TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME

Bruce Springstone's version

Nelly Kelly loved baseball games
She knew the players and all of their names
You could see her up there every day
Shouting "hurray" as they'd play
Her boy friend by the name of Joe
Said, "To Coney Island, dear, let's go"
So Nelly started to fret and pout
And to him I heard her shout

"Take me out to the ball game
Take me out with the crowd
Oh won't you buy me some peanuts and some cracker jack
Well I don't care if I never get back
Let me root, root, root for the home team
If they don't win it's a shame
Because it's one, two, three strikes, you're out
At the old ball game"

Mmmm, mmm

Well Nelly Kelly was sure some fan
She would root just like any man
Told the umpire he was wrong
All along, good and strong
So when the score was just two to two
Nelly Kelly knew just what to do
Well just to cheer up the boys she knew
She made the gang sing this song

"Take me out to the ball game
Take me out with the crowd
Oh won't you buy me some peanuts and some cracker jack
Well I don't care if I never get back (I don't care if I never get back)
Let me root, root, root for the home team
If they don't win it's a shame
Because it's one, two, three strikes, you're out
At the old ball game
At the old ball game
At the old ball game"

Strike one!
Strike two!
Strike three!
You're out!!!!


Page last updated: 26 Feb 2012

Intro

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME is a song originally written in 1908 by Jack Norworth and set to music by Albert Von Tilzer. See the original version for more details.

The song was recorded by Bruce Springstone, a group created specifically for a Bruce Springsteen parody project. Their version is clearly sung in the style of Springsteen's ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT).

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME was released on the B-side of Bruce Springstone's 1982 single Live At Bedrock. A Bruce Springstone version of BEDROCK RAP / MEET THE FLINTSTONES was released on the A-side.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

The above lyrics are transcribed from Bruce Springstone's studio version of TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL, as released in 1982 single.

Bruce Springstone

Bruce Springstone was created in the spring of 1982 by Baltimore's Tom Chalkley (cartoonist, singer-songwriter, and blues harpist) and Craig Hankin (painter, writer, and rhythm guitarist). The idea came at a party on St. Patrick's Day, during which Chalkley was singing TV show theme songs in the style of Bruce Springsteen. "Everybody hit the deck laughing," Hankin recalls told The Baltimore Sun in November 2009. "We thought, 'Oh, this is a funny idea.'" But the show stopper was Chalkley's Springsteen impression doing a rocked-up version of The Flintstones theme song, MEET THE FLINTSTONES. Keyboardist Suzy Shaw wrote in Backstreets magazine (issue #48, Winter 1995) that two DJs in the audience encouraged Chalkley and Hankin to record the song, and said that they'd play it one air.

Chalkley and Hankin were convinced that they should cut a record. They took the recording to Clean Cuts, a local record label then known for its jazz recordings, and played it for label owner Jack Heyrman. "[Heyrman] let me know a one-off novelty single was not exactly up his alley, but he was willing to listen," Hankin told The Baltimore Sun. "By the time we got to the end of the tape, he was chuckling. He said, 'I think we may have a novelty record here.'" Hankin discovered an original lyrics and music sheet to TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME, and they decided to record a Springsteen-style version of it for the B-side.

Record companies consider singles to be nothing but promotional tools for albums, and album sales is where the money's at. So naturally, Clean Cuts wanted an album as part of the deal. "We were dubious, however, as we considered the Springsteen parody to be a one-line joke that would not bear many repetitions," Suzy Shaw wrote in Backstreets. She told Craig Hankin, "Who would want to listen to an entire album of Bruce Springstone?" Hankin liked the name, and so the character came by that name.

Chalkley and Hankin recruited drummer and painter John Ebersbergr and keyboardist and comics scholar Suzy Shaw to record with them at Hit And Run Studios in Rockville, MD. The affordable studio was operated by an 18-year-old in the basement of the parents' house. They spent 16 hours over a weekend in June 1982 cutting the record. Clean Cuts owner Jack Heyrman, who also produced the record, decided that they needed good saxophone so that it sounds like a Springsteen record, and so veteran jazz saxophonist Ron Holloway was hired. Craig Hankin wasn't confident enough of his own lead guitar, so he invited in Tommy Keene, who had just gotten his first record deal. Gabor Lutor was also hired to play bass. The tracks were arranged by Craig Hankin and Tom Chalkley, produced by Jack Heyrman, and engineered by Steve Carr at Hit & Run Studios. Tom Chalkley wrote three other songs for Bruce Springstone – "Cave Girl", "Ugga Bugga", and an unfinished "I'm On Ice" – but none of them made it to record under Bruce Springstone.

