SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Album version

Crazy Janey and her mission man were back in the alley tradin' hands
'Long came Wild Billy with his friend G-Man all duded up for Saturday night
Well, Billy slammed on his coaster brakes and said, "Anybody wanna go on up to Greasy Lake?
It's about a mile down on the dark side of route eighty-eight, I got a bottle of rose so let's try it
We'll pick up Hazy Davy and Killer Joe and I'll take you all out to where the gypsy angels go
They're built like light
Ooh, and they dance like spirits in the night" (all night)
In the night (all night)
Oh, you don't know what they can do to you
Spirits in the night (all night)
Oh, in the night (all night)
Stand right up now and let it shoot through you

Well now Wild young Billy was a crazy cat and he shook some dust out of his coonskin cap
He said, "Trust some of this, it'll show you where you're at, or at least it'll help you really feel it"
Well, by the time we made it up to Greasy Lake I had my head out the window and Janey's fingers were in the cake
I think I really dug her 'cause I was too loose to fake
I said, "I'm hurt," she said, "Honey, let me heal it"
And we danced all night to a soul fairy band
And she kissed me just right like only a lonely angel can
She felt so nice, just as soft as a spirit in the night (all night)
In the night (all night)
Oh, Janey don't know what she do to you
Like a spirit in the night (all night)
All night (all night)
Stand right up and I let her shoot through me

(Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh)
(Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh)

(Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh)
(Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh)

Now the night was bright and the stars threw light on Billy and Davy
Dancin' in the moonlight
They were down near the water in a stone mud fight
Killer Joe gone passed out on the lawn
Well now Hazy Davy got really hurt, he ran into the lake in just his socks and a shirt
Me and Crazy Janey was makin' love in the dirt, singin' our birthday songs
Janey said it was time to go
So we closed our eyes and said goodbye to gypsy angel row, felt so right
Together we moved like spirits in the night (all night)
In the night (all night)
Oh, you don't know what they can do to you
Them spirits in the night (all night)
All night (all night)
Oh, stand right up and let it shoot through you
Like a spirit in the night (all night)
All night (all night)
All night (all night)
All night (all night)
All night (all night)
All night (all night)
All night, ooh, ooh, man, all night
The night
Be-da-ba the night
In the night


Page last updated: 31 Mar 2012

Intro

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT is the eighth track on his 1973 debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

The above lyrics are for Springsteen's studio version of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT as released on Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.. This album version was also included on The Essential Bruce Springsteen compilation album in 2003.

Bruce Springsteen's SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was most notably covered and released by Manfred Mann's Earth Band. See Manfred Mann's Earth Band's cover version for more details.

Composition and Recording

Along with BLINDED BY THE LIGHT, SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was composed in August 1972 and was completed by early September. These are the only two tracks on Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. that feature Clarence Clemons, and they would both become the album's (unsuccessful) singles. See the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. section below for more details.

At first, Mike Appel was against the band concept on the album; he envisioned a folk album. He later recalled, "I was too caught up in his lyrics. When Bruce came and played me 'Spirit In The Night' on guitar, I liked the song, but I didn't extend the tune into the band backing. Bruce said, 'It's just because you listened to it on guitar. You can't tell exactly how it will sound.'"

Dave Marsh wrote in his Springsteen biography Born To Run: The Bruce Springsteen Story that SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT took longer to write than any other song on the album. He adds, "'Spirit In the Night' is the heart of Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey, because it is the album's most fully realized song."

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was recorded late during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. album recording sessions, sometime in August or early September 1972 at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY. Bruce Springsteen plays piano and electric bass and sings vocals on this track, and is backed up by Clarence Clemons on saxophone and backing vocals and Vini Lopez on drums and backing vocals. All three provide clapping sound. The track, as well as the whole album, was produced by Mike Appel and Jimmy Cretecos. According to Sony's database of Springsteen recording sessions, SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was cut on 11 Sep 1972 and on 26 Oct 1972 at 914 Sound Studios. The circulating studio version is probably from one of those two sessions.

