GROWIN' UP

Album version

Well I stood stone-like at midnight suspended in my masquerade
And I combed my hair till it was just right and commanded the night brigade
I was open to pain and crossed by the rain and I walked on a crooked crutch
I strode all alone into a fallout zone, came out with my soul untouched
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up

The flag of piracy flew from my mast, my sails were set wing to wing
I had a jukebox graduate for first mate, she couldn't sail but she sure could sing
And I pushed B-52 and bombed 'em with the blues with my gear set stubborn on standing
I broke all the rules, strafed my old high school, never once gave thought to landing
I hid in the clouded warmth of the crowd, when they said "come down" I threw up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Lookin' back, now!

I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere and you know it's really hard to hold your breath
Swear I lost everything I ever loved or feared, I was the cosmic kid in full costume dress
But my feet they finally took root in the earth but I got me a nice little place in the stars
And I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car
I hid in the mother breast of the crowd, when they said "pull down" I pulled up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Hoohoo


Page last updated: 23 Apr 2013

Intro

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, GROWIN' UP is the second track on his 1973 debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. The song soon became a live favorite in the 70's and 80's, often including a long spoken story about Springsteen's youth and his problems with his father. The above lyrics are for the released studio take of GROWIN' UP as released on Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

Composition and Recording

GROWIN' UP was written in 1971, as Springsteen recalled when introducing the song during his 09 Aug 1978 concert in Cleveland, OH. See the live 09 Aug 1978 version. ELOISE, a 1972 unreleased demo, shares similar music with GROWIN' UP.

GROWIN' UP was recorded during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. album recording sessions at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY. The track, as well as the whole album, was produced by Mike Appel and Jimmy Cretecos.

Two studio versions of the song are in circulation among collectors: the album version and an outtake version. They were likely recorded around Jul-Aug 1972 at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY. The Jul-Aug 1972 sessions at 914 Sound Studios were produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos, and Louis Lahav took the role of recording engineer. The above lyrics transcribed from the album version of GROWIN' UP. The album version and the outtake version are probably the same core recording, but a different vocal take. Bruce Springsteen plays guitar and sings vocals on this track (the album version), and is backed by Vini Lopez on drums, David Sancious on piano and keyboards, and Garry Tallent on electric bass. According to Sony's database of Springsteen recording sessions, GROWIN' UP was cut on 07 Jun 1972 (the first studio session for the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. album) and on 27 Jun 1972 at 914 Sound Studios. It is not clear if the album version and/or the outtake version were from either the 07 Jun 1972 session or the 27 Jun 1972 sessions, or form a later session.

A solo demo of GROWIN' UP was performed and recorded during Springsteen's first formal studio audition for CBS Records on 03 May 1972, and was later published on the Tracks box set in 1998 and the 18 Tracks sampler in 1999. It features Springsteen solo on vocals and acoustic guitar. See the 03 May 1972 demo version for more details. Another solo demo of GROWIN' UP was performed during an informal audition for CBS Records on 02 May 1972. See the "1971-1972 Auditions" section below for more details.

GROWIN' UP appears on two Springsteen handwritten song lists that were put up for auction in July 2012 (below left) and December 2013 (below right) on GottaHaveRockAndRoll.com. The auction site claims the first to be a setlist and the second to be a song list for Springsteen's first album, but they're both most probably lists 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 (June 1972).

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[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce scan]

The solo acoustic guitar version recorded during Springsteen's 1972 audition for CBS Records was released on the Tracks box set and the 18 Tracks sampler. See the 03 May 1972 demo version for more details. The studio outtake from the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. sessions is circulating on bootlegs. See the outtake version for more details.

1971-1972 Auditions

On 04 Nov 1971, Carl "Tinker" West, then-manager of The Bruce Springsteen Band, drove Bruce Springsteen to New York City to introduce him to Mike Appel, a songwriter who carried on his songwriting activities jointly with Jim Cretecos. Appel was then employed at Pocketful Of Tunes Inc., Wes Farrell's publishing company in New York City, NY, and the meeting took place at Pocketful Of Tunes. Springsteen performed two or three songs, some on piano and some on acoustic guitar. Only Appel and West were present at this first meeting. Appel has stated in interview that he was not particularly impressed by what he heard at this initial audition but did see raw creativity in the lyrics of BABY DOLL. That performance was not recorded and the titles of the other song(s) performed remain unclear. Appel indicated an interest in promoting them in some way and the meeting ended with an agreement to keep in touch but no commitments from either party.

