LOST IN THE FLOOD

Album version


The ragamuffin gunner is returnin' home like a hungry runaway
He walks through town all alone
"He must be from the fort," he hears the high school girls say
This countryside's burnin' with wolfmen fairies dressed in drag for homicide
They hit and run, plead sanctuary, 'neath the holy stone they hide
They're breakin' beams and crosses with a spastic's reelin' perfection
Nuns run bald through Vatican halls pregnant, pleadin' immaculate conception
And everybody's wrecked on Main Street from drinking unholy blood
Sticker smiles sweet as gunner breathes deep, his ankles caked in mud
And I said, "Hey, gunner man, that's quicksand, that's quicksand that ain't mud
Have you thrown your senses to the war or did you lose them in the flood?"

That pure American brother, dull-eyed and empty-faced
Races Sundays in Jersey in a Chevy stock super eight
He rides her low on the hip, on the side he's got Bound For Glory in red, white and blue flash paint
He leans on the hood telling racin' stories, the kids call him Jimmy The Saint
Well that blaze and noise boy, he's gunnin' that bitch loaded to blastin' point
He rides headfirst into a hurricane and disappears into a point
And there's nothin' left but some blood where the body fell
That is, nothin' left that you could sell
Just junk all across the horizon, a real highwayman's farewell
And I said, "Hey kid, you think that's oil? Man, that ain't oil, that's blood"
I wonder what he was thinking when he hit that storm
Or was he just lost in the flood?

Eighth Avenue sailors in satin shirts whisper in the air
Some storefront incarnation of Maria, she's puttin' on me the stare
And Bronx's best apostle stands with his hand on his own hardware
Everything stops, you hear five quick shots, the cops come up for air
And now the whiz-bang gang from uptown, they're shootin' up the street
Whoa, that cat from the Bronx starts lettin' loose, but he gets blown right off his feet
Oh, and some kid comes blastin' round the corner, but a cop puts him right away
He lays on the street holding his leg screaming something in Spanish
Still breathing when I walked away
And somebody said, "Hey man, did you see that? His body hit the street with such a beautiful thud"
I wonder what the dude was sayin', or was he just lost in the flood?
Well, hey man, did you see that, lord, those poor cats are sure messed up
I wonder what they were gettin' into, or were they all just lost in the flood?
Were they lost, oh, tell me, tell me, man
Were they lost?


Info

LOST IN THE FLOOD is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and released on his debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.. The above lyrics are for Bruce Springsteen's album version of LOST IN THE FLOOD as released in 1973.

Composition and Recording

LOST IN THE FLOOD was recorded during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. album recording sessions, sometime between early July and early September 1972 at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY. Bruce Springsteen sings vocals on this track, and is backed by Vini Lopez on drums, David Sancious on piano and organ, and Garry Tallent on electric bass. The track also features dubbed sound effects courtesy of Steve Van Zandt added later in the sessions, including the opening "thunder crack" which Steve created by dropping an amplifier on a concrete floor. That was Van Zandt's sole contribution to the recording of the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. album. LOST IN THE FLOOD, as well as the whole album, was produced by Mike Appel and Jimmy Cretecos.

According to Sony's database of Springsteen recording sessions, LOST IN THE FLOOD was cut on 27 Jun 1972 at 914 Sound Studios.

LOST IN THE FLOOD appears on a Springsteen handwritten song list that was put up for auction in December 2013 on GottaHaveRockAndRoll.com. This is most probably a list of songs that Springsteen was considering taking into the studio at the very early stages of the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. recording sessions (July 1972).

1972 handwritten song list
1972 handwritten song list

Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

After signing the contract with CBS Records, Laurel Canyon Productions was to receive an immediate cash advance from CBS and this money was to be used to pay for the studio time to record Springsteen' debut album. A delay by CBS in delivering the advance money to Laurel Canyon Productions resulted in delaying the sessions till early July 1972. During June Springsteen had finalized the selection of the musicians that would be used for the initial sessions. The musicians chosen, with an ok from Appel and Cretecos, constituted the entire line-up of the former Bruce Springsteen Band: David Sancious on keyboards, Gary Tallent on bass, Vini Lopez on drums, and Steve Van Zandt on quitar. Van Zandt ended up partaking in almost none of the 914 Sound Studios band sessions because of a prior commitment to tour as a member of The Dovells backing group.