People and Locations

Springsteen was asked about the background of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT in a 1974 interview on a Richmond, VA radio station. He mentioned that in late 1971 and early 1972, one of the albums he was listening to a lot was The Band's then-new Cahoots album. That was their fourth album, released in September 1971. He mentioned that one of the Robbie Robertson songs on that album had a character called "Little John" that in a roundabout way became the "Hazy Davy" character in SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT. He also mentioned that he sort of borrowed one of Robertson's verses and scrambled it up a bit and used it in SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT.

During the interview, Bruce couldn't recall the song title off the top of his head, but he must've been referring to the track THE MOON STRUCK ONE. That's one of the Robertson penned songs on the album, and it contains the following lyrics:

"Little John was stung by a snake over by the lake
And it looked like he's really, really hurt, he was lyin' in the dirt
"

While Springsteen's SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT contains the following lyrics:

"Well now Hazy Davy got really hurt, he ran into the lake in just his socks and a shirt
Me and Crazy Janey was makin' love in the dirt
"

In a November 2000 interview with Castiles.net's Torsten Mörke, David Hazlett claimed that he was the "Hazy Davy" referenced in the lyrics of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT. He also mentioned that Bruce always called him "Hazy".

Hazlett was the drummer in Mercy Flight, a Richmond, VA based college rock band that existed between 1969 and 1973. The band opened for Bruce Springsteen's Steel Mill several times from late 1969 until August 1970, when the band's singer Robbin Thompson quit to join Steel Mill as a second lead singer and songwriter. In September 1970, Springsteen asked David Hazlett to substitute for Vini Lopez in Steel Mill for the upcoming 11 September show at Clearwater Swim Club in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. At the time, Lopez was stuck in Richmond for about a month sorting out some legal difficulties. Hazlett packed up and left for the Jersey shore, and he started rehearsing with Steel Mill on 06 September at Carl "Tinker" West's Challenger Eastern Surfboards factory in Wanamassa, NJ.

"Wild Billy" could very well be Bill, a law student who was none other than the ex of Diane Lozito, Bruce Springsteen's girlfriend between summer 1971 and early 1975. Springsteen wrote the lines "She kissed me just right / Like only a lonely angel can" about a romantic encounter with her. See ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT) for more about Diane Lozito. "Wild Billy" would reappear in WILD BILLY'S CIRCUS STORY, in the title only, but nowhere in the song's lyrics.

Although Greasy Lake, where the action takes place, is a mythical place, drummer Vini Lopez has stated that it is actually a composite of two locations that band members used to visit. One was Lake Carasaljo, near the intersection of U.S. Route 9 and New Jersey Route 88 in Lakewood, New Jersey. The other was a swampy lake near Garden State Parkway exit 88.

Some have claimed that Greasy Lake is a lake near Howell, NJ. It gets its name from the idea that homeless people living around the lake used it for bathing, washing dishes, etc. The homeless people were known as "Gypsy Angels" or the "Spirits In The Night."

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT inspired the name for Greasy Lake, a major fan-based Bruce Springsteen tribute website and discussion forum. The website is run from Denmark and has been online since 1998.

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.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

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

Single Releases

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was also the second single from the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. album, but it failed to appear on the music charts. The single was issued in May 1973 in the United States only, with FOR YOU on the B-side. This is one of the rarest Springsteen records, mainly due to its virtually non-existent original sales, but the promo issue is more common than its commercial counterpart.

"Born To Run / Spirit In The Night", a double-A single unique to North America, was released in 1976 as part of Columbia's "Hall Of Fame" series in the United States and Canada and as part of Columbia's "Hall Of Fame / Disques D'Or" series in Canada. The single was reissued three more times in the United States: in 1984 as part of Columbia's "Hall Of Fame" series (grey labels), in the late eighties as part of Columbia's "Collectables" series, and in the mid-nighties on Columbia. The single was again reissued in the United States in 1989 as part of Columbia's "Hall Of Fame" series.

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was also released on the B-side of BLINDED BY THE LIGHT in Spain in 1977.


