MANNISH BOY were added to the end of ADAM RAISED A CAIN. Compare the live 28 Feb 1988 version with the live 28 Jun 1988 version.

The 1993 part of the Human Touch tour had Bruce playing a 3-songs (sometimes 4) solo acoustic set at the beginning of each show before the band joins in afterwards. 21 times (out of the 28 1993 tour shows), ADAM RAISED A CAIN was part of that set. It was the second song, always preceded by either by SEEDS or DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, and always followed by THIS HARD LAND, except once when it was followed by SATAN'S JEWEL CROWN on 14 May 1993 at Waldbuhne, Berlin, Germany. The song was performed on 24 Jun 1993 at Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, NJ, during the Concert To Fight Hunger, again, as part of a 4-song acoustic set opening the show (I AIN'T GOT NO HOME / SEEDS / ADAM RAISED A CAIN / THIS HARD LAND). Check out the live 01 Jun 1993 version.

The song was played on 28 Oct 1995 at Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA, during the 1995 Bridge School Benefit Concert.

The song appeared 80 times during The Ghost Of Tom Joad tour; it was performed during the tour warm-up gig on 21 Nov 1995 at State Theater, New Brunswick, NJ, and 79 times on-tour. It was a regular inclusion on the first 55 shows (including the warm-up gig), always as the second track on the setlist (preceded by THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD and followed by STRAIGHT TIME). During most of the remaining 74 shows of the tour, ATLANTIC CITY replaced the song on the setlist. ADAM RAISED A CAIN was only performed 25 times, and not always on the same spot on the setlist. Check out the live 11 Feb 1997 version.

Played 15 times during the Reunion tour:

  • 06 Aug 1999 at Continental Arena, East Rutherford, NJ (show opener)
  • 22 Aug 1999 at Fleetcenter, Boston, MA (show opener)
  • 27 Aug 1999 at Fleetcenter, Boston, MA
  • 31 Aug 1999 at MCI Center, Washington, DC
  • 01 Sep 1999 at MCI Center, Washington, DC (show opener - check out the live 01 Sep 1999 version)
  • 20 Sep 1999 at First Union Center, Philadelphia, PA
  • 30 Sep 1999 at United Center, Chicago, IL
  • 21 Oct 1999 at Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • 23 Oct 1999 at Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • 28 Oct 1999 at Oakland Arena, Oakland, CA (show opener)
  • 10 Nov 1999 at Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
  • 19 Nov 1999 at Marina Midland Arena, Buffalo, NY
  • 19 Mar 2000 at New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA
  • 26 Apr 2000 at Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 27 Jun 2000 at Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY

The bonus featurette on the Live In New York City DVD includes a snippet (guitar solo part) of ADAM RAISED A CAN from the 27 Jun 2000 show at Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY.

During The Rising tour, the song was reported to be sound-checked on 22 Sep 2002 at Pepsi Center, Denver, CO, but was not played on that show. It was later played 5 times on-tour the following year:

  • 26 Jul 2003 at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (show opener)
  • 02 Aug 2003 at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA (show opener)
  • 09 Aug 2003 at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA (show opener)
  • 13 Aug 2003 at US Cellular Field, Chicago, IL (show opener)
  • 07 Sep 2003 at Fenway Park, Boston, MA

Also played during the DoubleTake magazine benefit shows, on 19 and 20 Feb 2003 at Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA. Check out the live 19 Feb 2003 version.

The song was reported to be rehearsed for the Devils & Dust tour, on 11 Apr 20005 at Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, NJ. It was then played 4 times on-tour. It was played on acoustic guitar, except on 28 Jun 2005 when it was played on banjitar. (A banjitar is a banjo/guitar hybrid. It's a six-stringed instrument with banjo body and guitar neck, which plays like a guitar, but sounds like a banjo.):

  • 19 Jun 2005 at Ahoy, Rotterdam, Holland (show opener)
  • 28 Jun 2005 at ICC, Berlin, Germany (show opener)
  • 09 Nov 2005 at Wachovia Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
  • 11 Nov 2005 at Constant Convocation Center, Norfolk, VA

The song was reported to be rehearsed by Bruce with his Seeger Sessions Band on 16, 20, and 21 Mar and 06 Apr 2006 at the Paramount Theater, Asbury Park, NJ, and 12 Apr 2006 at the Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ. It was played during the first and fourth of the 4 public rehearsal shows for The Seeger Sessions tour -- 20 and 26 Apr 2006 at the Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ. Also played on-tour, starting on the opening show -- 05 May 2006 at The Point, Dublin, Ireland.

ADAM RAISED A CAIN was covered by Sandra Stephens on the various artists tribute album Made In The U.S.A. - Tribute To Bruce Springsteen, [CD - Purple Pyramid (CLP 1049-2) - UK - 2001]

The above lyrics refer to the album's version. Check out the outtake version (different lyrics), live 07 Jul 1978 version, live 28 Feb 1988 version, live 28 Jun 1988 version, live 01 Jun 1993 version, live 11 Feb 1997 version, live 01 Sep 1999 version, and live 19 Feb 2003 version.

Info about the motion picture East Of Eden (also known as John Steinbeck's East Of Eden):

East Of Eden is an acknowledged classic, and the starring debut of James Dean lifts it to legendary status. John Steinbeck's novel gave director Elia Kazan a perfect Cain-and-Abel showcase for Dean's iconic screen persona, casting the brooding star as Cal, the younger of two brothers vying for the love of their Bible-thumping father (Raymond Massey) in Monterey, California, at the dawn of World War I. Massey is a lettuce farmer, striving for market domination with an ill-fated refrigeration scheme. Having discovered that his presumed-dead mother (Oscar winner Jo Van Fleet) is a brothel owner in nearby Salinas, Cal convinces her to finance an investment that will restore his father's lost fortune, but neither money nor the tenderness of his brother's fianc�e (Julie Harris) can assuage Cal's anguished need for paternal acceptance that comes nearly too late. Kazan's oblique camera angles and Dean's tortured emoting may seem extreme by latter-day standards, but their theatrics make East Of Eden a timeless tale of family secrets and hard-won affection. --Jeff Shannon (

Starring: Julie Harris, James Dean, Raymond Massey, Burl Ives, Richard Davalos
Directed by: Elia Kazan
US theatrical release date: 10 Apr 1955

Info about the motion picture Baby It's You:

Like Grease without the song and dance, Baby It's You is a coming-of-age story about two mismatched lovers -- Jill (Rosanna Arquette), a popular Jewish student about to go to college, and Sheik (Vincent Spano), an Italian trashman's son nicknamed after a condom brand. Beginning with the characters' love affair in a New Jersey high school in the 1960s, the film doesn't stop at senior prom night; instead, the film follows their complicated relationship as Jill goes to a woman's college and Sheik attempts to make it as a singer in Florida. The film, which director John Sayles considers one of his most autobiographical, was the first picture he made with financing from a major studio. After viewing Sayles's cut of the film, Paramount wanted to reedit the film to focus only on the characters' romance in high school. Sayles threatened to take his name off the project, and after the studio cut of the film did not test better with focus groups, his version of the film prevailed. Featuring Arquette in her first starring role, Baby It's You is an unsentimental look at one cross-class relationship.

Starring: Rosanna Arquette, Vincent Spano, Joanna Merlin, Jack Davidson, Nick Ferrari, Tracy Pollan, Robert Downey Jr., Fisher Stevens
Directed by: John Sayles
US theatrical release date: 04 Mar 1983