The recording sessions for Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. spanned a period of five months, from early June to late October 1972 (the majority were in June), and they all took place at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY. The core "band" sessions were completed in only about two weeks. No unreleased band recordings from the debut album sessions have surfaced. Following these band sessions the various band members scattered. It should be noted that Springsteen had not decided to form a touring band at this stage.

Springsteen spent the next few weeks recording solo material. It was during this period that differences of opinion surfaced about what material was going to dominate the eventually released album. There were two sides in this disagreement: Mike Appel and John Hammond wanted a solo-dominated LP while Jim Cretecos was in favor of a band-dominated one. Springsteen was undecided at first, but soon sided with Cretecos. Appel later said that he was so impressed by Bruce's lyrics and told him, "Who needs a band when you can write lyrics like that?" In early August a compromise was reached and the album track selection was decided upon, featuring five band recordings (DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET?, GROWIN' UP, IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY, FOR YOU, and LOST IN THE FLOOD) and five solo recordings (THE ANGEL, MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS, JAZZ MUSICIAN, ARABIAN NIGHTS, and VISITATION AT FORT HORN). On 10 Aug 1972 Laurel Canyon transferred the sound recording copyrights to these ten songs to CBS. It seemed the album was finalized, but when then CBS president Clive Davis listened to the tracks he commented that not only did he prefer the band tracks, but he also felt the album lacked a potential hit single. In essence Davis was siding with Springsteen's vision of the album as being more rock-orientated.

In August 1972 Springsteen composed two more commercial-sounding songs, BLINDED BY THE LIGHT and SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT. Consequently a further "band" session was required. However both Sancious and Tallent, then-employed at Alpha Sound Studios in Richmond, NJ, were unable to return to New York to record. Bruce wished to incorporate saxophone in both new songs and contacted Clarence Clemons, a then-member of Norman Seldin & The Joyful Noyze. So the studio session line-up for these two songs was Clemons, Lopez, and Springsteen who played all other instruments, except for the piano on BLINDED BY THE LIGHT which was handled by Harold Wheeler. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT and SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT were completed by early September. These two band recordings bumped three solo recordings: JAZZ MUSICIAN, ARABIAN NIGHTS, and VISITATION AT FORT HORN. Therefore the final album was reduced from 10 tracks to 9, encompassing 7 band tracks and 2 solo tracks. Columbia Records' original intention was to release the album in late November 1972, but decided the album might get overlooked among the massive amount of pre-Christmas releases so the LP was held back for until early January.

Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. was released on Columbia Records on 05 Jan 1973. It was produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos. The album received mixed but mostly positive reviews and some critics found it under-produced, as Appel and Cretecos tried to spend as little as possible from Columbia's $65,000 advance and recording budget. The album sold 25,000 copies only in its first year of release and did not chart until the summer of 1975 when the hype over the BORN TO RUN single attracted buyers to Springsteen's earlier albums.

Bruce Springsteen -- Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.
Bruce Springsteen -- Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

The album features 9 new Springsteen compositions and clocks at 37:08.

Other Official Releases

Other versions of LOST IN THE FLOOD were also officially released.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Hammersmith Odeon, London '75
The live 18 Nov 1975 version of LOST IN THE FLOOD was released on the Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 album and home video in 2005.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live In New York City (album cover art)
The live 01 Jul 2000 version of LOST IN THE FLOOD was released on the Live In New York City album and home video in 2001.
Bruce Springsteen -- Schottenstein Center, Ohio 2005
The live 31 Jul 2005 version of LOST IN THE FLOOD was released on the Schottenstein Center, Ohio 2005 official live download in 2015.
live.brucespringsteen.net
Audio recordings for most High Hopes Tour shows were officially released on live.brucespringsteen.net. These include two versions of LOST IN THE FLOOD.

  1. 08 Apr 2014 at U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati, OH
  2. 14 May 2014 at Hersheypark Stadium, Hershey, PA

Live History

LOST IN THE FLOOD is known to have been performed at least 5 times during what is considered the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour (October 1972 to September 1973). Many of that period's setlists are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour. On this tour, the song was played in a full-band version, similar to the album version but even slower and more dirge-like.