Bruce Springsteen -- "Spirit In The Night / For You"

7-inch single – Columbia (4-45864) – USA, 1973

Comes in a die-cut Columbia logo sleeve. Some stock copies were also distributed as promos with promotional stickers added to the labels.

Side A: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
Side B: FOR YOU

Bruce Springsteen -- "Spirit In The Night / Spirit In The Night"

7-inch single – Columbia (4-45864) – USA, 1973

Comes in a die-cut Columbia logo sleeve.

Side A: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT [mono]
Side B: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT [stereo]

Bruce Springsteen -- "Born To Run / Spirit In The Night"

7-inch single – Columbia (13-33323) – USA, 1976

Issued as part of Columbia's "Hall Of Fame" series. Features red/black labels and comes in a die cut Columbia Hall Of Fame sleeve.

Side A: BORN TO RUN
Side B: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Bruce Springsteen -- "Born To Run / Spirit In The Night"

7-inch single – Columbia (13-33323) – Canada, 1976

Issued as part of Columbia's "Hall Of Fame" series. Features red/black labels and comes in a die cut Columbia Hall Of Fame sleeve.

Side A: BORN TO RUN
Side B: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Bruce Springsteen -- "Born To Run / Spirit In The Night"

7-inch single – Columbia (13-33323) – Canada, 1976

Issued as part of Columbia's "Hall Of Fame / Disques D'Or" series. Features light blue/purple labels and comes in a die cut Hall Of Fame sleeve.

Side A: BORN TO RUN
Side B: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Bruce Springsteen -- "Born To Run / Spirit In The Night"

7-inch single – Columbia (13-33323) – USA, 1984

Issued as part of Columbia's "Hall Of Fame" series. Features grey labels and comes in a die cut Hall Of Fame sleeve.

Side A: BORN TO RUN
Side B: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Bruce Springsteen -- "Born To Run / Spirit In The Night"

7-inch single – Columbia (13-33323) – USA, unknown year

Issued in the late eighties as part of Columbia's "Collectables" series. Features grey labels and comes in a die cut Collectables sleeve.

Side A: BORN TO RUN
Side B: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Bruce Springsteen -- "Born To Run / Spirit In The Night"

7-inch single – Columbia (13-33323) – USA, unknown year

Issued in the mid-nineties on Columbia. Features traditional sunburst labels and comes in a plain white die cut sleeve.

Side A: BORN TO RUN
Side B: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Bruce Springsteen -- "Born To Run / Spirit In The Night"

Cassette single – Columbia (13T 68658) – USA, 1989

Issued as part of Columbia's "Hall Of Fame" series. Comes in a in cardboard slipcase.

Side A: BORN TO RUN
Side B: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Bruce Springsteen -- "Born To Run / Spirit In The Night"

CD3 single – Columbia (13K 68658) – USA, 1989

Issued as part of Columbia's "Hall Of Fame" series. Comes in a slim 12-inch x 3-inch cardboard pack.

Side A: BORN TO RUN
Side B: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Bruce Springsteen -- Blinded By The Light

7-inch single – CBS (5121) - Spain, 1977

Spain-only single, comes in a unique picture sleeve. Reissued in 1985.

Side A: BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
Side B: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

The Essential Bruce Springsteen

The Essential Bruce Springsteen is a compilation album released on 11 Nov 2003 on Columbia Records. It's part of a series of "Essential" sets released by Sony BMG (previously Sony Music Entertainment). Per liner notes comments by Springsteen, the collection was intended as an introduction to his music for new fans who attended shows on The Rising Tour; hence, it includes songs from every Springsteen album since his debut. The album was available as a 2-disc set (which clocks at 153:23) and as a limited edition 3-disc set (which clocks at 200:45). For the latter, the third disc contained a selection of rarities and previously unreleased recordings.

The Essential Bruce Springsteen debuted and peaked at #14 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart where it spent 13 weeks. The album was awarded certified gold and platinum records by the RIAA on 16 Dec 2003. The Essential Bruce Springsteen also reached #28 on the UK Albums Chart.

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[Click here to display/hide detailed track listing]

Other Official Releases

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was also included on the very rare "Spirit In The Night - Growin' Up / Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" promo EP. The song can also be found on three Bruce Springsteen promo-only samplers.


