THE E STREET SHUFFLE

Album version

Sparks fly on E Street when the boy prophets walk it handsome and hot
All the little girls' souls grow weak when the man-child gives them a double shot
Them schoolboy pops pull out all the stops on a Friday night
Them teenage tramps in skin-tight pants do the E Street dance and everything's all right
Well, the kids down there either dancin' or hooked up in a scuffle
Dressed in snake-skin suits packed with Detroit muscle
They're doin' the E Street Shuffle

Now those E Street brats in twilight duel flashlight phantoms in full star stream
Down fire trails on silver nights with blonde girls pledged sweet sixteen
The newsboys say the heat's been bad since Power Thirteen gave a trooper all he had in a summer scuffle
And Power's girl, Little Angel, been on the corner keepin' those crazy boys out of trouble
Little Angel steps the shuffle like she ain't got no brains
She's deaf in combat down on Lover's Lane
She drives all them local boys insane
Yes, she does
Little Angel say, "Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
(Whoa, oh, oh, oh, everybody form a line)
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh (oh, oh, oh, oh, oh)
Oh, everybody form a line"

(Come on, baby!) (Come on, baby!) (You gotta get ready!) (Come on, girl!) (Oh!)
When the sparks light on E Street when the boy-prophets walk it handsome and hot
All them little girls' souls grow weak when the man-child gives them a double shot
Oh, Little Angel hangs out at Easy Joe's, it's a club where all the riot squad goes when they're cashin' in for a cheap hustle
But them boys are still on the corner loose and doin' that lazy E Street Shuffle
And as them sweet summer nights turn into summer dreams
Little Angel picks up Power and he slips on his jeans
And they move on out down to the scene
All the kids are dancin'
Ha, hey!
[shouting]


Page last updated: 31 Mar 2012

Intro

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, THE E STREET SHUFFLE is the opening track on his 1973 album The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle.

The above lyrics are for Springsteen's studio version of THE E STREET SHUFFLE as released on The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle.

Composition and Recording

In his 1998 book Songs, Springsteen wrote: "The [album] opening cut, 'The E Street Shuffle,' is a reflection of a community that was partly imagined and partly real. It was the early 70's: blues, R&B, and soul on Major Lance's '60s hit "Monkey Time," a dance song. The cast of characters came vaguely from Asbury Park at the turn of the decade. I wanted to describe a neighborhood, a way of life, and I wanted to invent a dance with no exact steps. It was just the dance you did every day and every night to get by."

THE E STREET SHUFFLE was written in mid-1973; it was one of the final songs written and recorded for The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle album. Albee Tellone, sound manager on Springsteen's road crew from November 1972 to December 1973, told Brucebase that the song was in its infancy when David Sancious joined the recording sessions on 22 June 1973. In fact, Springsteen hadn't even rehearsed the song until Sancious joined in. It's Albee's opinion that it was Sancious' presence that inspired the tune. Albee says: "I went to David's house with Bruce to learn it while David played his piano. I thought that they had written it together." He goes on to say: "We all went to the studio and played 'live' together in the large room just like we had rehearsed it in the garage in Deal, NJ. Bruce sang it 'live' then too. I was told that they were going to keep only the drums and bass parts and build overdubs from there. Bruce played rhythm on his Telecaster but replaced it later as the tracks were added. I came back on another day to overdub my sax part. We also recorded the 'tune-up' intro with tuba and cornet separately when I came back to play the baritone sax part."

The band line-up on this track is Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici, Garry Tallent, Vini Lopez, and David Sancious, plus additional musicians Richard Blackwell and Albany Al Tellone. The track, as well as the whole album, was recorded at Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY and produced by Mike Appel and Jimmy Creteco. Tellone plays baritone sax on THE E STREET SHUFFLE, the only time he's credited on a Bruce Springsteen recording. He would be a special guest on the song during the first three months of The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle Tour (October to December 1973).

A handwritten lyrics sheet containing an early draft of THE E STREET SHUFFLE was auctioned in 2003. See the early draft for more details.