  • BABY DOLL

Meanwhile Springsteen continued gigging with The Bruce Springsteen Band in New Jersey and Virginia and visited his family in California for a few weeks around the holidays. The next meeting between Springsteen and Appel took place on 14 Feb 1972. Springsteen performed a set of seven songs at Appel's office at Pocketful Of Tunes. The songs were performed live solo on acoustic guitar to an audience of three: Mike Appel, Jim Cretecos, and Bob Spitz. Unfortunately that performance was not recorded. IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY was performed a second time at the request of Appel who reportedly was dazzled the lyrics. After that performance Appel and Cretecos began putting the wheels in motion to sign Springsteen to a comprehensive range of contracts.

  • COWBOYS OF THE SEA
  • THE ANGEL
  • IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [take #1, fast version]
  • IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY [take #2, slow version]
  • HOLLYWOOD KIDS
  • IF I WAS THE PRIEST
  • ARABIAN NIGHTS
  • FOR YOU

In March 1972, it was agreed that Appel and Cretecos would promote Springsteen's interests. For that purpose, Appel and Cretecos formed three partnerships owned equally by the two: Laurel Canyon Management to act as Springsteen's manager, Laurel Canyon Productions to cover his recording activities, and Sioux City Music Inc to cover his songwriting activities. In the meantime, Springsteen entered into an "Exclusive Management Contract" with Laurel Canyon Management and an "Exclusive Recording Contract" with Laurel Canyon Productions, but did not sign any songwriting agreement at this time, apparently wishing to think this matter over a bit longer. The two contracts were signed at Appel's office.

Appel wanted to sign Springsteen to Columbia Records. He could not arrange a meeting with label head Clive Davis but was able to arrange one with CBS A&R Manager and talent scout John Hammond. An informal private audition took place around 10:30 AM on 02 May 1972 in Hammond's office in the A&R Department at Columbia Records in New York City. John Hammond and Mike Appel were the only two present at the audition. All songs were performed on acoustic guitar and the performance, which lasted about 30 to 40 minutes, was not recorded but based on the collective recollections of the attendees at least the following four songs were played:

  • GROWIN' UP
  • IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY
  • MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS
  • IF I WAS THE PRIEST

In a 1980 interview, Hammond mentioned he wasn't all that enamored with MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS, but that he loved all the other songs that Springsteen performed that morning. "It was a big, big day for me," Springsteen told Mark Hagen in an interview for Mojo magazine published in January 1999. "I was twenty-two and came up on the bus with an acoustic guitar with no case which I'd borrowed from the drummer from The Castiles. I was embarrassed carrying it around the city. I walked into [John Hammond's] office and had the audition and I played a couple of songs and he said, 'You've got to be on Columbia Records. But I need to see you play. And I need to hear how you sound on tape.'"

Springsteen said that he and Mike Appel "walked all around the Village trying to find some place that would let somebody just get up on stage and play. We went to the Bitter End, it didn't work out. We went to another club. And finally we went to the old Gaslight on MacDougal Street and the guy says, 'Yeah, we have an open night where you can come down and play for half an hour'. There were about 10 people in the place and I played for about half an hour." The performance took place at the Gaslight Au Go Go club in New York City. No recording has emanated from this club appearance which lasted about 30 minutes and included just 4 or 5 songs. Both Springsteen and Appel have mentioned these two tracks as having been played:

  • GROWIN' UP
  • IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY

John Hammond was impressed. "The kid absolutely knocked me out," he told Newsweek in 1975. "I only hear somebody really good once every ten years, and not only was Bruce the best, he was a lot better than Dylan when I first heard him." As Springsteen recalled, Hammond said, "Gee, that was great. I want you to come to the Columbia Recording Studio and make a demo tape". He invited Springsteen back to CBS to make a studio demo audition tape the following day. Springsteen said, "A demo I made at Bill Graham's studio in San Francisco in '69 was the only other time I'd ever been in a real recording studio. Columbia was very old-fashioned: everybody in ties and shirts; the engineer was in a white shirt and a tie and was probably 50, 55 years old, it was just him and John and Mike Appel there, and he just hits the button and gives you your serial number, and off you go. I was excited. I felt I'd written some good songs and this was my shot. I had nothing to lose and it was like the beginning of something."

