SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT

Album version

Hmmm
Woahhh
Woahhh
Woahhh
Woahhh
Woahhh

Well I'm riding down Kingsley figuring I'll get a drink
Well I turn the radio up loud so I don't have to think at all
And I take her to the floor looking for a moment when the world seems right
And I tear into the guts, hmmm, of something in the night

Well you're born with nothing, and better off that way
Soon as you've got something they send someone to try and take it away
Well you can ride this road 'till dawn without another human being in sight
Yeah just kids wasted on, hmmm, something in the night

Woah nothing is forgotten or forgiven, when it's your last time around, hm
And I got stuff running 'round my head that I just can't live down

When we found the things we loved, they were crushed and dying in the dirt
We tried to pick up the pieces, and get away without getting hurt
But they caught us at the state line, and burned our cars in one last fight
And left us running burned and blind, hmmm, chasing something in the night

Woahhh
Woahhh
Woahhh
Woah yeah
Woahhh
So!


Page last updated: 26 Sep 2010

Intro

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT is the third track on his 1978 album Darkness On The Edge Of Town. The above lyrics are for Springsteen's studio version of SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT as released on Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

Writing Date and Lyrics Evolvement

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT appeared for the first time on 01 Aug 1976 when it was performed live in concert at Monmouth Arts Centre in Red Bank, NJ. Between that date and its mid-1977 studio recording, the song lyrically evolved through several versions. This leads to the conclusion that SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT was written shortly before 01 Aug 1976.

During that period (1976-1977), SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT evolved lyrically through several versions:

Studio Recording

According to Dave Marsh, the first evening of the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album recording sessions "was spent spent laying down demos of about twenty songs Bruce had written and more or less completed during the lawsuit. They included [...] 'Something in the Night' from the live shows of the previous year." Bruce Springsteen also recalls that "'Something In The Night,', that was a song that we did very first night in the studio, we did it as a demo tape."

Two takes of the song are in circulation: an early outtake recorded in Jun-Jul 1977 at Atlantic Record Studios in New York City, NY, (see the early outtake for more details), and the album version which was recorded in Sep-Oct 1977 at The Record Plant in New York City, NY.

The original mix of the album's version, taken from the album's original acetates, appears on several bootlegs including The Original Darkness Mixes (E Street Records) and The Heart Of Darkness (Skydisc).

Bruce Springsteen -- The Original Darkness Mixes (E Street Records) [bootleg cover art] Bruce Springsteen -- The Heart Of Darkness (Skydisc) [bootleg cover art]

Another different mix of that album version is also in circulation, and it appears on several bootlegs, including The Definitive Darkness Outtakes Collection (E Street Records) and Darkness Outtakes 1978 Vol. 3: The Promise (Scorpio). However, it should be noted that it is not 100% confirmed that this is the same recording as the album's take. It is possible that it is an entirely different recording, and not only a different mix. Note that the lyrics are exactly the same on both mixes (or takes).

Bruce Springsteen -- The Definitive Darkness Outtakes Collection (E Street Records) [bootleg cover art] Bruce Springsteen -- Darkness Outtakes 1978 Vol. 3: The Promise (Scorpio) [bootleg cover art]

In the handwritten lyrics notebook that was reproduced in The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story box set, there's scan of a demo tape inlay that lists tracks recorded at Atlantic Studios, including SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT. The tape is dated 01 Jun 1977.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce scan]

Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Despite the marvelous reception received by both Born To Run and the tour which followed, the relationship between Bruce Springsteen and his now former manager and producer Mike Appel was deteriorating. In July 1976 the storm broke; Mike Appel wrote to Springsteen saying that he would not allow Jon Landau (Springsteen's friend and co-producer of Born To Run) to produce the next album, citing a particular paragraph from their original agreement. Bruce replied on 27 Jul 1976 by firing manager Mike Appel and suing him and his management company Laurel Canyon Ltd. in Federal Court in Manhattan, claiming fraud, breach of trust, and undue influence. Appel countersued on 29 Jul 1976 in New York State Supreme Court, asking the court to prohibit Springsteen and Jon Landau from working together in studio. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band were slated to enter the studio that year for the recording of a new album, except that on 15 Sep 1976 the judge in the lawsuits case ruled that Springsteen was enjoined from any further recording with Columbia Records until Appel's suit was resolved. This would drag for about a year.

Meanwhile, Springsteen continued gigging, and in the process broke his self-imposed rule of not playing the larger arenas. This was basically because he was not able to put a record out, and it was the only way his fans would be able to hear him at all.