  1. 14 Feb 1973 at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
  2. 26 Feb 1973 at The Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA
  3. 02 Mar 1973 at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, CA
  4. 03 Mar 1973 at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, CA
  5. 14 Jun 1973 at Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY

LOST IN THE FLOOD is known to have been performed at least 10 times during what is considered The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour (September 1973 to March 1975). Some of that period's setlists are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates during The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour. In the 1973 part of the tour, the song was performed in a full-band version, featuring a dramatic, extended piano intro by David Sancious (see the live 31 Oct 1973 (late show) version). In the 1974 part of the tour, the song was performed in a full-band version, featuring a new dramatic, extended piano intro led by Roy Bittan on piano but including the full band, which bears a strong resemblance to the one which would accompany IT'S MY LIFE on later tours (see the live 19 Oct 1974 version).

  1. 30 Oct 1973 (late show) at The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA
  2. 31 Oct 1973 (late show) at The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA
  3. 19 Sep 1974 (early show) at The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA
  4. 20 Sep 1974 at Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA
  5. 04 Oct 1974 at Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY
  6. 05 Oct 1974 at Albright College, Reading, PA
  7. 11 Oct 1974 at Shady Grove Music Fair, Gaithersburg, MD
  8. 12 Oct 1974 at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
  9. 19 Oct 1974 at Union College, Schenectady, NY
  10. 08 Nov 1974 at Ritz Music Hall, Corpus Christi, TX

LOST IN THE FLOOD is known to have been performed at least 17 times during the Born To Run Tour (73 know dates / 81 known shows, July to December 1975). Some of that period's setlists are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates during the Born To Run Tour, the November to December 1975 period in particular. On this tour, the song was played in a full-band arrangement, featuring a piano intro and outro by Roy Bittan and a number of revamped lyrics. The live 18 Nov 1975 version of LOST IN THE FLOOD was released on the Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 album and home video in 2005.

  1. 18 Nov 1975 at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England
  2. 21 Nov 1975 at Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 23 Nov 1975 at RAI Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  4. 24 Nov 1975 at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England
  5. 02 Dec 1975 at Music Hall, Boston, MA
  6. 03 Dec 1975 at Music Hall, Boston, MA
  7. 05 Dec 1975 at Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  8. 06 Dec 1975 at Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  9. 10 Dec 1975 at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA
  10. 11 Dec 1975 at Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ
  11. 12 Dec 1975 at C.W. Post College, Greenvale, NY
  12. 16 Dec 1975 at State University Of New York, Oswego, NY
  13. 17 Dec 1975 at Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, NY
  14. 19 Dec 1975 at Théâtre Maisonneuve, Montreal, Canada
  15. 20 Dec 1975 at National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Canada
  16. 21 Dec 1975 at Seneca College, Toronto, Canada
  17. 27 Dec 1975 at Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA

LOST IN THE FLOOD is known to have been performed at least three times during the Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour (111 dates, May 1978 to January 1979), all in a period of less than a week. A few setlists from that period are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song may have been played on some more dates during the Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour. On this tour, the song was played in a solo piano arrangement on this tour; these were the first solo performances of the song.

  1. 28 Aug 1978 at Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA
  2. 30 Aug 1978 at Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, OH
  3. 01 Sep 1978 at Masonic Temple Theatre, Detroit, MI

LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed one time during what is known as The Reunion Tour (132 dates, April 1999 to July 2000), on the tour's very last show. The song was played in a full-band arrangement that featured a piano intro and outro by Roy Bittan. The 01 Jul 2000 performance of LOST IN THE FLOOD was officially released in 2001 on the Live In New York City album and home video. See the live 01 Jul 2000 version for more details.

LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed 3 times during The Rising Tour (120 dates, August 2002 to October 2003). The first performance was a solo piano rendition featuring a vocal intro and outro sung by Bruce, while the remaining two were a full-band renditions featuring a violin intro and outro by Soozie Tyrell.

In preparation for the Vote For Change Tour, LOST IN THE FLOOD is known to have been practiced during two of the tour's three private rehearsals that took place from 27 to 29 Sep 2004 in Asbury Park.

  1. 27 Sep 2004 at Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ (private rehearsal)
  2. 28 Sep 2004 at Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ (private rehearsal)

LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed once during the Vote For Change Tour (7 dates, October 2004), on 01 Oct 2004 in Philadelphia, PA. This was the opening date of Springsteen's Vote For Change tour. The song was played in a full-band arrangement featuring a violin-and-vocal intro and outro by Soozie Tyrell and Bruce. See the live 01 Oct 2004 version for more details.