Bruce Springsteen -- "Spirit In The Night - Growin' Up / Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"

7-inch EP – Columbia (AE7 1088) – USA, 1974

US-only white label promotional EP, runs at 33 1/3 rpm speed. Comes in a die-cut Columbia logo sleeve.

Side A, 01- SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
Side A, 02- GROWIN' UP
Side B, 01- ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)

Bruce Springsteen -- Last American Hero From Asbury Park, N.J.

LP – CBS/Sony (YAPC 95) – Japan, 1978

Japan-only promotional LP sampler issued to promote Springsteen's fourth album Darkness On The Edge Of Town, though strangely including tracks from his first three albums only. This is one of the rarest Springsteen records ever.

Bruce Springsteen -- Bruce Springsteen Sampler

LP – Columbia (CDN-57) – Canada, 1980

Canada-only red label promotional LP sampler compiling 10 tracks from Springsteen's first five albums. Issued in a white die-cut cardboard sleeve.

Bruce Springsteen -- Bruce Springsteen Sampler

CD – Columbia (CDNK 677) – Canada, 1992

Canada-only promotional CD sampler compiling 10 tracks from Springsteen's albums up to 1987, plus the 1988 acoustic live version of BORN TO RUN. Comes in a plain white die-cut cardboard sleeve.

Other versions of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT were also officially released:


The live 31 Jan 1973 (early show) version of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was officially released on the promotional-only LP The 500th Biscuit Celebration.

The live 01 May 1973 version of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was officially released on the Wings For Wheels: The Making Of Born To Run home video in 2005.

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

The live 07 Jul 1978 version of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was officially released on the Live/1975-85 box set in 1986.

The live 08 Dec 1978 version of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was officially released on the Houston '78 Bootleg: House Cut home video in 2010.

The live 16 Oct 2002 version of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was officially released on the Live In Barcelona home video in 2003.

Live History -- 1970's

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT is known to have been performed at least 15 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 album-style arrangement, often featuring Bruce on piano. Bruce Springsteen opened for headliner Biff Rose in 1973 during a 6-night stand (between 31 January and 05 February, two shows each night) at Max's Kansas City in New York. SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed on the first night, the early show, and that was the first known live performance of the song (see the live 31 Jan 1973 (early show) version). In the 17 Feb 1973 issue of Billboard Magazine, Jim Melanson wrote a review on one of twelve shows Max's Kansas City mentioning five songs performed by Springsteen, including SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT. The review could be for any of the twelve shows in the stand, but more likely from one of the latter ones considering the late publication of the review. Video of the live 01 May 1973 performance of the song in Los Angeles, CA, was released on the Wings For Wheels: The Making Of Born To Run DVD in 2005. See the live 01 May 1973 version for more details.

[Click here to display/hide detailed known Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour performances list]

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT is known to have been performed at least 61 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. On this tour, the song was played in a full-band album-style arrangement, and at least a few of these performances featured Bruce on the piano. Most or all performances on the 1973 leg of the tour, plus a few in the early part of 1974, featured a "spooky" introduction including vocalizations by Bruce (see the live 06 Jan 1974 version). Some performances from later in the tour featured a jazzy piano introduction (see the live 05 Feb 1975 version). Most versions from the tour featured at least a short saxophone introduction which will remain in most live performances of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT hereafter.

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

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT is known to have been performed at least 83 times during the Born To Run Tour: 63 times during the 1st leg (73 know dates / 81 known shows, between July and December 1975) and 20 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; it may have been a stable number during both of the tour's 1st and 2nd legs. On this tour, the song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement. A few of the tour's performances of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT include the opening lines from the traditional song STAGGER LEE in the introduction (see the live 18 Nov 1975 version and the live 13 May 1976 version). 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]

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. The tour became known as the "Lawsuit Tour".

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT is known to have been performed at least 58 times during the Lawsuit Tour: 27 times during the 1st leg (29 known dates, between August and November 1976) and 31 times during the 2nd leg (33 known dates, between February and March 1977). Some of that period's setlists are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates during the Lawsuit Tour; it must have been a stable number during both of the tour's 1st and 2nd legs. On this tour, the song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement.