Springsteen reached a final settlement in his yearlong litigation with Mike Appel on 28 May 1977. Effectively this meant that for the first time in a year Springsteen was able to go into a studio and record. The Darkness On The Edge Of Town recording sessions kicked off in early June 1977 at Atlantic Record Studios, New York City, NY. Springsteen had a considerable amount of new material, but the songs were in various stages of writing completion. Consequently many of the songs were shaped over the course of numerous sessions spanning several months.

The sessions at Atlantic Studios were only two or three weeks old when problems surfaced. Springsteen didn't like the sound he was getting from the studio, particularly the drums. On top of that Atlantic Studios did not offer a particularly comfortable or livable environment for the musicians. A decision was taken to shift operations to the nearby Record Plant where most of the Born To Run album had been recorded. However financial commitments to Atlantic Studios were already made, and on such short notice it was hard to find un-booked studio time at the popular Record Plant. Consequently the Jul-Aug 1977 period saw Springsteen and the band recording at both studios, but mostly Atlantic Studios. From September to late December, all the recording seems to have taken place at The Record Plant, where all the recordings issued on the original album emanate from.

The actual recording sessions for Darkness On The Edge Of Town were completed by early January 1978. The mixing sessions began in early January 1978 and dragged on until late March. There was a tremendous amount of different mixes considered, with Springsteen changing his mind on the mix of THE PROMISED LAND as late as early April.

Darkness On The Edge Of Town was released on Columbia Records on 02 Jun 1978. It was produced by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

The album features 10 new Springsteen compositions and clocks at 42:55.

Darkness On The Edge Of Town
track listing, side 1 (vinyl LP format)

  1. BADLANDS
  2. ADAM RAISED A CAIN
  3. SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT
  4. CANDY'S ROOM
  5. RACING IN THE STREET

Darkness On The Edge Of Town
track listing, side 2 (vinyl LP format)

  1. THE PROMISED LAND
  2. FACTORY
  3. STREETS OF FIRE
  4. PROVE IT ALL NIGHT
  5. DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN

Official Releases

Besides its release on the Darkness On The Edge Of Town, SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT was used on the B-side for BADLANDS in five countries in July 1978: Holland, UK, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.

  • 7" vinyl - Holland, Jul 1978 - catalogue # CBS 6532
    Comes in a picture sleeve.
    Side A: BADLANDS
    Side B: SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT


     
  • 7" single - UK, Jul 1978 - catalogue # S CBS 6532
    Promotional issue, comes in die-cut CBS logo sleeve.
    Side A: BADLANDS
    Side B: SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT


     
  • 7" single - UK, Jul 1978 - catalogue # S CBS 6532
    Commercial issue, comes in die-cut CBS logo sleeve.
    Side A: BADLANDS
    Side B: SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT


     
  • 7" single - Germany, Jul 1978 - catalogue # CBS 6532
    Promotional "CBS Blitzinformation" issue, comes in a picture sleeve.
    Side A: BADLANDS
    Side B: SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT


     
  • 7" single - Germany, Jul 1978 - catalogue # CBS 6532
    Commercial issue, comes in a picture sleeve.
    Side A: BADLANDS
    Side B: SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT


     
  • 7" single - Australia, Jul 1978 - catalogue # CBS BA 222445
    Promotional issue, white labels, comes in a die-cut CBS logo sleeve.
    Side A: BADLANDS
    Side B: SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT
     
  • 7" single - Australia, Jul 1978 - catalogue # CBS BA 222445
    Commercial issue, comes in a die-cut CBS logo sleeve.
    Side A: BADLANDS
    Side B: SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT


     
  • 7" single - New Zealand, Jul 1978 - catalogue # CBS BA 461872
    Comes in a die-cut CBS logo sleeve.
    Side A: BADLANDS
    Side B: SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT can also be found on one Bruce Springsteen promo-only sampler.


Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Ballads Vol. 1 (1973 - 1982)

CD-R – Sony (no catalogue number) – Japan, 2005

Japan-only promotional "Digest" CDR advance sampler tying in with the release of the first six Japanese 2005 "mini-LP"-style Springsteen CD album reissues. This disc comes in a plain slimline jewel case with no artwork.

Live History

The "Lawsuit Tour", which kicked off on 01 Aug 1976 in Red Bank, NJ, had Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band joined for the first time by the Miami Horns Quartet (line-up #1), featuring Carlo Novi on sax, Ed Manion on sax, Tony Palligrosi on trumpet, and Rick Gazda on trumpet. The foursome came from Southside Johnny's Miami Horns outfit during a break in Southside's touring schedule. This first line-up would leave the band after the 7th show of the tour (21 Aug 1976 in Waterbury, CT -- though there might be some more unknown dates before and after) and rejoin Southside Johnny on tour. On the 9th show (26 Sep 1976 in Phoenix, AZ), Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were joined by the Miami Horns Quartet (line-up #2), featuring Ed De Palma on sax, John Binkley on trumpet, Steve Paraczky trumpet, and Dennis Orlock trombone. This group became a permanent fixture until the tour ended in March 1977. Despite the similar name, this Philadelphia-based foursome has no affiliation with Southside Johnny's Miami Horns. The Miami Horn are only heard on a few songs each night, including SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT which now features a trumpet accompaniment.