The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle

The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle is Bruce Springsteen's second studio album. It was recorded between mid-May 1973 and mid-September 1973 at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY. Studio time was slotted in during various itinerary breaks in the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour, but recording sessions dragged on much longer than originally anticipated and this eventually caused some gig rescheduling and cancellations during the period from July to September 1973.

The album's recording sessions can be split into distinct phases:

  • The first phase of sessions took place on 15-22 May and 17-20 June, and featured the then-touring line-up of Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici, Garry Tallent, and Vini Lopez. Neither David Sancious nor any other musicians were involved in these initial sessions.
  • The second phase of sessions took place on 26 June-02 July, 11-16 July, 04-12 August, and 10-25 September, and included all of the above-mentioned musicians, plus new E Street Band member David Sancious (who joined in on 22 June), as well as niche session contributions by Suki Lahav on vocals, Richard Blackwell on congas and percussion, and Albee Tellone on baritone sax.

Most of the basic ensemble recording of The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle emanates from the first phase of sessions, prior to the arrival of David Sancious to the sessions on 22 Jun 1973. Sancious verified in a late seventies interview with Thunder Road magazine that most of the session songs had already been recorded (as basic tracks) by the time he joined. He then overdubbed his parts onto these recordings. THE E STREET SHUFFLE is an exception, which was written after Sancious became a member of the band. The latter phase of the sessions involved embellishing additional "frills" instrumentation, vocals, and experimenting with different mixes. No audio evidence has yet emerged that any of the basic recordings of were re-recorded from scratch with Sancious. Indeed, one of the most noteworthy aspects to the audio evidence that has emerged from the The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle recording sessions is that there is not one genuine alternate take to be found – all song recording variations are merely alternate mixes of the same basic recording.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle was produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos and engineered by Louis Lahav. It features 7 new Springsteen compositions and clocks at 46:47. It was commercially released on 05 Nov 1973.

The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle
side 1 track list (vinyl LP format):

  1. THE E STREET SHUFFLE
  2. 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY)
  3. KITTY'S BACK
  4. WILD BILLY'S CIRCUS STORY

The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle
side 2 track list (vinyl LP format):

  1. INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET
  2. ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)
  3. NEW YORK CITY SERENADE

Official Releases

In addition to its release on The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, THE E STREET SHUFFLE was also released in mid-1975 on the B-side of 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY) in Germany. This coupling is unique to Germany and was the very first ever Springsteen 7-inch issued outside the United States. Both commercial and promotional versions were pressed. See 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY) for more info.

THE E STREET SHUFFLE can also be found on one Bruce Springsteen promo-only sampler.


Bruce Springsteen-- Sandy (4th July, Asbury Park)

7-inch single - CBS (S 3512) - Germany, 1975

Additonal information.
Side A: 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY)
Side B: THE E STREET SHUFFLE

Bruce Springsteen-- "Sandy (4th July, Asbury Park) / The E Street Shuffle"

7-inch single - CBS (S 3512) - Germany, 1975

Additonal information.
Side A: 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY)
Side B: THE E STREET SHUFFLE

Bruce Springsteen -- Tougher Than The Rest

CD – Columbia (BOSS1) – Sweden, 1992

Sweden-only promotional CD sampler used for both radio promotion and as a VIP giveaway item at the opening shows of Springsteen's 1992 tour in Stockholm. It contains 14 tracks from the first nine albums only. Two different pressings exist: the first comes in a standard jewel case with title front inlay and back insert (cover art on the left), and the second comes in a plain slimline case with no inlays.

Other versions of THE E STREET SHUFFLE were also officially released:


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

The live 01 Jul 2000 version of THE E STREET SHUFFLE was officially released on the Live In New York City home video in 2001.

Live History

THE E STREET SHUFFLE is known to have been performed at least once during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour. Very little is known about the 1972 and 1973 shows, and therefore, the song may have been played on some more dates. Setlist for the 08 Sep 1973 show in Pittsburgh, PA, was submitted by someone who presumably attended the concert. However, Brucebase is doubtful that this a legitimate setlist due to the presence of THE E STREET SHUFFLE several weeks before Albee Tellone says it received its premiere at Hampden-Sydney College. There is no known audio recording from that show.

