HARRY'S PLACE

Album version

Downtown hipsters drinking up the drug line
Down in the kitchen working in the coal mine
Got a special sin, mister, you can't quite confess
Messy little problem, maybe baby need a new dress
Razorback diamond you shine too hard
Need a hammer help you handle little trouble in your backyard
(Bring it on down to Harry's Place)

When Harry speaks it's Harry's streets, in Harry's house it's Harry's rules
You don't wanna be around, brother, when Harry schools
It's Harry's car, Harry's wife, Harry's dogs run Harry's town
Your blood and money spit shines Harry's crown
You don't fuck with Harry's money, you don't fuck Harry's girls
These are the rules, this is the world
(When you bring it on down to Harry's Place)
(Bring it on down to Harry's Place)

You need a little shot of something to improve your health
A taste of that one little weakness you allow yourself
You're looking for the key of that box you locked yourself in
Just step up to the line and be one of Harry's friends

Shithole on the corner, no light, no sign
Nobody on the street 'cept the deaf, dumb, and blind
Mayor Conner's on the couch, Father McGowan's at the bar
Chief Horton's at the door checking who the fuck you are

Seesaw Bobby dressed in drag and Mr. Nice
Carry me into the back room and dim the lights
My arms strapped to the table, a thousand angels spinning up the room
A voice whispers in my ear, "We do what we must do"
(When we bring it on down to Harry's Place)
(Bring it on down to Harry's Place)
(Bring it on down to Harry's Place)
(Bring it on down to Harry's Place)

Nobody knows his number, nobody knows his name
If he didn't exist, it'd all go on just the same
(Bring it on down to Harry's Place)
(Bring it on down to Harry's Place)
(Bring it on down to Harry's Place)
(Bring it on down to Harry's Place)


Page last updated: 19 May 2014

Intro

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, HARRY'S PLACE is the second track on his 2014 album High Hopes. The above lyrics are for Springsteen's studio version of HARRY'S PLACE as released on High Hopes.

Writing and Recording

In a March 2014 interview for Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen told Sean Sennett that HARRY'S PLACE "initially started out as just me on the piano. [Producer] Brendan [O'Brien] heard it and I believe Brendan may have turned it into this rhythmic piece and made the sound that's very compelling. It's a very hard sounding thing for us."

HARRY'S PLACE is an outtake from The Rising recording sessions that took place between January and March 2002 at Southern Tracks Studio in Atlanta, GA. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band recorded 17 songs during those sessions. The two songs that didn't make the final 15-song line-up for The Rising album are HARRY'S PLACE and DOWN IN THE HOLE. Both of these would eventually be released on High Hopes in 2014.

Journalist Ted Koppel conducted an interview with Bruce Springsteen on 17 Jul 2002 at Springsteen's residence in Colts Neck, NJ. The interview was broadcast on 30 Jul 2002 on ABC during the Nightline news program. In the interview, Springsteen confirmed that 17 songs were recorded for The Rising and that HARRY'S PLACE was one of the two that didn't make the final 15-song line-up for the album. "I would say there's 15 songs on the record, we cut 17," Springsteen told Koppel. "We thought 17 were worth recording." During the interview, Springsteen had in his hands the lyrics notebook from The Rising sessions. When Koppel asked him if he could locate in the notebook one the two songs that didn't make the album's cut, Springsteen actually recited the lyrics for the entire first verse of HARRY'S PLACE:

Downtown hipsters drinking up the drug line
Down in the kitchen working in the coal mine
Got a special sin, mister, you can't quite confess
Messy little problem, maybe baby needs a new dress
Razor-back diamond shined a little too hard
You need a hammer help you handle little trouble in your backyard
Bring it on down to Harry's Place

"I was kind of trying to write something that kinda went back to some of the imagery from my second record," Springsteen explained. "So it was fun. I didn't come out bad but it didn't fit." As seen at one point in the interview video footage, the second verse is different from what was later released on High Hopes. This means that much of HARRY'S PLACE was rewritten later, and the song was re-recorded.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce snapshot]

In a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen told Andy Greene that HARRY'S PLACE was his take on the George W. Bush years, and that it "perhaps originated from Magic, because that was the record where I was writing about the last days of the Bush years." Then Greene reminded him that he read the lyrics to Ted Koppel in 2002. "Oh, so if I had those in my book, maybe that must have been for The Rising," he then said. "I think, lyrically, I had it way back then. Musically, it's from somewhere in the mid-zeros, and then we recorded a lot of things freshly on it recently. It's not an uncommon progression for some of my music."

