SECRET GARDEN

Album version

She'll let you in her house
If you come knockin' late at night
She'll let you in her mouth
If the words you say are right
If you pay the price
She'll let you deep inside
There's a secret garden she hides

She'll let you in her car
To go drivin' 'round
She'll let you into the parts of herself
That'll bring you down
She'll let you in her heart
If you got a hammer and a vise
But into her secret garden, don't think twice

You've gone a million miles
How far'd you get
To that place where you can't remember
And you can't forget

She'll lead you down a path
There'll be tenderness in the air
She'll let you come just far enough
So you know she's really there
And she'll look at you and smile
And her eyes will say
She's got a secret garden
Where everything you want
Where everything you need
Will always stay a million miles away


Page last updated: 22 Sep 2007

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, written around early 1994 and recorded with the E Street Band for the Greatest Hits album in 1995.


SECRET GARDEN sheet music from
Warner Brothers Publications
(piano - vocal - chords)

In his book Songs, Bruce Springsteen wrote that SECRET GARDEN "was cut from an unreleased album I [he] recorded in 1994." In a interview with Backstreets Magazine, Shayne Fontayne (guitarist from Springsteen's 1992-93 band) said that SECRET GARDEN and WAITING ON THE END OF THE WORLD were two of the songs they worked on for the "relationship" album in 1994. Bruce also wrote in Songs that SECRET GARDEN "was darkly erotic and centered around the mysteries that remains between partners, even the closest of relationships."

Lyrics sheet for SECRET GARDEN -- from the Blood Brothers documentary

Jon Landau wasn't a fan of the project (the 1994 album), and recommended shelving it and focusing more on a "career overview"; this lead to the Greatest Hits sessions with the E Street Band in 1995. In the Blood Brothers documentary, Landau said that "SECRET GARDEN is a song Bruce's had for a year, and again it was a song that he recorded as part of a solo project. And, we talked about it and, you know, what were the songs we'd use, record with the E Street Band, and I thought this would be a good one, and, you know, he thought so also."

Bruce called the band in early Jan 1995, and they assembled for the recording sessions on 09 Jan 1995 at the Hit Factory, New York City, NY. This was their first studio reunion in 11 years (since the Born In The USA sessions) and their first ever with Nils Lofgren. The song was recorded on 11 Jan 1995 and was released for the first time on Greatest Hits in on 28 Feb 1995.

Producer/director/photographer Ernie Fritz was given complete access to the 1995 studio sessions with the E Street Band, and part of the footage was released on the documentary Blood Brothers in Nov 1996.

Bruce Springsteen -- Blood Brothers (DVD)

The documentary shows the recording of SECRET GARDEN; three takes appear: a snippet of piano instrumental, a raw full band take, and an added violins snippet. Springsteen addresses producer/engineer Chuck Plotkin, "Let me just give you an idea, show you how I was playing it." He then goes to the piano and plays the small snippet, which only is a glimpse of the way Bruce originally wrote, and possibly recorded the track in 1994.

Bruce playing the piano snippet of SECRET GARDEN -- from the Blood Brothers documentary

In the documentary, Bruce tells Clarence Clemons, "Let's use the sax, man," and Clarence asks, "All through this?" Bruce answers, "Towards the end - I don't know. We'll have to see. Let's mess around with it." Before recording his part, Clarence says, "I'm about to go in there and do some sax tracks. I can't wait to put them down 'cause I'm like on the edge, and it's driving me nuts and I'm just anxious to put it down on the horn now, you know." He adds, "You know, a song like this, I just pick the horn up, I stand in front of the mic, and it comes out. You know, you can't make a plan. It's something that's been written many years ago, and it's just floating in the atmosphere. And it just comes together right now because the time is right, the rhythm is right, the harmonics are right, everything's right, and it just flows. You get that cosmic flow, and that's what's going to happen with the solo. I'm just excited as anybody else to see what comes out, you know." In the liner notes of Greatest Hits, Bruce praises Clarence's contribution as "the Big Man sweeter than ever." Clarence ends the song with an excellent 1-minute sax solo.