The Bruce Springstone: Live At Bedrock single was released in September 1982 on Clean Cuts Records, just one week after Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska album was released. Even though there was no advertising at all, the single was an instant hit and was spun on hundreds of radio stations in the U.S. and abroad. Upon it's release, many rock and college radio stations played the record, fooling their audiences who though that it was a new Springsteen record. The Washington Post reported that "when a Philadelphia station played it after simply announcing, 'Now the record you've all been waiting for,' the phones lit up for hours, with fans arguing whether it really was the Boss or not."

The single's front cover art is by John Ebersbergr and the back cover art is by Tom Chalkley. The front cover is a parody of the Born To Run album, picturing Flintstones characters Fred Flintstone and pet dinosaur Dino as Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons. Cartoon creators and producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera had a problem. They approved the use of MEET THE FLINTSTONES, but they were against the sleeve artwork because they felt the cover art infringed on their trademarked images. After 35,000 copies of the single have been sold, Hanna and Barbera pulled the plug with a cease-and-desist order. The single would sell 100,000 copies taking into account the song's appearance on several Rhino Records collections.

MTV, which was just getting started, approached Bruce Springstone about making a music video for BEDROCK RAP / MEET THE FLINTSTONES. Tom Chalkley and Craig Hankin threw together a storyboard, Jack Heyrman hired a director, and they had costumes made. They filmed the video on 06 Dec 1982 at Genstar quarry outside the Baltimore Beltway in Maryland. Local crew of CBS's Evening Magazine was there filming Bruce Springstone filming their video.

Suzy Shaw wrote in Backstreets that before editing of the video even begun, the marketing people at Hanna-Barbera Productions threatened to sue Clean Cut. Though permission had been given to record The Flintstones theme song, they claimed that Bruce Springstone did not have permission to use the word "Bedrock" and that any cartoon depiction of a dinosaur violated their trademark on Dino. Clean Cuts, fearing to face a corporation as big as Hanna-Barbera Productions, decided to back down. All promotions for the record were stopped, production of picture sleeves was halted, and the music video didn't go anywhere. "It was the most expensive home video ever made," Hankin told The Baltimore Sun.

Several years later, wanting to know for sure if Bruce Springsteen has ever heard their record, Craig Hankin sent him a letter with a self-addressed stamped envelope telling him that they meant no disrespect and that they considered that what they had done to be a very loving and admiring tribute. Hankin didn't hear anything for a long time and forgot all about it until one day he received a postcard written and addressed in Springsteen's hand: "The record is great! I love it! Keep on rockin! Bruce Springsteen."

Official Releases

The Live At Bedrock single was only released in the United States, issued in 7" and 12" formats. Both BEDROCK RAP / MEET THE FLINTSTONES and TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME are still in print, and they can be found on several Rhino Records various artists compilation albums.


Bruce Springstone -- Live At Bedrock

7-inch single - Clean Cuts (CC 902) - USA, 1982

Side A: BEDROCK RAP / MEET THE FLINTSTONES
Side B: TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME

Bruce Springstone -- Live At Bedrock

12-inch single - Clean Cuts (CC 1202) - USA, 1982

Side A: BEDROCK RAP / MEET THE FLINTSTONES
Side B: TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME

Various artists -- Baseball's Greatest Hits

LP - Rhino (R11H 70710) - USA, 1989
CD - Rhino (R21S 70710) - USA, 1989

Includes Bruce Springstone's TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME.

Various artists -- Baseball's Greatest Hits

CD - Rhino Flashback (unknown catalogue number) - USA, 2001

Includes Bruce Springstone's TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME.

Available Versions

List of available versions of TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME on this website:

Credits

Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.

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