ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE

Album version

Daddy got a tattoo that says,
"Born to lose"
Got a motorcycle jacket
Old blue suede shoes
Thinks time won't catch him if he don't stand still
Mama tells her son, "our life is so insane
Daddy drops in to say hello and then he's gone again.
We're only left with time to kill."

You can run but you can't hide
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive

One evening when the sun is setting red in the sky
Daddy strapped on his boots and took his bike out for a ride
Hit the open highway with no thoughts of going home
After a while she grew tired of waiting and stopped expecting anything
She's forgotten how to smile and how to sing
She could never stand to be alone
She can run but she can't hide
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive

You can run but you can't hide
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive

He starts hanging with the tough guys
Because he thinks they're cool
Starts smoking and drinking and cutting school
Mama says, "He won't listen anymore
And I don't know what to do
Since his Daddy left he hasn't been the same
He's a good boy, he's just angry
He needs someone to blame
I wonder if the old man knows what he's putting us through."
Well he can run but he can never hide
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive
Somewhere there's only lovers left alive


Page last updated: 18 Oct 2011

Intro

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is a song written by Joe Grushecky and released on Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers' 1995 album American Babylon. Bruce Springsteen produced all the album except the title track, and he participated in the recording of most of the songs. He plays guitar on ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE.

The above lyrics are transcribed from Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers studio version of ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, as released on American Babylon.

Recording Sessions

In late October and early November 1993, Bruce Springsteen (with Toby Scott recording and Bob Clearmountain mixing) produced a recording session for Joe Grushecky at Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio) in Beverly Hills, CA. Off the session, two tracks would be released on Grushecky's next album, American Babylon: CHAIN SMOKIN' and NEVER BE ENOUGH TIME. Springsteen played guitars, keyboard, and percussion on the first track, and guitar on the second. In addition to Springsteen, Grushecky's backing band for this session consisted of musicians organized by Springsteen that he is believed to have utilized for some of his own scattered studio sessions during the period: Zack Alford on drums, Jerome Smith on bass, and Leon Pendarvis on keyboards. Although originally planned as a "one-off", this session with Grushecky turned out to be the start of a major side project undertaking for Springsteen.

Around February 1994, Springsteen (with Toby Scott recording and Bob Clearmountain mixing) produced a further recording session for Joe Grushecky at Thrill Hill Recording. Off the session, one track would be released on American Babylon: HOMESTEAD, a song Springsteen and Grushecky had co-written together during the previous few months. Springsteen played guitar, harmonica, and mandolin on the track. In addition to Springsteen, Grushecky's backing band for this session consisted of musicians organized by Springsteen that he was utilizing for his own scattered studio sessions of the period: Shayne Fontaine on guitar, Zack Alford on drums, TM Stevens on bass, and Leon Pendarvis on keyboards.

Around August 1994, Springsteen (with Toby Scott recording and mixing) produced a further recording session for Joe Grushecky at Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio) in Rumson, NJ. Off the session, five tracks would be released on American Babylon: DARK AND BLOODY GROUND (with Bruce playing guitars and sharing harmony vocals), LABOR OF LOVE (with Bruce playing guitars and mandolin), WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR (with Bruce playing guitar), BILLY'S WALTZ (with Bruce playing mandolin), and ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (with Bruce playing guitar). The first was co-written by Springsteen and Grushecky. In addition to Springsteen, unlike the previous two sessions held on the west coast, the backing musicians for the east coast sessions consisted of The Houserockers, Grushecky's own Pittsburgh-based band.

Around October 1994, Springsteen (with Toby Scott recording and mixing) produced a further recording session for Joe Grushecky at Thrill Hill Recording. Off the session, three tracks would be released on American Babylon: COMIN' DOWN MARIA, TALK SHOW, and NO STRINGS ATTACHED. The Houserockers were again the session's backing band. But contrary to previous sessions, Springsteen did not play on any of these three recordings, although his wife Patti Scialfa provided backing vocals on the first track.

Although the album was essentially completed at this stage, and filed with the US Copyright Office on 13 Dec 1994, Grushecky had trouble finding an interested record company. "We got turned down by everybody, I mean everybody. That's another reason why it took so long [for release]; I didn't have any funding," Grushecky commented in an interview. "Right around the turn of the year [Dec 1994 - Jan 1995] Pinnacle UK became involved and we knew we had a home for the project".

The final overdubbing/mixing sessions for American Babylon took place around April 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, and the album was released in October 1995 on Pinnacle Records, and reissued in 2004. The album's title track, AMERICAN BABYLON, is the only one not produced by Bruce Springsteen.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

American Babylon track list:

  1. DARK AND BLOODY GROUND
  2. CHAIN SMOKIN'
  3. NEVER BE ENOUGH TIME
  4. AMERICAN BABYLON
  5. LABOR OF LOVE
  6. WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR
  7. HOMESTEAD
  8. COMIN' DOWN MARIA
  9. TALK SHOW
  10. NO STRINGS ATTACHED
  11. BILLY'S WALTZ
  12. ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE

Excerpts from all American Babylon tracks (except TALK SHOW and BILLY'S WALTZ) appear on American Babylon In Conversation, a UK-only promotional CD featuring interviews with both Grushecky and Springsteen recorded on 29 Aug 1995 at Cheers in Long Branch, NJ.

Live History

As far as it's known, Bruce Springsteen has never performed ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE live.

Credits / References

Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help and Steen Andersson (rosalita101 at Greasy Lake) for the American Babylon album scan.

Most info on the recording sessions is taken from Brucebase.

Request

If you have any corrections or additional info about this song or the American Babylon recording sessions, please contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.

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