Clarence Clemons playing his sax solo for SECRET GARDEN -- from the Blood Brothers documentary

Mixing engineer Bob Clearmountain says, "This is a song that was cut before and they redid it with the E Street Band who've done quite a nice job of it, and then they had this guy David Kahne come in and do a sort of orchestral arrangement on synthesizer." Bruce was very pleased when he listened to Clearmountain's new arrangement, and he said, "Get this man a beer! Holly smokes!"

The last thing they had to decide is whether to include strings or not in the arrangement, and Bruce hands out a torn-up pieces of paper so that the band and studio personnel can anonymously vote for or against the inclusion of string arrangements. The "strings" version lost, and the "no-strings" version was included on Greatest Hits.

The "strings" version is a special remix with effective synthesizer string arrangements by David Kahne and extra percussion added to the regular Greatest Hits LP version. Mixing engineer Bob Clearmountain says about the "strings" arrangement that it's "beautiful, but parts of it tend to draw you attention away from the song and lyric and what the song's all about."

The quite brilliant "strings" arrangement was included on a bonus CD-5 with the Blood Brothers video (VHS format).


Released in 1996 in the US (catalogue# COL CSK 8879), Europe (catalogue# COL XPCD 2104), and Australia (catalogue# COL CSK 8879)

  1. BLOOD BROTHERS [alternate version]
  2. HIGH HOPES
  3. MURDER INCORPORATED [live 21 Feb 1995 version]
  4. SECRET GARDEN [with strings]
  5. WITHOUT YOU

Exclusively available as a bonus with the Blood Brothers home video (VHS format), this picture disc CD-5 comes in a cardboard picture sleeve with a unique, sepia-tone shot of Bruce playing guitar and harmonica in front of a studio mic, and multi-coloured lettering as used for the video cover; the disc itself features the same image with tracklisting. Tracks 1 and 2 (recorded for Greatest Hits with the reformed E Street Band) initially were unique to this CD before turning up again on the two European "Secret Garden" reissues a couple of months later, while the special versions of SECRET GARDEN and MURDER INCORPORATED were previously available in most parts of the world; leaving WITHOUT YOU (another Greatest Hits outtake) as the only otherwise unavailable song on this EP. Interestingly, the rear sleeve bears a "Not For Resale" legend normally found on promotional releases only; just as the catalogue number prefixes "XPCD" and "CSK" are usually assigned for non-commercial pressings.


1996 Japanese release (catalogues# SONY SRVM 1524-5)

  1. BLOOD BROTHERS [alternate version]
  2. HIGH HOPES
  3. MURDER INCORPORATED [live 21 Feb 1995 version]
  1. SECRET GARDEN [with strings]
  2. WITHOUT YOU

Exclusive Japanese version of the Blood Brothers EP (available with the appropriate home video only) which, curiously, has the five tracks split over two separate 3-inch CD's that are housed in a single "snap-pack" with same overall artwork as the standard Western issues apart from the odd additional Japanese graphics.

The later-released The Complete Video Anthology / 1978-2000 DVD includes the video of SECRET GARDEN (that was also released before on the Blood Brothers video as bonus). However, it also contains the previously unreleased video of the "strings" version; but it is only the audio that differs on this one.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Complete Video Anthology / 1978-2000 DVD

The first take recorded on 11 Jan 1995 appears on Deep Down In The Vaults (E Street Records) and The Genuine Tracks (Scorpio) bootlegs. It is a full band take that is very close to the official one, with a different mix. Check out take #1.

When it was first released as a single (Spring 1995), the song peaked at #63 only on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in Apr 1995.

"SECRET GARDEN"
1995 promotional 1-track CD issued in the US. Catalogue # Columbia CSK 6942.

"SECRET GARDEN"
1995 promotional 1-track CD issued in Austria. Catalogue # CBS/SONY SAMPCD 2618 1.

"SECRET GARDEN"
1995 promotional 1-track CD issued in Spain. Catalogue # CBS/SONY SAMPCD 2618 1.

"SECRET GARDEN"
Rare 1995 promotional 1-track CD issued in Mexico. Cardboard picture sleeve, catalogue # COL PRCD 96363.

