LAST TO DIE

Album version

We took the highway till the road went black
We'd marked Truth Or Consequences on our map
A voice drifted up from the radio
And I thought of a voice from long ago

Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break
Who'll be the last to die for a mistake

The kids asleep in the backseat
We're just counting the miles, you and me
We don't measure the blood we've drawn anymore
We just stack the bodies outside the door

Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break
Who'll be the last to die for a mistake

The wise men were all fools, what to do

The sun sets in flames as the city burns
Another day gone down as the night turns
And I hold you here in my heart
As things fall apart

A downtown window flushed with light
Faces of the dead at five (faces of the dead at five)
Our martyr's silent eyes
Petition the drivers as we pass by

Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break
Who'll be the last to die

Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Darling your tyrants and kings fall to the same fate
Strung up at your city gates
And you're the last to die for a mistake


Page last updated: 23 Sep 2013

Intro

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, LAST TO DIE is the ninth track on his 2007 album Magic.

The above lyrics are for Springsteen's studio version of LAST TO DIE as released on Magic.

Composition and Recording

Considering Bruce Springsteen's outspoken support for senator John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, there is no question question that he was aware of Kerry's words when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during hearings on that war on 23 Apr 1971. Upon returning from his service in Vietnam, the 27-year-old decorated naval veteran said during his statement, "Someone has to die so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, 'the first President to lose a war.' We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Kerry's statement obviously inspired the Springtsteen song in which he repeleatedly asks, "Who'll be the last to die for a mistake?"

"Truth or Consequences" is the name of a town in New Mexico.

It's unknown when exactly LAST TO DIE was written, but the song was recorded during the Magic recording sessions which took place between March and May 2007 at Southern Tracks Studios in Atlanta, GA. Soozie Tyrell contributes violin on this track.

Magic

Magic is Bruce Springsteen's fifteenth studio album. It was released on 02 Oct 2007 on Columbia Records. The album was officially announced, along with its track listing, on 16 Aug 2007. It was produced by Brendan O'Brien and was recorded between March and May 2007 at Southern Tracks Studios in Atlanta, GA.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

Magic was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album but failed to win. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, becoming Springsteen's eighth number one album in the U.S. and selling about 335,000 copies in its first week. In addition to the U.S., Magic peaked at number one in several European countries including the UK.

The album features 12 new Bruce Springsteen compositions and clocks at 50:48. The twelfth track is bonus hidden track that was added to the album two weeks after the album was announced.

Magic track list:

  1. RADIO NOWHERE
  2. YOU'LL BE COMIN' DOWN
  3. LIVIN' IN THE FUTURE
  4. YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY
  5. GYPSY BIKER
  6. GIRLS IN THEIR SUMMER CLOTHES
  7. I'LL WORK FOR YOUR LOVE
  8. MAGIC
  9. LAST TO DIE
  10. LONG WALK HOME
  11. DEVIL'S ARCADE
  12. TERRY'S SONG [hidden track]

The album is also available as a vinyl record.

Live History

In preparation for the Magic Tour, LAST TO DIE was performed during all of the tour's three public warm-up rehearsal shows that took place in September 2007 in Asbury Park and East Rutherford. The song is also known to have been practiced during at least 5 of the private rehearsals that took place in September 2007 in Asbury Park prior to the tour's first leg, and during at least one of the private rehearsals that took place in February 2008 in Asbury Park prior to the tour's second U.S. leg.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Magic Tour rehearsals performances list]

LAST TO DIE was performed 100 times during the 100-date-long Magic Tour; that is each and every one of the tour's regular dates. The song was played in its full-band album arrangement. The 30 Aug 2008 performance was during Harley-Davidson's 105th Anniversary Celebration.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Magic Tour performances list]

LAST TO DIE was performed on the morning of 28 Sep 2007 at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, NY, during Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's live broadcast on The Today Show. The song was played in its full-band album arrangement. See the live 28 Sep 2007 (morning) version for more details.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2007 off-tour performances list]

In preparation for the Working On A Dream Tour, LAST TO DIE is known to have been practiced during at least one of the private rehearsals that took place in March 2009 in Asbury Park prior to the tour's first leg.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Working On A Dream Tour rehearsals performances list]

LAST TO DIE was performed 3 times during the 83-date-long Working On A Dream Tour, all in North America in the first half of October 2009. All three performances of the song featured Curt Ramm on trumpet.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Working On A Dream Tour performances list]

LAST TO DIE was performed once during the 133-date-long Wrecking Ball Tour, on 20 Mar 2013 in Sydney, Australia.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Wrecking Ball Tour performances list]

Covers

As far as it's known, only one artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's LAST TO DIE:


Pet Shop Boys -- Electric

CD - X2 (0003 CD1) - EU, 2013
LP - X2 (0003 VL1) - EU, 2013
CD - X2 (0003 CD1) - USA, 2013
LP - X2 (0003 VL1) - USA, 2013

See Pet Shop Boys' cover version for more details.

Available Versions

List of available versions of LAST TO DIE on this website:

Credits

Thanks Keith and Ugo C for the lyrics corrections. Thanks David Varet for the info about the John Kerry statement.