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

THE E STREET SHUFFLE is known to have been performed at least 42 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. Most probably the first live performance of THE E STREET SHUFFLE was on 28 Sep 1973 at Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden Sydney, VA. This was the first night back on tour after the three-week hiatus required to complete The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle album. This show also marked the first-ever guest slot in the line-up by Albee Tellone, who would be making stage appearances in the band playing baritone sax on THE E STREET SHUFFLE on most gigs during which the song was played, until mid-December 1973 when he left the tour to start his own band. The first six of these known performances, from 1973, were played in a full-band album-style arrangement featuring Albee Tellone on baritone saxophone. The 30 Oct 1973 performance in Bryn Mawr, PA, also featured Richard Blackwell on congas. Beginning in the spring of 1974, the song was played in a "hybrid" version with a fast tempo like the 1973 performances but the melody and instrumentation of the 1975 "slow" version. As the tour wore on, this arrangement slowed down. By the end of The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour in Spring 1975, the song was being played in its well-known mid-seventies "slow" arrangement. Almost every version of the song from this tour featured at least a snippet of Sam Cooke's HAVING A PARTY, more extensively as the tour wore on.

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

THE E STREET SHUFFLE is known to have been performed at least 44 times during the Born To Run Tour: 44 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 may have been played on some more dates during the Born To Run Tour, the 1st leg in particular. On this tour, the song was played in its slow full-band version that debuted the previous year. Almost every version of the song from this tour featured at least a snippet of Sam Cooke's HAVING A PARTY, more extensively as the tour wore on. The version from the 06 Sep 1975 show in New Orleans, LA, uniquely includes a couple of lines from Mark Barkan's PRETTY FLAMINGO, which Springsteen and the band would debut a few shows later in a full rendition. 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]

After disappearing from Springsteen's repertoire for 25 years, THE E STREET SHUFFLE was performed twice during the 132-date-long The Reunion Tour. Both outings were during the 10-night stand at Madison Square Garden that concluded the tour. The song was played in a full-band arrangement reminiscent of the album rendition but without additional horns, which subsequently would become the "stock" version for the E Street Band. The 01 Jul 2000 performance of THE E STREET SHUFFLE was officially released in 2001 on the Live In New York City home video. See the live 01 Jul 2000 version for more details.

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

THE E STREET SHUFFLE was performed during both 2000 Asbury Park holiday shows and three of the five 2001 Asbury Park holiday shows. These concerts were billed as "Bruce Springsteen with The Max Weinberg 7 and Friends", with The Max Weinberg 7 serving as the house band, and Springsteen bringing guests on and off the stage throughout the shows. On these shows the song was played in a full-band arrangement with Springsteen backed by The Max Weinberg 7. In 2000, the song also featured Danny Federici on organ, Garry Tallent on bass, the Redheaded Women (Patti Scialfa, Soozie Tyrell, and Lisa Lowell) on backup vocals, and Bobby Bandiera on guitar. On both 2000 shows, Curtis Mayfield's MOVE ON UP was performed as an outro/coda to THE E STREET SHUFFLE. In 2001, the song also featured Clarence Clemons on saxophone, Danny Federici on organ, Nils Lofgren on guitar, Garry Tallent on bass, the Redheaded Women on backup vocals, and Bobby Bandiera on guitar (but not on 08 December). On all three 2001 shows, Curtis Mayfield's MOVE ON UP was performed as an outro/coda to THE E STREET SHUFFLE, instrumental on 04 December and with lyrics on 06 and 08 December.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2000-2003 holiday shows performances list]

THE E STREET SHUFFLE was performed on 29 Apr 2003 at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ, during "The Hope Concert" benefit. It was played in a full-band version, with Bruce Springsteen backed by the Max Weinberg 7, plus Bobby Bandiera on guitar. See the live 29 Apr 2003 version for more details. The song was also practiced the previous day at Count Basie Theatre during the concert's rehearsals.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2003 off-tour performances list]

THE E STREET SHUFFLE was performed 4 times during the 100-date-long Magic Tour. The song was played in its traditional full-band arrangement. The first two performances featured Danny Federici on organ, while the latter two featured Charles Giordano. The 19 Nov 2007 performance in Boston featured Patti Scialfa on backup vocals (see the live 19 Nov 2007 version).

