LOST IN THE FLOOD
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?
Page last updated: 24 Jun 2012
Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, LOST IN THE FLOOD is the fifth track on
his 1973 debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.
The above lyrics are for Springsteen's studio version of LOST IN THE FLOOD as
released on Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J..
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.
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 lineup 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
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
(DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET,
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY,
FOR YOU, and
LOST IN THE FLOOD) and five solo recordings
MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS,
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
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 lineup 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:
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.
[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]
The album features 9 new Springsteen compositions and clocks at 37:08.
The live 18 Nov 1975 version of LOST IN THE FLOOD was officially released on
Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 CD and DVD in 2005. See the
live 18 Nov 1975 version for more details. The live 01
Jul 2000 performance of LOST IN THE FLOOD was officially released in 2001 on Live In New York
City, both the album and home video. See the
live 01 Jun 2000 version for more details.
LOST IN THE FLOOD is known to have been performed at least 4 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 version, similar to the album version but even slower and more
to display/hide detailed known Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour performances list]
LOST IN THE FLOOD is known to have been performed at least 10 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. 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).
to display/hide detailed known The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour performances list]
- 30 Oct 1973 (late show) at The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA
- 31 Oct 1973 (late show) at The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA
- 19 Sep 1974 (early show) at The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA
- 20 Sep 1974 at Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA
- 04 Oct 1974 at Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY
- 05 Oct 1974 at Albright College, Reading, PA
- 11 Oct 1974 at Shady Grove Music Fair, Gaithersburg, MD
- 12 Oct 1974 at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
- 19 Oct 1974 at Union College, Schenectady, NY
- 08 Nov 1974 at Ritz Music Hall, Corpus Christi, TX
LOST IN THE FLOOD is known to have been performed at least 16 times during the
Born To Run Tour: 16 times during the 1st leg (73 know dates / 81 known shows, between
July and December 1975) and 0 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, 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. Audio and video for the
complete 18 Nov 1975 show at Hammersmith Odeon in London, England, was released in 2005 on the
Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 CD and DVD. See the
live 18 Nov 1975 version for more details.
to display/hide detailed known Born To Run Tour performances list]
- 18 Nov 1975 at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England
- 21 Nov 1975 at Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden
- 23 Nov 1975 at RAI Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 24 Nov 1975 at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England
- 02 Dec 1975 at Music Hall, Boston, MA
- 03 Dec 1975 at Music Hall, Boston, MA
- 05 Dec 1975 at Georgetown University, Washington, DC
- 06 Dec 1975 at Georgetown University, Washington, DC
- 10 Dec 1975 at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA
- 11 Dec 1975 at Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ
- 12 Dec 1975 at C.W. Post College, Greenvale, NY
- 16 Dec 1975 at State University Of New York, Oswego, NY
- 17 Dec 1975 at Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, NY
- 20 Dec 1975 at National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Canada
- 21 Dec 1975 at Seneca College, Toronto, Canada
- 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 111-date-long Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour, 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.
to display/hide detailed Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour confirmed performances list]
After disappearing from Springsteen's repertoire for 22 years, LOST IN THE
FLOOD was performed one time during the 132-date-long The Reunion Tour, 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.
to display/hide detailed The Reunion Tour performances list]
LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed 3 times during the 120-date-long The Rising
Tour. 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.
to display/hide detailed The Rising Tour performances list]
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.
to display/hide detailed Vote For Change Tour rehearsals performances list]
- 27 Sep 2004 at Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ (private rehearsal)
- 28 Sep 2004 at Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ (private rehearsal)
LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed once during the Vote For Change Tour,
on the first date of the 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.
to display/hide detailed Vote For Change Tour performances list]
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.
to display/hide detailed Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour rehearsals performances list]
- 20 Apr 2005 at Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, NJ (private rehearsal)
- 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. The song was played in a solo piano arrangement featuring an outro, and
sometimes additionally an intro.
to display/hide detailed Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour performances list]
- 07 Jun 2005 at Datch Forum, Milan, Italy
- 15 Jun 2005 at Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany
- 14 Jul 2005 at Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Canada
- 20 Jul 2005 at Arena At Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, CT
- 23 Jul 2005 at Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
- 31 Jul 2005 at Value City Theatre, Columbus, OH
- 10 Aug 2005 at Rose Garden Theater Of The Clouds, Portland, OR
- 04 Oct 2005 at Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, NJ
- 07 Oct 2005 at Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT
- 09 Oct 2005 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
- 15 Oct 2005 at Dane County Arena At Alliant Center, Madison, WI
- 20 Oct 2005 at DCU Center, Worcester, MA
- 30 Oct 2005 at TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA
- 13 Nov 2005 at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
- 16 Nov 2005 at Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
LOST IN THE FLOOD appeared 4 times during the 100-date-long Magic
Tour, 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.
to display/hide detailed Magic Tour performances list]
LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed twice during the 83-date-long Working On A
Dream Tour. The song was played in a full-band version featuring a piano intro by Roy
to display/hide detailed Working On A Dream Tour performances list]
References in Popular Culture
Jimmy The Saint, the central figure in LOST IN THE FLOOD, was the inspiration
behind the lead character in the 1995 Gary Fleder directed film Things To Do In Denver When
You're Dead, featuring Andy Garcia as Jimmy 'The Saint' Tosnia.
Plot: Jimmy the Saint (Garcia) is an ex-mobster gone straight who is called upon by his
former boss, the Man With the Plan (Walken), to do one last easy-money job. Jimmy agrees and
rounds up his old gang, a colorfully off-color group which includes Pieces (Lloyd), a porn movie
projectionist and Critical Bill (Williams), a hair-trigger psycho who works in a funeral parlor.
The job goes awry and the group becomes a target of hitman Mr. Shhh (Buscemi).
Starring: Andy Garcia, Christopher Lloyd, William Forsythe, Bill Nunn, Treat Williams, Christopher Walken, Steve Buscemi
Directed by: Gary Fleder
Produced by: Cary Woods
Written by: Scott Rosenberg
Distributed by: Miramax Films
Release date: 01 Dec 1995 (USA)
As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's
LOST IN THE FLOOD.
List of available versions of LOST IN THE FLOOD 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.