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

In preparation for the Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour, SPIRIT 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.

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

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHTis known to have been performed at least 106 times during the 111-date-long Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour. A few setlists from that period are incomplete or unknown, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates during the Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour; it may have been a stable number during that tour. On this tour, the song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement. The live 07 Jul 1978 performance in West Hollywood, CA, was officially released on the Live/1975-85 box set in 1986. See the live 07 Jul 1978 version for more details. Video for the complete 08 Dec 1978 concert in Houston, TX, was released on the Houston '78 Bootleg: House Cut DVD in 2010. See the live 08 Dec 1978 version for more details.

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

Live History -- 1980's

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT is known to have been performed at least 3 times during the 138-date-long The River Tour, all in December 1980. A few setlists from that period are incomplete, and therefore, the song may have been played on some more dates during The River Tour, but that's very unlikely. On this tour, the song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement.

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

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed 39 times during the 156-date-long Born In The USA Tour, all in August and September 1984. On this tour, the song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement.

[Click here to display/hide detailed Born In The USA Tour performances list]

Live History -- 1990's

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed 10 times during the 102-date-long World Tour 1992-1993, all during the 1992 North American leg. On this tour, the song was played on acoustic guitar and featured Roy Bittan who played a section of Bach's spooky organ piece TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D MINOR (BWV 565) as a Halloween-special introduction to SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT on 31 Oct 1992 in Minneapolis, MN. See the live 31 Oct 1992 version for more details.

[Click here to display/hide detailed World Tour 1992-1993 performances list]

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was played off-tour on 21 Feb 1995 at Tramps nightclub in New York City, NY, during a reunion gig with the E Street Band. See the live 21 Feb 1995 version for more details.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 1995 off-tour performances list]

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed twice during the 128-date-long The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour, both in November 1996 in New Jersey. The song was played in an acoustic "band" version. See the live 25 Nov 1996 version and the live 26 Nov 1996 version for more details.

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

In preparation for The Reunion Tour, SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed during one of the tour's two public warm-up rehearsal shows that took place in March 1999 in Asbury Park. It was played in its traditional full-band arrangement. The song is also known to have been practiced during the private rehearsal that took place in April 1999 in Barcelona the day before the tour kicked off in Spain.

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

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed 14 times during the 132-date-long The Reunion Tour. The song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement. The "Can you feel the spirit?" introduction made its debut on this tour; it started on 14 Nov 1999 in Cleveland as "I can feel the spirit" and evolved over the next two performances to become the "Can you feel the spirit?" intro, which was used on the remainder of tour and on later E Street Band tours. See the below list for more details.

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

Live History -- 2000's

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed 8 times during the 120-date-long The Rising Tour. The first of these performances, from 2002, was a solo piano version, while the other seven, from 2003, were played in the traditional full-band arrangement, regularly (but not always) featuring the "Can you feel the spirit?" introduction, and sometimes using it as an outro as well. Audio for the live 16 Oct 2002 performance of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain, was included on the Lonesome Day European maxi single in 2002 and video for the complete 16 Oct 2002 concert was released on the Live In Barcelona DVD in 2003. See the live 16 Oct 2002 version for more details.

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

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed once during the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour. The song was played in a solo piano arrangement. See the live 22 Jun 2005 version.

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

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed 28 times during the 100-date-long Magic Tour. At first, it was rarely included on the setlist (performed only once in 2007), but then became much more frequent and was played at almost every show during the tour's last three months. The song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement and regularly, but not always, featuring the "Can you feel the spirit?" intro and outro. The first two performances, 22 Oct 2007 in Chicago and 20 Mar 2008 in Indianapolis, featured Danny Federici on organ. He was replaced by Charles Giordano starting from the first European leg (25 Nov 2007) so that he can get medical attention for his melanoma, but showed up in Indianapolis as an unannounced guest and played on a number of songs, including SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT. See the live 20 Mar 2008 version for more details. All remaining performances on the tour featured Charles Giordano on organ. The 30 Aug 2008 performance was during Harley-Davidson's 105th Anniversary Celebration.