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

THE E STREET SHUFFLE was performed 9 times during the 83-date-long Working On A Dream Tour. The song was played in a traditional full-band arrangement – the versions from earlier in the tour were particularly blues oriented, but from the Saint Paul show onwards, the arrangement reverted to the more familiar "pop" sounding version. The versions from 30 Sep 2009 in East Rutherford and 20 Nov 2009 in Baltimore featured Curt Ramm on trumpet. The version from 07 Nov 2009 in New York City featured a full five-man horn section.

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

THE E STREET SHUFFLE was performed off-tour on 02 Mar 2012 at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City, NY, during a TV appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to promote the release of the Wrecking Ball album. The song was played with the E Street Band, The Roots, and Tom Morello. See the live 02 Mar 2012 version for more details.

THE E STREET SHUFFLE was performed off-tour on 09 Mar 2012 at Apollo Theater in New York City, NY, during the Sirius Satellite Radio 10-year anniversary celebration. The song was played with the E Street Band. See the live 09 Mar 2012 version for more details.

THE E STREET SHUFFLE was performed off-tour on 15 Mar 2012 at Moody Theater in Austin, TX, during an intimate concert following Bruce Springsteen's keynote speech at the South By Southwest music festival. The song was played with the E Street band.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2012 off-tour performances list]

Appearance in Movies

Director John Sayles used five Bruce Springsteen songs in the soundtrack of his 1983 movie Baby It's You. These were IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY, THE E STREET SHUFFLE, JUNGLELAND, SHE'S THE ONE, and ADAM RAISED A CAIN. Sayles told Backstreets magazine that year, "We sent him the script and he really liked it. He sent his manager to see it and then Bruce said we could have [the songs]. We didn't even have to pay a whole bunch of money for them. I was really honored." The relation continued through the years, as Sayles would direct Springsteen's videos for BORN IN THE USA in 1984 and I'M ON FIRE and GLORY DAYS in 1985. Bruce would later record LIFT ME UP for John Sayles' 1999 film Limbo.

Contrary to common beliefs, Baby It's You was not the first theatrical film ever to feature the music of Bruce Springsteen. The first was Dead End Street (Kvish L'Lo Motzah in Hebrew), a 1982 Israeli film directed by Yaky Yosha.


Plot: The film is about a romance between an upper middle class Jewish girl named Jill Rosen (Arquette), who is bound for Sarah Lawrence College, and a blue-collar Italian boy nicknamed the Sheik (Spano) in late 1966 New Jersey, who aspires to follow in Frank Sinatra's footsteps. The movie follows their high school experiences during their romance: Jill's success in high school acting productions, Jill's rebuffing Sheik's sexual advances, Sheik's one-night stand with a sexually active friend of Jill's, and a subsequent suicide attempt by that friend.

Starring: Rosanna Arquette, Vincent Spano, Joanna Merlin, Jack Davidson
Directed by: John Sayles
Produced by: Griffin Dunne, Amy Robinson
Written by: John Sayles (screenplay), Amy Robinson (story)
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release date: 04 Mar 1983

Covers

As far as it's known, only two artists have recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's THE E STREET SHUFFLE:


Bette Midler -- Divine Madness

LP - Atlantic (SD 16022) - USA, 1980
CD - Atlantic/Warner (16022-2) - USA, 1995

This is a live album taken from Midler's 1980 concert film Divine Madness.

Various artists -- Light Of Day: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen

2-CD - Schoolhouse Records (SHR0022-2) - USA, 2003
2-CD - Sony (MHCP-928/9) - Japan, 2005

This is a various artists Bruce Springsteen tribute album. THE E STREET SHUFFLE is performed by John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band. This track can only be found on the U.S. and Japan issues of the album.

Available Versions

List of available versions of THE E STREET SHUFFLE 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. Info for the some of the above official Springsteen releases is taken from the Lost In The Flood website.