"SECRET GARDEN"
Rare 1995 promotional 1-track CD issued in Brazil. Regular jewel case with black title inserts, catalogue # COL 899.112.


"SECRET GARDEN / SECRET GARDEN"
Rare 1995 promotional 12" vinyl issued in Brazil. Portuguese liner notes on rear, catalogue # COL 51.659.


"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 US 7" vinyl release. Picture sleeve, catalogue # COL 38-77847. The standard commercial US pressing was also distributed as a jukebox single in plain white die-cut bag with title strip.

"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 Holland 7" vinyl release. Picture sleeve similar to US sleeve, red labels, catalogue # COL 661295 7.

"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 Holland 7" vinyl release. Die-cut blank cover, large hole version typically circulating without picture sleeve for jukebox use, catalogue # COL 661295 7.

"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 2-track CD issued in the US. Jewel case, catalogue # COL 38K 77847.

"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 2-track CD issued in Canada. Jewel case, catalogue # COL 38K 77847.

"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 2-track CD issued in Austria. Catalogue # COL 661295 1.

"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 2-track CD issued in Australia. Catalogue # 6612812.

"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 2-track CD issued in Holland. Features different picture sleeve, catalogue # COL 661295 1.

"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 2-track CD issued in Brazil. Catalogue # COL 44.045/2-661295.

"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 2-track cassette issued in the US, catalogue # COL 38T 77847.

"SECRET GARDEN / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 2-track cassette issued in the UK, catalogue # COL 661295 4.


"SECRET GARDEN - SECRET GARDEN [with strings] / MURDER INCORPORATED [live 21 Feb 1995 version] - THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 12" vinyl pressed in Holland with catalogue # COL 661295 6. This is the original Dutch issue in sepia-toned "garden" picture sleeve whose design widely resembles the standard US 7" and European CD single inserts. Believed to have been pressed for the Swedish market in limited quantities.

"SECRET GARDEN - SECRET GARDEN [with strings] / MURDER INCORPORATED [live 21 Feb 1995 version] - THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 12" vinyl pressed in Holland with catalogue # COL 661295 6. Withdrawn second Dutch pressing for exclusive distribution in France, featuring a unique colour picture sleeve with a still of Bruce from the "Secret Garden" promo video.

"SECRET GARDEN - SECRET GARDEN [with strings] / MURDER INCORPORATED [live 21 Feb 1995 version] - THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 12" vinyl pressed in the US with catalogue # COL 01-661295-20.

"SECRET GARDEN - SECRET GARDEN [with strings] / MURDER INCORPORATED [live 21 Feb 1995 version] - THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version]"
1995 CD pressed in Austria with catalogue # COL 661295 5.


"SECRET GARDEN / SECRET GARDEN [with strings] / MURDER INCORPORATED [live 21 Feb 1995 version] / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version] / PINK CADILLAC"
1995 CD5 issued in the US, catalogue # COL 44K 77854.


"SECRET GARDEN / SECRET GARDEN [with strings] / MURDER INCORPORATED [live 21 Feb 1995 version] / THUNDER ROAD [live 22 Sep 1992 version] / PINK CADILLAC / ROULETTE"
1995 Japanese CD5 issued in a standard-size jewel case with 14-page bilingual lyric booklet whose front depicts the familiar "roses" image overlaid with a unique green tone. Originally came with white obi strip; track line-up is exclusive to this issue. Green disc with white and silver type. Catalogue # SONY SRCS 7632.


"SECRET GARDEN / BECAUSE THE NIGHT [live 28 Dec 1980 version] / PINK CADILLAC / 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY)"
1995 CD5 issued in Austria, catalogue # COL 661295 2.

"SECRET GARDEN / BECAUSE THE NIGHT [live 28 Dec 1980 version] / PINK CADILLAC / 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY)"
1995 CD5 issued in South Africa, catalogue # COL CD SIN 30.


