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?


Page last updated: 13 Oct 2013

Intro

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.

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).

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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

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


The live 18 Nov 1975 version of LOST IN THE FLOOD was officially released on the Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 album and home video in 2005.

The live 01 Jul 2000 version of LOST IN THE FLOOD was officially released on the Live In New York City album and home video in 2001.

Live History

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 dirge-like.

[Click here 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).

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

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.

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

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.

[Click here 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.

[Click here 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.

[Click here 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.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Vote For Change Tour rehearsals performances list]

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.

[Click here 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.

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

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.

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

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.

[Click here 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 Bittan.

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

LOST IN THE FLOOD was performed 9 times during the 133-date-long Wrecking Ball Tour.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Wrecking Ball 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)

Covers

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

Available Versions

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.