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

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed 21 times during the 83-date-long Working On A Dream Tour. The song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement and regularly, but not always, featuring the "Can you feel the spirit?" intro and outro. Among these 21 performances, Jay Weinberg played drums 4 times on SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT (see the live 25 Aug 2009 version), Vini Lopez once (see the live 20 Oct 2009 version), Max Weinberg 16 times (see the live 22 Nov 2009 version).

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

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed off-tour during both holiday jam shows that were held on 19 Dec 2004 at Harry's Roadhouse in Asbury Park, NJ. The song was played in a full-band arrangement backed by Bobby Bandiera and his band, plus the Miami Horns. The late show performance also featured Patti Scialfa on backing vocals who was not present during the early show. See the live 19 Dec 2004 (late show) version.

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed off-tour on 12 Dec 2006 at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ, during "The Bobby Bandiera All Star Holiday Concert". The song was played in a guitar-driven, full-band version featuring Springsteen backed by Bobby Bandiera's Rock And Soul Revue. See the live 12 Dec 2006 version for more details.

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed on 16 Oct 2008 at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, NY, during the "Change Rocks" benefit show for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The song was played in a full-band arrangement, with Billy Joel, India Arie, and John Legend on backing vocals. See the live 16 Oct 2008 version for more details.

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed off-tour on 09 Nov 2011 at Beacon Theatre in New York City, NY, during the fifth annual "Stand Up for Heroes: A Benefit for the Bob Woodruff Family Fund" event. The song was played with the Max Weinberg Big Band.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2004-2011 off-tour performances list]

Since 2002, Springsteen has been playing private benefit shows for schools and colleges that his kids attended — Rumson Country Day School of Rumson, NJ, and Ranney School of Tinton Falls, NJ, and Boston College of Chestnut Hill, MA. SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was performed at 10 of these fundraisers, always at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ, and backed by Bobby Bandiera and his band. On these shows the song was played in a full-band version.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2005-2011 private benefit shows performances list]

Covers

A few artists have recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT, including:


Manfred Mann's Earth Band -- Nightingales & Bombers

LP - Warner Bros. (BS 2877) - USA, 1975
LP - Island/Island (ILPS 9337) - UK, 1975
CD - Castle (CLACD 137) - UK, 1987
CD - Cohesion (MANN 008) - Germany, 1999
CD - Cohesion (MANN 008) - UK, 1999

Manfred Mann's Earth Band's cover of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT was included on many more releases. See Manfred Mann's Earth Band's cover version for more details.

El Balloon -- The Rules Have Changed!

CD - Private Records (K01R09) - Austria, 1995

Ava Cherry & The Astronettes -- People From Bad Homes

CD - Griffin (GCD-424-CD) - UK, 1995

Various artists -- Lit Riffs

CD - S.A.M. Records (8-22585-29982-8) - USA, 2004

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT is performed by AJ.

Lisa Bouchelle -- Paint Your Dreams

CD - WetDuck / Cement Shoes Records (WD2269) - USA, 2007

Tim Brantley -- Goldtop Heights

CD - Blackledge Music (unknown catalogue number) - USA, 2009

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT is a bonus track included with the mp3 release only.

Available Versions

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

Credits / References

Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for all the help. Thanks Tim (CountyTwoLane at Greasy Lake) and Mike (Walklikeasupercaley at Greasy Lake) for some of the above singles scans.

Some of the above info about the studio recording and the live performances is taken from Brucebase.

Request

Which Richmond, VA radio station conducted the 1974 interview with Bruce Springsteen? When did the interview take place? IS there an audio recording in circulation, or at least a transcript? If you can shed some light, please contact me.

Several sources state that Roy Bittan plays organ on all 1992 versions of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT, but I cannot hear him, except on the live 31 Oct 1992 version of course. If you can shed some light, please contact me.

Any additions, comments, or corrections to this page are welcome. You can contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.

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