"SECRET GARDEN - TAKE A TOKE [by C & C Music Factory] / NEVER FORGET YOU [by Mariah Carey] - EVERLASTING LOVE [by Gloria Estefan]"
1995 promotional 7" vinyl issued in Brazil for jukebox use. Grey die-cut sleeve with white CBS logos, white label, plays at 33 1/3 rpm, catalogue # SONY 901.146.


"ANIMA MIA [by Claudio Baglioni] / SECRET GARDEN"
1996 Italian promotional 7" vinyl release for jukebox use. Plain white sleeves with title strips, catalogue # COL JC 15515.


"SECRET GARDEN plus tracks by Pink Floyd and Silverchair"
1995 Argentina-only promotional CD5 in cardboard sleeve; Spanish song title translation ("Jardin Secreto") on both back cover and disc. Catalogue # COL 2-000168.

The song became a huge international hit when it was featured as the love theme for Cameron Crowe's 1996 film Jerry Maguire [read about the movie below]. It became a radio hit when a disc jockey mixed in bits of dialogue ("You had me at hello") from the movie (check out the Z100 Jerry Maguire Mix). There was renewed interest in the song, which went higher in the charts than it did in its initial release two years earlier. It vaulted into the Top 20 in the Spring of 1997 (#19 in the US charts and #17 in the UK charts).

Jerry Maguire (DVD)

"SECRET GARDEN - SECRET GARDEN [with strings] / SECRET GARDEN - SECRET GARDEN [with strings]"
Scarce 1996 promotional 12" vinyl issued in Holland to tie in with the soundtrack album for the Jerry Maguire movie. Plain black die-cut sleeve, red labels on disc, catalogue # COL 664236 6. There also are mispressed copies (same catalogue number) whose B-sides erroneously play MURDER INCORPORATED (live) and THUNDER ROAD (live); just as the 1995 commercial issue (COL 661295 6).


"SECRET GARDEN"
1997 promotional 1-track CD single issued in the UK, catalogue # XPCD 855.

"SECRET GARDEN"
1997 promotional 1-track CD single issued in Spain, catalogue # CSAMPCS 4046.


"SECRET GARDEN - MISSING"
1997 promotional 2-track CD single issued in Holland, catalogue # COL 664236 1. Cardboard picture sleeve.

"SECRET GARDEN - MISSING"
1997 2-track cassette issued in UK to promote the Jerry Maguire movie soundtrack, catalogue # COL 664324 4.


"SECRET GARDEN - MISSING - HIGH HOPES - THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD"
1997 CD5 issued in Europe (pressed in Austria) to promote the Jerry Maguire movie soundtrack, catalogue # COL 664236 2.

"SECRET GARDEN - MISSING - HIGH HOPES - THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD"
1997 CD5 issued in the UK to promote the Jerry Maguire movie soundtrack, catalogue # COL 664324 2.


"SECRET GARDEN [with strings] - BLOOD BROTHERS [alternate version] - STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA - HIGHWAY 29"
1997 CD5 issued in the UK to promote the Jerry Maguire movie soundtrack, catalogue # COL 664324 5.


"SECRET GARDEN - THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - STRAIGHT TIME [live 09 Dec 1995 version] - SINALOA COWBOYS [live 09 Dec 1995 version]"
1996 Australian CD5, catalogue # COL 664021 2. This single features a unique track line-up as well as totally different artwork to either of the above pressings, reminiscent of the earlier "Missing" EP.

Cameron Crowe is obviously a big Bruce fan, as evidenced by the inclusion of this song in the movie. Also at the end montage of his movie Vanilla Sky, along with the cover image from The Freewheeling Bob Dylan, is the cover of Bruce's The River.

The song was included on the soundtrack of the movie, and the remix that incorporated dialogue from the film appeared in 1997 on a US-only various artists compilation titled The Morning Zoo Bootleg and on a 1-track promotional single. Check out the Z100 Jerry Maguire Mix for more details.

The song was also included on the Jerry Maguire: Audio Press Kit, a very rare 1997 France-only promotional CD, catalogue # COL 040. The CD features radio spots for the movie plus interviews with its stars, Tom Cruise and Ren´┐Że Zellweger, as well as director Cameron Crowe. Colour picture insert sporting same front artwork as the regular soundtrack album.