Springsteen's first "formal" studio audition for CBS took place on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios in New York City. The session consisted of 12 songs. Click on any of the below links for more details.

Four of the tracks recorded during that demo session would be officially released in 1998 on the Tracks box set. John Hammond's introduction of the audition was kept intact at the start of MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS which opens the box set. Hammond was prepared to sign Bruce on the spot but administrative formalities within CBS meant that it would take several weeks for that to become reality. According to Clinton Heylin's 2012 book E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Hammond send Clive Davis a dub of the audition and a memo saying: "Here is a copy of a couple of the reels of Bruce Springsteen, a very talented kid who recorded these twelve songs in a period of around two hours last Wednesday... I think we better act quickly because many people heard the boy at The Gaslight so that his fame is beginning to spread." Davis responded the next day, "I love Bruce Springsteen! He's an original in every respect. I'd like to meet him if you can arrange it."

Springsteen told Mark Hagen, "I knew a lot about John Hammond, the work he'd done, the people he'd discovered, his importance in music and it was very exciting to feel you were worth his time. No matter what happened afterwards, even it was just for this one night, you were worth his time. That meant a lot to me. He was very encouraging – simply being in that room with him at the board was one of my greatest recording experiences."

According to Heylin, Hammond thought that Springsteen might be better off on the Epic subsidiary, but Mike Appel intercepted: "[Hammond] decided that Bruce should be with the younger people at Epic and not with the stodgier, older people at Columbia – and he got this in his head. I always felt that Columbia was the classiest label on the planet. I just always saw [Bruce's] record going round on that red label, just like Dylan's did."

About a week following the audition, Springsteen entered into an "Exclusive Songwriting Contract" with Sioux City Music Inc and a new/revised "Exclusive Management Contract" with Laurel Canyon Management. The two contracts were signed at the office of New York attorney Jules Kurz, a sole practitioner specializing in music and entertainment law who was then handling Appel and Cretecos' business affairs. This new management agreement replaced the one from March and made changes in remuneration and compensation rates between the parties; it was a better deal for Springsteen than the previous one.

Following the signing of the agreements, Springsteen began a series of demo sessions for Sioux City Music Inc in May and June 1972. The session took place at two locations in New York City: Wes Farrell's Pocketful Of Sounds Studios where Appel was then still employed, and the apartment of Jim Cretecos. There were multiple sessions held at each location and the session dates at the two locations may have actually intertwined. Cretecos' apartment was utilized due to the limited availability of the studio at Pocketful Of Sounds. Cretecos was an electronics engineer and was able to emulate a reasonable recording environment in his apartment, so much so that it is difficult to distinguish some of the recordings Bruce made in Cretecos' apartment from those made in a professional studio.

On 09 Jun 1972 Laurel Canyon Productions (describing itself as Laurel Canyon Productions Inc) entered into a recording agreement with CBS Records. This meant that Springsteen was not signed directly to CBS, but his services were subcontracted to CBS by Laurel Canyon. Under the recording agreement, all individual recordings made by Springsteen under the CBS agreement remained the property of Laurel Canyon Productions until such point that they were assigned and transferred to CBS. This contract was signed by CBS at CBS Records offices and by Mike Appel at Laurel Canyon Productions offices. Bruce Springsteen signed it too, on the hood of a car in a dimly lit bar parking lot in New York City. Appel had him sign it as a matter of courtesy and as a matter of endorsement – from a legal standpoint it was not necessary that Springsteen signs this agreement as the "Exclusive Recording Agreement" between him and Laurel Canyon Productions did not grant him the right to block or refuse this contract between Laurel Canyon Productions and CBS. The contract was varied in August 1972 to also cover the master tapes of certain songs which had been recorded prior to the date of the agreement.

Mike Appel and Jimmy Cretecos later decided to change their business structure and model. They wanted to cease the partnership model and incorporate their businesses with the two having a 50/50 split in shares of the new incorporated business entities. These matters did not involve Springsteen – his signature or permission was not required. Laurel Canyon Productions (the sound recordings partnership) became Laurel Canyon Limited (incorporated) on 28 Jun 1972, Sioux City Music Inc (the songwriting partnership) became Sioux City Music Limited (incorporated) on 05 Oct 1972, and Laurel Canyon Management (the management partnership) became Laurel Canyon Management Limited (incorporated) on 05 Mar 1973. The three new companies were incorporated in New York and Appel and Cretecos were appointed the first directors. Appel and Cretecos wanted to change the name of Sioux City to Laurel Canyon in order to have name consistency among their family of companies, so on 24 Apr 1973 Sioux City Music Limited changed its name to Laurel Canyon Music Limited. In January 1974 Jimmy Cretecos sold his 50% shareholding in each of the Laurel Canyon companies to Mike Appel, thus Appel becoming the sole owner of the companies.