In preparation for the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour, LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed during one of the tour's two public warm-up rehearsal shows that took place in April 2005 in Asbury Park. The song is also known to have been practiced during at least one of the private rehearsals that took place in March and April 2005 in Asbury Park prior to the tour's first leg.

  1. 20 Apr 2005 at Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, NJ (private rehearsal)
  2. 21 Apr 2005 at Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, NJ (public rehearsal)

LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed 15 times during the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour (72 dates, April to November 2005). The song was played in a solo piano arrangement featuring an outro, and sometimes additionally an intro. The live 31 Jul 2005 version of LOST IN THE FLOOD was released on the Schottenstein Center, Ohio 2005 official live download in 2015.

  1. 07 Jun 2005 at Datch Forum, Milan, Italy
  2. 15 Jun 2005 at Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany
  3. 14 Jul 2005 at Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Canada
  4. 20 Jul 2005 at Arena At Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, CT
  5. 23 Jul 2005 at Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
  6. 31 Jul 2005 at Value City Arena, Columbus, OH
  7. 10 Aug 2005 at Rose Garden Theater Of The Clouds, Portland, OR
  8. 04 Oct 2005 at Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, NJ
  9. 07 Oct 2005 at Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT
  10. 09 Oct 2005 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
  11. 15 Oct 2005 at Dane County Arena At Alliant Center, Madison, WI
  12. 20 Oct 2005 at DCU Center, Worcester, MA
  13. 30 Oct 2005 at TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA
  14. 13 Nov 2005 at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
  15. 16 Nov 2005 at Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, NJ

LOST IN THE FLOOD appeared 4 times during the Magic Tour (100 dates, October 2007 to August 2008), all of them in the U.S. in 2008. The song was played in a full-band version featuring a piano outro by Roy Bittan. Charles Giordano played organ on all four performances.

  1. 22 Mar 2008 at U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati, OH
  2. 28 Mar 2008 at The Rose Garden, Portland, OR
  3. 23 Apr 2008 at Amway Arena, Orlando, FL
  4. 27 Apr 2008 at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, Charlotte, NC

LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed twice during the Working On A Dream Tour (83 dates, April to November 2009). On this tour, the song was played in a full-band version featuring a piano intro by Roy Bittan.

LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed 9 times during the Wrecking Ball Tour (133 dates, March 2012 to September 2013).

  1. 28 Jul 2012 at Ullevi, Gothenburg, Sweden
  2. 18 Aug 2012 at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
  3. 02 Sep 2012 at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
  4. 21 Sep 2012 at Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
  5. 23 Oct 2012 at John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
  6. 15 Nov 2012 at Centurylink Center, Omaha, NE
  7. 06 Dec 2012 at Jobing.com Arena, Glendale, AZ
  8. 27 Mar 2013 at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia
  9. 15 Jun 2013 at Wembley Stadium, London, England

LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed 3 times during the High Hopes Tour (34 dates, January to May 2014). On this tour, the song was played in a full-band version featuring a piano intro by Roy Bittan. Audio recordings for most High Hopes Tour shows are officially available for purchase. See the live 08 Apr 2014 version for more details.

  1. 16 Feb 2014 at AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 08 Apr 2014 at U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati, OH
  3. 14 May 2014 at Hersheypark Stadium, Hershey, PA

References in Popular Culture

Bruce Springsteen's LOST IN THE FLOOD was the inspiration for one movie character.

Promotional poster for the film "Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead"
Jimmy The Saint, the central figure in LOST IN THE FLOOD, was the inspiration behind the lead character in the 1995 film Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead, directed by Gary Fleder and starring Andy Garcia as Jimmy 'The Saint' Tosnia. The song does not appear anywhere in the movie or its soundtrack album.

Covers

As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's LOST IN THE FLOOD.

Credits / References

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

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

Available Versions

List of available versions of LOST IN THE FLOOD on this website:

LOST IN THE FLOOD [Album version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 02 Mar 1973 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 31 Oct 1973 (late show) version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 19 Oct 1974 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 18 Nov 1975 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 12 Dec 1975 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 01 Sep 1978 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 01 Jul 2000 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 07 Oct 2002 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 08 Aug 2003 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 01 Oct 2004 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 31 Jul 2005 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 23 Apr 2008 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 05 Jun 2009 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 22 Nov 2009 version]
LOST IN THE FLOOD [Live 08 Apr 2014 version]

Page last updated: 14 May 2016