The song made it's first live appearance on 05 Apr 1995 at Ed Sullivan theatre, New York City, NY, when Bruce was promoting his Greatest Hits album with the E Street Band during "The Late Show With David Letterman". Bruce and the band also performed the song the same day during a concert for Sonny executives at Sony Music Studios, New York City, NY. See the live 05 Apr 1995 version.

The song was reported to be rehearsed for the Reunion tour in Mar 1999 in Asbury Park, NJ. It was sound-checked on 11 Apr 1999 at Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, Spain, but not played during the show. The only on-tour performance was on 22 Jun 2000 at Madison Square Gardens, New York City, NY, and that was the last ever known performance of SECRET GARDEN. Check out the live 22 Jun 2000 version.

In Jul 2006, Bruce Springsteen contributed the string version of SECRET GARDEN to SERVE, a various artists benefit CD sponsored and released by Hard Rock International and Sony/BMG. The long out-of-print track was the opener of the album whose net proceeds will go to support the World Hunger Year (WHY) program Artists Against Hunger & Poverty (AAHP).

SECRET GARDEN appeared on 5 Bruce Springsteen tribute albums (scans and info taken from the Nebraska website):


Studio 99 / Born In The USA: Springsteen - A Tribute

CD - Going For A Song (GFS402) - UK - 2001

Richard Coleman / I Can't Believe It's Not ..... Bruce Springsteen

CD - Pegasus (ICBINCD047) - Germany - 2001

Various Artists / Light Of Day: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen

2-CD - Schoolhouse Records (SHR0022-2) - USA - 2003

SECRET GARDEN is performed by Tom Cochrane & Damhnait Doyle

Though this album was also released in Spain (Good Sounds - DM 797-02) and the UK (Revolver - REVXD 244), this track is only available on the USA release.

New Jersey All Stars / A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen

CD - Cedar (1402) - Europe - 2004

The Voices On Tour / The Music Of Bruce Springsteen

CD - Price Size / Promo Sound LTD (PS 1723) - Germany - 2006

The song was also covered by several other artists, including:

  • Apotheosis on the album Five Seconds To Spare
  • Clark Bars on the album It's Been...
  • The Dartmouth Aires on the album Interplanetairey

The above lyrics refer to the album's version. Check also the Z100 Jerry Maguire Mix, take #1, the live 05 Apr 1995 version, and the live 22 Jun 2000 version. Similar lyrics.

Most scans and info for the SECRET GARDEN singles are taken from the Lost In The Flood website.

Track credits:
Roy Bittan: piano
Clarence Clemons: saxophone, percussion
Danny Frederici: electronic keyboards
Nils Lofgren: guitar
Bruce Springsteen: vocal, guitar
Garry Tallent: bass
Max Weinberg: drums
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin
Recorded by Toby Scott
Mixed by Bob Clearmountain
Mastered by Bob Ludwig

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Liner notes by Bruce Springsteen in the Greatest Hits booklet:

... men + women... + the Big Man sweeter than ever.

Info about the motion picture Jerry Maguire:

Jerry Maguire is a man who knows the score. As a top agent at Sports Management International, Jerry is unquestionably master of his universe. Trouble is, Jerry's mind, mouth and soul are usually on automatic pilot. He's good at friendship, but (as his numerous ex-girlfriends testify) bad at intimacy. Still, there's absolutely nothing wrong with Jerry that a sudden dose of failure can't cure. A week after spontaneously writing a stirring, visionary mission statement for SMI entitled "The Things We Think And Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business," he's unceremoniously fired. Stripped of his job and a good measure of his identity, the tenacious but hanging-by-a-thread Jerry is forced to start from scratch. He's joined on his journey to redemption by two unlikely allies: Rod Tidwell, a second-tier wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals; and Dorothy Boyd, a wistful 26-year-old single mother who departs her accountancy position with SMI for a very uncertain future with her new boss.

Starring: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renee Zellweger, Kelly Preston, Jerry O'Connell
Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Produced by: James L. Brooks, Laurence Mark, Richard Sakai
US theatrical release date: 13 Dec 1996