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.

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

Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.
side 1 track list (vinyl LP format):

  1. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
  2. GROWIN' UP
  3. MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS
  4. DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET
  5. LOST IN THE FLOOD

Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.
side 2 track list (vinyl LP format):

  1. THE ANGEL
  2. FOR YOU
  3. SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
  4. IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY

Other Official Releases

In addition to its release on the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. album, GROWIN' UP was also included on the very rare "Spirit In The Night - Growin' Up / Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" promo EP. The song can also be found on two Bruce Springsteen promo-only samplers.


Bruce Springsteen -- "Spirit In The Night - Growin' Up / Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"

7-inch EP – Columbia (AE7 1088) - USA, 1974

US-only white label promotional EP, runs at 33 1/3 rpm speed. Comes in a die-cut Columbia logo sleeve.

Side A, 01- SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
Side A, 02- GROWIN' UP
Side B, 01- ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)

Bruce Springsteen -- The Future Of Rock'n'Roll / 70's To 80's

2-CD – CBS/Sony (XADP 90009~10) – Japan, 1988

Japan-only promotional 2-CD set sampler compiling 28 tracks from Springsteen's first nine albums plus two 1988 live B-sides.

Bruce Springsteen -- Tougher Than The Rest

CD – Columbia (BOSS1) – Sweden, 1992

Sweden-only promotional CD sampler used for both radio promotion and as a VIP giveaway item at the opening shows of Springsteen's 1992 tour in Stockholm. It contains 14 tracks from the first nine albums only. Two different pressings exist: the first comes in a standard jewel case with title front inlay and back insert (cover art on the left), and the second comes in a plain slimline case with no inlays.

Other versions of GROWIN' UP were also officially released:


The 03 May 1972 demo version of GROWIN' UP was officially released on the Tracks box set in 1998.

The live 07 Jul 1978 version of GROWIN' UP was officially released on the Live/1975-85 box set in 1986.

The live 22 Sep 1992 version of GROWIN' UP was officially released on the In Concert / MTV Plugged home video in 1992.

The live 17 Nov 2006 version of GROWIN' UP was officially released on the Live In Dublin album and hme video in 2007.

Live History -- 1970's

GROWIN' UP was performed live for the first time on 02 May 1972 at the Gaslight Au Go Go club in New York City (read the "1971-1972 Auditions" section above for more details). The song was also performed at least once during Bruce's residency at Max's Kansas City in New York City in August 1972. These were Springsteen's first series of "official" public performances after signing with Columbia Records. See the live Aug 1972 version for more details. Very little is known about the 1972 shows, and GROWIN' UP must have been played on many more occasions that year.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 1972 off-tour performances list]

GROWIN' UP is known to have been performed at least 3 times during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour. Very little is known about the 1972 and 1973 shows, and therefore, the song must've been played on some more dates. On this tour, the song was played in a full-band album-style arrangement which was somewhat slower than later versions. Bruce Springsteen opened for headliner Biff Rose in 1973 during a 6-night stand (between 31 January and 05 February, two shows each night) at Max's Kansas City in New York. In the 17 Feb 1973 issue of Billboard Magazine, Jim Melanson wrote a review on one of twelve shows Max's Kansas City mentioning five songs performed by Springsteen, including GROWIN' UP. The review could be for any of the twelve shows in the stand, but more likely from one of the latter ones considering the late publication of the review.

[Click here to display/hide detailed known Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour performances list]

GROWIN' UP is known to have been performed at least 18 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. On this tour, the song was played in a full-band album-style arrangement.

[Click here to display/hide detailed known The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour performances list]

In 1973 and 1974, Bruce Springsteen performed GROWIN' UP on four radio performances. On all four occasions, the song was played in a full-band acoustic arrangement. See the individual versions below for more details.