In a 19 Dec 2013 interview that premiered on 10 Jan 2014 during Dave Marsh's Live From E Street Nation show on Sirius XM's E Street Radio channel, Springsteen recalled talking about HARRY'S PLACE to Ted Koppel upon the release of The Rising. "So I must've had that lyric, and then I know that I tried to record it," he said. "We tried to record it with the band before we recorded The Rising. As a matter of fact there are some sessions of the band going in for an evening and roughing out some songs." He revealed that HARRY'S PLACE and THE WALL were among the songs recorded during these sessions. He then explained that HARRY'S PLACE "almost got on Magic because it sort of morphed into being something I felt was about the Bush years, which Magic had a lot of references to." Once again it didn't make it on the album. "And then Tom played on it, and we mixed it, and so it shown up."

In a December 2013 interview with Rolling Stone's Andy Greene, producer Ron Aniello explicitly mentioned HARRY'S PLACE as being an "outtake" from previous albums. This means that the core recording used on High Hopes is likely the one cut during the Magic recording sessions, with some element overdubbed in 2013, including Tom Morello's guitar. The album version of HARRY'S PLACE was produced by Brendan O'Brien. The performing musicians line-up on the track is:

  • Bruce Springsteen (vocal, guitar)
  • Roy Bittan (piano)
  • Clarence Clemons (tenor saxophone)
  • Nils Lofgren (guitar)
  • Garry Tallent (bass)
  • Max Weinberg (drums)
  • Tom Morello (guitar)
  • Ed Horst (Atlanta Strings – string arrangement and conductor)
  • Justin Bruns (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Jay Christy (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Sheela Iyengar (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • John Meisner (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Christopher Pulgram (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • William Pu (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Olga Shpitko (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Kenn Wagner (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Amy Chang (Atlanta Strings – viola)
  • Tania Maxwell (Atlanta Strings – viola)
  • Lachlan McBane (Atlanta Strings – viola)
  • Karen Freer (Atlanta Strings – cello)
  • Charae Krueger (Atlanta Strings – cello)
  • Daniel Laufer (Atlanta Strings – cello)

High Hopes

High Hopes is Bruce Springsteen's eighteenth studio album. It was officially released on 14 Jan 2014 on Columbia Records. It consists of 12 tracks and clocks at 56:24. Four songs were previously released in different versions (two of which are covers), two more were previously performed live but never released, and the remaining six are new to fans (one of which is a cover). "This is music I always felt needed to be released," Springsteen wrote in the album's liner notes.

In a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone, Springsteen told Andy Greene that he has always written and recorded significantly more songs than can fit on to whatever album he's creating at the moment. "I have a lot of this music on a computer," he said. "I bring it out on the road to amuse myself. Very often, if I have nothing to do late at night I'll bring it up and look at different bodies of music." The songs that began catching Springsteen's attention were largely recorded after he reunited with the E Street Band in 1999. "The songs were relatively current and had a similar sound picture," he said. "I was interested in putting this material together in some form because it sounded like it all fit together... You have to imagine that when I'm home or done with a tour I go into a studio and I'm surrounded by paintings that I've sorta half-finished. There might be something wrong with this one and I didn't have time to finish this one. When I go into my studio, I'm surrounded by all my music that I haven't released. I wait to see what's going to speak to me." But then they cut a few sessions in 2013 while on tour. "I said, 'Well, these sound good,'" Springsteen told Rolling Stone. "These things blend together. Suddenly, it began to feel very fresh and fit together quite well."

Work on the album started in late 2012 when Springsteen called producer Ron Aniello asking him to work on some demos that he was thinking about releasing. "I remember that Bruce called me on my birthday, so it was December 9th, 2012", Aniello told Andy Greene in a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone. "He said to me, 'I have some songs. I want to get together.'" According to Aniello, these were old demos that Springsteen had done with Toby Scott and that had been around for a while. Springsteen told him that he wanted to get these songs in shape and see what comes out of that. Aniello was not able to sit with Springsteen to sort it all out because Springsteen was away most of the time touring with the E Street Band. "It all happened in a very unusual manner," Aniello told Rolling Stone. "There was a lot of conversations in Europe and I did some of the recording via iChat when the band was in Australia."