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT appeared for the first time on 01 Aug 1976 at Monmouth Arts Centre in Red Bank, NJ, the opening night of the "Lawsuit Tour".

During the 1st leg of the tour (29 known dates, between August and November 1976), SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT is confirmed to have been performed on 26 shows, and absent on 1. Note that some setlists from this period are incomplete or unknown, and therefore the remaining 2 performances remain unconfirmed.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Lawsuit Tour 1st leg confirmed performances list]

During the 2nd leg of the tour (33 known dates, between February and March 1977), SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT is confirmed to have been performed on 9 shows, and absent on 18. Note that some setlists from this period are incomplete or unknown, and therefore the remaining 6 performances remain unconfirmed.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Lawsuit Tour 2nd leg confirmed performances list]

In preparation for the Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour, SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT was practiced on 19 May 1978 at Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ, during the only known/confirmed private rehearsal prior to the tour's start. See the live 19 May 1978 (take #1) version and the live 19 May 1978 (take #2) version.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour rehearsals performances list]

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT is known to have been performed at least 13 times during the 111-date-long Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour, most of them in the tour's first two months. 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.

[Click here to display/hide detailed known Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour performances list]

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT reappeared 21 years later, performed 6 times during The Reunion Tour.

[Click here to display/hide detailed The Reunion Tour performances list]

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT was performed 9 times during The Rising Tour.

[Click here to display/hide detailed The Rising Tour performances list]

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT was performed once during the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour. The song was played solo on guitar.

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

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band embarked on the Magic Tour in October 2007. INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET is known to have been played during at least one of the tour's private rehearsals in September 2007 in Ausbury Park.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2007 pre-tour performances list]

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT was performed 4 times during the Magic Tour, all between late March and late June 2008.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Magic Tour performances list]

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT was performed off-tour on 07 May 2008 at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ, during a benefit show for the historic theatre. The complete Darkness On The Edge Of Town album was played that night.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2008 off-tour performances list]

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT was performed 8 times during the Working On A Dream Tour.

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

By the time this page was last updated, the 18 Nov 2009 show in Nashville was the last time SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT was performed.

Appearance in Movies

Five songs from Darkness On The Edge Of Town were used in the 2006 AJ Schnack directed documentary film Kurt Cobain: About a Son, but none of them were included on the film's soundtrack album. The songs are: SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT, BADLANDS, CANDY'S ROOM, THE PROMISED LAND, and RACING IN THE STREET. Very small snippets of these songs are played, and they are barely noticeable in the background.


Plot: An intimate and moving meditation on the late musician and artist Kurt Cobain, based on more than 25 hours of previously unheard audiotaped interviews conducted with Cobain by music journalist Michael Azerrad.

Starring: Kurt Cobain
Directed by: AJ Schnack
Produced by: Ravi Anne
Narrated by: Kurt Cobain
Distributed by: Balcony Releasing
Release date: 10 Sep 2006

Covers

Aram recorded a version of SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT that was included on three Bruce Springsteen tribute albums. See Aram's cover version for more details.

  • One Step Up / Two Steps Back: The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen in 1997
  • One Step Up / Two Steps Back: The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen Sampler in 1997
  • The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen in 2000

The Section (a string quartet of two violins, a viola, and a cello) released an instrumental cover of SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT on their 2002 Bruce Springsteen tribute album Hometown: The String Quartet Tribute To Springsteen.

Matthew Ryan also recorded SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT and released it in 2003 on the Bruce Springsteen tribute album Light Of Day: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen. He also released it that same year on his album Happiness. See Matthew Ryan's version for more details.

Available Versions

List of available versions of SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT on this website:

Credits / References

Much of the above info about the studio recording and the live performances are taken from Brucebase. Info and scans for some of the singles and the Bruce Springsteen: Ballads Vol. 1 (1973 - 1982) sampler are taken from the Lost In The Flood website.

Request

If you have audio for any live 1976 or 1977 version of SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT that might have some different lyrics from the versions available on this website, please send me an mp3 of it so that I transcribe the lyrics, or at least transcribe them for me. You can contact me via the below form or by email: . You can also help if you have additional scans (or info) for the singles on which SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT appears. You will be credited. Thanks in advance.

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