[Click here to display/hide detailed known 1973 and 1974 radio performances list]

GROWIN' UP is known to have been performed at least 50 times during the Born To Run Tour: 33 times during the 1st leg (73 know dates / 81 known shows, between July and December 1975) and 17 times during the 2nd leg (35 know dates, between March and May 1976). The 1976 portion of the tour would soon be nicknamed the "Chicken Scratch Tour" by the road crew because of the high proportion of secondary market, southern state locations. 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; it must have also been a stable number during the 2nd leg. On this tour, the song was played in its full-band album-style arrangement.

[Click here to display/hide detailed known Born To Run Tour performances list]

Despite the marvelous reception received by both Born To Run and the tour which followed, the relationship between Bruce Springsteen and his now former manager and producer Mike Appel was deteriorating. In July 1976 the storm broke; Mike Appel wrote to Springsteen saying that he would not allow Jon Landau (Springsteen's friend and co-producer of Born To Run) to produce the next album, citing a particular paragraph from their original agreement. Bruce replied on 27 Jul 1976 by firing manager Mike Appel and suing him and his management company Laurel Canyon Ltd. in Federal Court in Manhattan, claiming fraud, breach of trust, and undue influence. Appel countersued on 29 Jul 1976 in New York State Supreme Court, asking the court to prohibit Springsteen and Jon Landau from working together in studio. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band were slated to enter the studio that year for the recording of a new album, except that on 15 Sep 1976 the judge in the lawsuits case ruled that Springsteen was enjoined from any further recording with Columbia Records until Appel's suit was resolved. This would drag for about a year. Meanwhile, Springsteen continued gigging, and in the process broke his self-imposed rule of not playing the larger arenas. This was basically because he was not able to put a record out, and it was the only way his fans would be able to hear him at all. The tour became known as the "Lawsuit Tour".

GROWIN' UP is known to have been performed at least 26 times during the Lawsuit Tour: 20 times during the 1st leg (29 known dates, between August and November 1976) and 6 times during the 2nd leg (33 known dates, between February and March 1977). Some of that period's setlists are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song may have been played on some more dates during the Lawsuit Tour. The song was played in a in its full-band album-style arrangement. Before the Lawsuit Tour, GROWIN' UP did not feature a story in the break. The instrumental after the second verse was heavily extended on the first two Lawsuit Tour performances, and the third performance (30 Sep 1976) was the first to include a full spoken story. See the below live versions for more details.

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

GROWIN' UP is known to have been performed at least 52 times during the 111-date-long Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour, all up to early September. 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 its full-band album-style arrangement and featured a story in the break. The live 07 Jul 1978 performance in West Hollywood, CA, was officially released on the Live/1975-85 box set in 1986. See the live 07 Jul 1978 version for more details.

[Click here to display/hide detailed known Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour performances list]

Live History -- 1980's

GROWIN' UP is known to have been performed at least 18 times during the 138-date-long The River Tour. A few setlists from that period are incomplete, and therefore, the song may have been played on some more dates during The River Tour, but that's very unlikely. The song was played in its full-band album-style arrangement and featured a story in the break.

[Click here to display/hide detailed known The River Tour performances list]

GROWIN' UP was performed 39 times during the 156-date-long Born In The USA Tour. On this tour, the song was played in its full-band album-style arrangement and featured a story in the break which evolved into a skit with assorted crew members in the cast.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Born In The USA Tour performances list]

Live History -- 1990's

GROWIN' UP was performed 12 times during the 102-date-long World Tour 1992-1993, all of which in the 1992 part of the tour. The song was played in a stripped-down arrangement featuring only Bruce Springsteen and Roy Bittan, and no more featured a spoken story after the second verse.

[Click here to display/hide detailed World Tour 1992-1993 performances list]

GROWIN' UP was performed off-tour on 22 Sep 1992 at Warner Hollywood Studios in Los Angeles, CA, during the taping of MTV Unplugged. That performance was released on the In Concert / MTV Plugged home video in 1992 and the audio was released on the Streets Of Philadelphia maxi single in 1994. See the live 22 Sep 1992 version for more details.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 1992-1993 off-tour performances list]

GROWIN' UP was performed 7 times during the 128-date-long The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour, all in November 1996 in New Jersey and May 1997 in Europe. On this tour, the song was played solo on acoustic guitar. These were the first known solo versions of the song.

[Click here to display/hide detailed The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour performances list]

GROWIN' UP was performed 7 times during the 132-date-long The Reunion Tour. The song was played in its full-band album-style arrangement on this tour.