In a January 2014 interview for Rolling Stone, Tom Morello told Andy Greene that he wasn't aware that there was ever talk of a new studio album when they sent him a couple of songs to add guitar on. He did that in his home studio and shortly after he was recording in studio with Max Weinberg and Ron Aniello. "But these studio sessions just kept occurring without any formal notion of what we were doing," Morello recounted. "My assumption was just that 'Bruce is always recording music.' So it was fantastic that I was asked to be a part of it. I was psyched." In March 2013 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performed ten shows in Australia as part of the Wrecking Ball Tour. Steven Van Zandt was off filming his television series Lillyhammer and was replaced by Morello for that leg of the tour. Morello suggested to add HIGH HOPES to the live set. They worked it up during the rehearsals prior to the Australian shows and Morello then "proceeded to burn the house down with it," as Springsteen said. They then re-cut the song along with JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD at Studios 301, Australia's largest studio complex. "Tom and his guitar became my muse, pushing the rest of this project to another level," Springsteen said. He told Rolling Stone's David Fricke, "We've never had a recording session during a tour in our lives. We did a couple of things that I wanted to put down. So that was very exciting. And being with Tommy was exciting. The band – Steven, Nils, all those guys – continues to be a source of inspiration for me." Morello told Rolling Stone that he didn't get the notion that this was "coalescing into what was going to be a major release" until they were in Australia.

No less than sixteen recording studios were used in the making of High Hopes: Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio in Colts Neck, NJ), Stone Hill Studio (Springsteen's new home studio in Colts Neck, NJ), Very Loud House (in Los Angeles, CA), Renegade Studio (in New York City, NY), Veritas Studio (in Los Angeles, CA), Southern Tracks (Atlanta, GA), East West Studios (in Los Angeles, CA), NRG Studios (in Los Angeles, CA), Village Studios (in Los Angeles, CA), Studios 301 (in Byron Bay and Sydney, Australia), Record Plant (in Los Angeles, CA), Electric Lady Studios (in New York City, NY), Avatar Studios (in New York City, NY), Sear Sound (in New York City, NY), and Berkeley Street Studio (in Santa Monica, CA).

Ron Aniello revealed that at least 20 tracks were recorded for the album. Among the tracks that didn't make the album cut were COLD SPOT, HEY BLUE EYES, AMERICAN BEAUTY, and MARY MARY.

The album was produced by Bruce Springsteen, Brendan O'Brien, and Ron Aniello. It features all E Street Band members, including the late Clarence Clemons and the late Danny Federici on several songs of what Springsteen calls "some of our best unreleased material from the past decade." The album also features an ensemble of guest artists, including Tom Morello who's featured prominently on the album, appearing on eight tracks.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

High Hopes is available in three configurations: standard CD edition, limited edition, and double-disc LP. The limited edition consists of the standard audio CD and includes a bonus live DVD of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performing the entire Born In The USA album on 30 Jun 2013 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England, during the Wrecking Ball Tour. The double-disc LP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl and includes a CD version of the album.

High Hopes track list:

  1. HIGH HOPES
  2. HARRY'S PLACE
  3. AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS)
  4. JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD
  5. DOWN IN THE HOLE
  6. HEAVEN'S WALL
  7. FRANKIE FELL IN LOVE
  8. THIS IS YOUR SWORD
  9. HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME
  10. THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD
  11. THE WALL
  12. DREAM BABY DREAM

High Hopes was officially announced on 25 Nov 2013 and the release date was set for 14 Jan 2014, but on 28 Dec 2013 it became available for purchase as individual tracks in MP3 format through Amazon.com's mobile application. Although Amazon quickly removed the files, presumably recognizing its mistake, the album had already made its way onto file-sharing websites.

The album topped the charts in 20 countries, including the United States and the UK. It was Springsteen's eleventh #1 album in the US, placing him third all-time for most #1 albums only behind The Beatles and Jay-Z. It was his tenth #1 in the UK, putting him joint fifth all-time and level with The Rolling Stones and U2.

[Click here to display/hide list of countries in which the album charted]

Live History

HARRY'S PLACE was sound-checked prior to the 15 Apr 2014 show in Columbus, OH, (as far as it's known) but it was not performed on any of the High Hopes Tour's regular shows.

Covers

As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's HARRY'S PLACE.

Credits / References

Thanks Smilin'SkullRing from Greasy Lake for submitting the lyrics that Springsteen recited during the 2002 TV interview. Thanks David Varet for the lyrics help.

Some of the above info about the 2002 recording and interview is taken from Brucebase.

Request

The part of the 2002 TV interview where Springsteen reads to Ted Koppel the first verse of HARRY'S PLACE can be found here. The lyrics I could make up from the footage so far are as follows:

Downtown hipsters drinkin' up the drug line
I'm down in the kitchen workin' in the coal mine
Got a special sin, mister, you can't quite confess
Messy little problem and maybe baby needs a new dress
Razorback diamond shined a little too hard
You need a hammer help you handle little trouble in your backyard
Bring it on down to Harry's Place

Queenie (Little Janey) bet the track and lost her wedding ring
Councilman Chucky got some (outside) loser that he needs made
--- of hearts, prince of spades
Everybody know where to go when they need --- made king
--- of something to improve ---
--- taste of that one little --- allow yourself

--- streets Harry's house ---
---
---
---

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