HIGHWAY 29

Album version

I slipped on her shoe, she was a perfect size seven
I said "there's no smokin' in the store ma'am"
She crossed her legs and then
We made some small talk, that's where it should have stopped
She slipped me a number, I put it in my pocket
My hand slipped up her skirt, everything slipped my mind
In that little roadhouse on highway 29

It was a small town bank, it was a mess
Well I had a gun, you know the rest
Money on the floorboards, shirt was covered in blood and she was cryin'
Her and me we headed south on highway 29

In a little desert motel, the air was hot and clean
l slept the sleep of the dead, I didn't dream
I woke in the morning, washed my face in the sink
We headed into the Sierra Madres 'cross the borderline
The winter sun, shot through the black trees
I told myself it was all something in her
But as we drove I knew it was something in me
Something had been comin' for a long long time
And something that was here with me now on highway 29

The road was filled with broken glass and gasoline
She wasn't sayin' nothin', it was just a dream
Wind come silent through the windshield
All I could see was snow and sky and pines
I closed my eyes and I was runnin'
And I was runnin' then I was flyin'


Page last updated: 20 Oct 2013

Intro

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, HIGHWAY 29 is the third track on his 1995 album The Ghost Of Tom Joad. The story in HIGHWAY 29 seems to be very similar to the one in LOSIN' KIND.

The above lyrics are for Springsteen's studio version of HIGHWAY 29 as released on The Ghost Of Tom Joad.

Recording

HIGHWAY 29 was recorded between March and August 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio) in Beverly Hills, CA. On this track, Springsteen handles guitar, keyboards, and vocals. The track, as well as the rest of the album, was produced by Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin and recorded and mixed by Toby Scott at Thrill Hill Recording.

The Ghost Of Tom Joad

Following the Jan-Feb 1995 studio reunion with the E Street Band and the release of Greatest Hits, Bruce Springsteen writing activity increased significantly. Between March and September 1995, Springsteen wrote and recorded about two-albums worth of new songs. From the scattered comments made by Springsteen and other session participants, it would seem that over an album's worth of solo material and over an album's worth of band material were recorded during these sessions. The Ghost Of Tom Joad album consist of 7 solo tracks and 5 band tracks. The songs Bruce recorded solo may have spanned the entire session period and the band sessions appear to have been split into 2 or 3 phases during the spring and summer of 1995.

The Ghost Of Tom Joad was released on Columbia Records on 21 Nov 1995. It was produced by Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1997.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

The Ghost Of Tom Joad features 12 new Springsteen compositions and clocks at 50:16.

The Ghost Of Tom Joad track list:

  1. THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD
  2. STRAIGHT TIME
  3. HIGHWAY 29
  4. YOUNGSTOWN
  5. SINALOA COWBOYS
  6. THE LINE
  7. BALBOA PARK
  8. DRY LIGHTNING
  9. THE NEW TIMER
  10. ACROSS THE BORDER
  11. GALVESTON BAY
  12. MY BEST WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH

Other Official Releases

In addition to its release on The Ghost Of Tom Joad, HIGHWAY 29 was also included in 1996 on the Dead Man Walkin' European EP and on the second UK issue of the Secret Garden EP which was released to promote the Jerry Maguire movie soundtrack.

Bruce Springsteen -- Dead Man Walkin'

CD5 EP - Columbia (663190 2) - Asutria, 1996

Austrian pressing for the European market.

01- DEAD MAN WALKIN'
02- HIGHWAY 29
03- THIS HARD LAND [live 09 Dec 1995]
04- DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET [live 08 Dec 1995]
Bruce Springsteen -- Secret Garden

CD5 EP - Columbia (664324 5) - Austria, 1997

Austrian pressing for the UK market.

01- SECRET GARDEN [with strings]
02- BLOOD BROTHERS [Alternate version]
03- STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA
04- HIGHWAY 29

HIGHWAY 29 can also be found on one Bruce Springsteen promo-only sampler.


Bruce Springsteen -- Interview With Bruce Springsteen

2-CD – Columbia (SAMPCD 3184 9) – Germany, 1996

Germany-only promotional 2-CD set featuring 16 Springsteen tracks interspersed with segments from an exclusive interview for German radio station "Radio Eins" conducted in Los Angeles in February 1996. Comes in a cardboard gatefold sleeve.

Live History

In preparation for The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour, HIGHWAY 29 was performed during the tour's public warm-up rehearsal show that took place on 21 Nov 1995 at State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ.

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

HIGHWAY 29 was performed 126 times during the 128-shows-long The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour, missing only the 24 and 26 Nov 1996 shows in Asbury Park, NJ.

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

HIGHWAY 29 was performed 8 times during the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour.

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

Covers

As far as it's known, only one artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's HIGHWAY 29:


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. HIGHWAY 29 is performed by Sam Shinazzi.

Available Versions

List of available versions of HIGHWAY 29 on this website:

Credits / References

Scans and info for Interview With Bruce Springsteen are taken from the Lost In The Flood website.