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

Live History -- 2000's

GROWIN' UP was performed 6 times during the 120-date-long The Rising Tour. The song was played in its full-band album-style arrangement, sometimes with spoken bits in the break and sometimes without, except in Austin where it featured just Bruce on acoustic guitar and Clarence on saxophone. See the live 02 Mar 2003 version for more details.

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

GROWIN' UP was performed off-tour on 26 Jul 2002 at Sonny's Southern Cuisine restaurant in Asbury Park, NJ, when Springsteen played an intimate acoustic set for contest winners that were at the warm-up gig for The Rising Tour that took place on the afternoon of the same day at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park. All songs, except GROWIN' UP, were played by request of the contest winners.

GROWIN' UP was performed on 26 Jul 2002 at Sonny's Southern Cuisine restaurant in Asbury Park, when Springsteen played an intimate acoustic set for contest winners that were at the warm-up gig for The Rising Tour that took place on the afternoon of the same day at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park. All songs, except GROWIN' UP, were played by request of the contest winners.

GROWIN' UP was performed off-tour on both DoubleTake magazine benefit shows in February 2003 at Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA. The song was played solo on acoustic guitar. See the live 19 Feb 2003 version and the live 20 Feb 2003 version for more details.

GROWIN' UP was performed on 24 May 2003 at Stade De France in Saint-Denis, France, during a short acoustic set prior to a concert at the venue. The song was played solo on acoustic guitar. See the live 24 May 2003 version for more details.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2002 and 2003 off-tour performances list]

GROWIN' UP was performed 13 times during the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour. The first four performances were solo acoustic guitar renditions (see the live 11 Aug 2005 version) while the remaining nine were solo ukulele (see the live 22 Nov 2005 version).

[Click here to display/hide detailed Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour performances list]

GROWIN' UP was performed 11 times during the 56-date-long The Seeger Sessions Tour, all during the final European leg. The song was played in a radically revamped full-band arrangement. The 17 Nov 2006 performance in Dublin was included on the Live In Dublin CD and DVD in 2007. See the live 17 Nov 2006 version for more details. Note that GROWIN' UP was among the songs practiced during a 90-minute sound-check before the 02 Oct 2006 show at Palaisozaki in Torino Italy, but the song was not performed on the regular show, reportedly because Springsteen was unsatisfied with the violin parts at this point.

[Click here to display/hide detailed The Seeger Sessions Tour performances list]

GROWIN' UP was performed 11 times during the 100-date-long Magic Tour. The song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement, sometimes with a spoken bit in the break. The 21 Aug 2008 show in Nashville was the only time on the tour when GROWIN' UP featured a true story in the traditional spot. See the live 21 Aug 2008 version for more details. The first performance (11 Nov 2007 in Washington) was the last ever and only of the tour to feature Danny Federici.

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

GROWIN' UP was performed 14 times during the 83-date-long Working On A Dream Tour. The song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement, sometimes with a spoken bit in the break.

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

Since 2002, Springsteen has been playing private benefit shows for schools and colleges that his kids attended — Rumson Country Day School of Rumson, NJ, and Ranney School of Tinton Falls, NJ, and Boston College of Chestnut Hill, MA. GROWIN' UP was performed at 3 of these fundraisers, always at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ, and backed by Bobby Bandiera and his band.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2010-2011 private benefit shows performances list]

References in Popular Culture

Bruce Springsteen's album version GROWIN' UP was used in the 1999 film Big Daddy, but was not included in the film's soundtrack album. The song plays towards the end of the movie.


Plot: A lazy law school grad adopts a kid to impress his girlfriend, but everything doesn't go as planned and he becomes the unlikely foster father.

Starring: Adam Sandler, Dylan and Cole Sprouse, Joey Lauren Adams, Jon Stewart, Rob Schneider
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Produced by: Joseph M. Caracciolo, Allen Covert, Michelle Holdsworth, Adam Sandler, Robert Simonds, Mary P. Winn, Jack Giarraputo, Alex Siskin
Written by: Steve Franks, Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release date: 25 Jun 1999

Bruce Springsteen's album version of GROWIN' UP was used in the 2007 film Gracie, but was not included in the film's soundtrack album. The film is set in 1978 in South Orange, NJ, and GROWIN' UP plays during a montage of Gracie training for her upcoming soccer tryouts. The song also plays over the film's closing credits.


Plot: A teenager faces an uphill battle when she fights to give women the opportunity to play competitive soccer.

Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Carly Schroeder, Dermot Mulroney, Jesse Lee Soffer, Andrew Shue
Directed by: Davis Guggenheim
Produced by: Davis Guggenheim, Andrew Shue, Elisabeth Shue, John Shue
Written by: Lisa Marie Petersen, Karen Janszen, Andrew Shue, Davis Guggenheim, Ken Himmelman
Distributed by: Picturehouse Entertainment
Release date: 01 Jun 2007

Bruce Springsteen's GROWIN' UP is mentioned in the Nora Roberts 2005 book Blue Smoke. The character Brad is driving in traffic and listening to GROWIN' UP playing on his radio. Next to him is a pretty woman driving a Chevy, listening to something on her radio and tapping her fingers on the steering wheel. From the rhythm of her fingers, Brad thinks she had the same station going.

Covers

Several artists have recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's GROWIN' UP, including:


Any Trouble -- Where Are All The Nice Girls?

LP - Stiff (USE 6) - USA, 1980
CD - Compass (7 4246) - USA, 1997

Any Trouble's cover of GROWIN' UP was also included on Born To Run 2003 - The Best of The Boss, Volume Two, a free CD (volume 2 of 2) released with the April 2003 issue of Uncut magazine. The group also released a live recording of GROWIN' UP on their 1980 live album Live & Alive.

Tim Goodman -- Footsteps

LP - Columbia (BL 37410) - USA, 1981

Carl Rosen -- Section 8

Cassette - no label (no catalogue number) - USA, 1986
CD - Time Zone (no catalogue number) - USA, 2004

David Bowie -- Pin Ups

CD - Rykodisc (RCD 10136) - USA, 1990

GROWIN' UP was released as a bonus track on the 1990 reissue of Bowie's 1973 album Pin Ups. See David Bowie's cover version for more details.

Pearl Jam -- #70 July 14th 2003 Holmdel

2-CD - Epic (E2K 90521) - USA, 2003

This is a live recording of Pearl Jam's 14 Jul 2003 concert at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ.

Portastatic -- Autumn Was A Lark

CD - Merge (mrg236) - USA, 2003

Session musicians -- Super Instrumental

CD - O6epir-XXI / Vikkon (no catalogue number) - Ukraine, 2003

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.

Session musicians featuring David West -- Pickin' On Springsteen Volume 2

CD - CMH (CD-8463) - USA, 2003

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.

John Strada Acoustic Trio -- Live In the Park

CD - unknown label (unknown catalogue number) - Italy, 2005

Contains a live recording of GROWIN' UP.

Various artists -- If I Were The Boss: The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen

CD - Castle (CMQCD1422) - UK, 2006

This is a various artists Bruce Springsteen tribute album. GROWIN' UP is performed by Alvin Stardust. The track was initially released in 1977 as a single in the U.S. and Europe, and was included on Stardust's Greatest Hits album that same year.

Dirk Darmstaedter -- Original Podcasts, Vol. 1

CD - no label (no catalogue number) - Germany, 2006

Steve Lieberman The Gangsta Rabbi -- Jewish Pirate

CD - Gangsta Rabbi Bad'lan Usa (no catalogue number) - USA, 2006

Gary Heffern -- Consolation

CD - fin-rosa (unknown catalogue number) - Finland, 2008

Andrew Nicholson -- Driving All Night: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen Volume II

CD - no label (no catalogue number) - UK, 2009

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.

Jackie Barnett -- "Growin Up" With Bruce

CD5 EP - no label (no catalogue number) - UK, 2009

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute EP.

Various artists -- For You 2: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen

2-CD - Route 66 Music (DTCDA005-2) - Italy, 2010

This is a various artists Bruce Springsteen tribute album. GROWIN' UP is performed by Antonio Zirilli.

Martyn Joseph -- Tires Rushing By In The Rain

CD - Pipe Records (unknown catalogue number) - UK, 2013

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.

Various artists -- I Hear You're From Australia - My Name's Bruce Too

2-CD - Laughing Outlaw (LOR160CD) - Australia, 2013

This is a various artists Bruce Springsteen tribute album. GROWIN' UP is performed by The Nature Strip.

Available Versions

List of available versions of GROWIN' UP on this website:

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. Scans and info for the some of the above official Springsteen releases are taken from the Lost In The Flood website. Info about some of the above GROWIN' UP cover releases is taken from the Nebraska website.

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