WRECKING BALL

Album version

I was raised out of steel here in the swamps of Jersey, some misty years ago
Through the mud and the beer, and the blood and the cheers, I've seen champions come and go
So if you got the guts mister, yeah, if you got the balls
If you think it's your time, then step to the line, and bring on your wrecking ball

Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you got
Bring on your wrecking ball

Now my home's here in these meadowlands where mosquitoes grow big as airplanes
Here where the blood is spilled, the arena's filled, and giants played their games
So raise up your glasses and let me hear your voices call
Because tonight all the dead are here, so bring on your wrecking ball

Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you got
Bring on your wrecking ball

One, two, a one two three four!

Yeah! Hey!

Yeah, we know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here
So hold tight on your anger, you hold tight on your anger
Hold tight to your anger, don't fall to your fears

Now when all this steel and these stories, they drift away to rust
And all our youth and beauty, it's been given to the dust
When the game has been decided and we're burning down the clock
And all our little victories and glories have turned into parking lots
When your best hopes and desires are scattered through the wind
And hard times come, and hard times go
And hard times come, and hard times go
And hard times come, and hard times go
And hard times come, and hard times go
And hard times come, and hard times go
Yeah just to come again

Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you got
Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball (bring on your wrecking ball)
Bring on your wrecking ball (bring on your wrecking ball)
Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you got
Bring on your wrecking ball

One, two, a one two three four!
(Whoa whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)

(Whoa whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa) bring on your wrecking ball
(Whoa whoa whoa-whoa) bring on your wrecking ball
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)
(Whoa whoa-whoa)


Page last updated: 17 Mar 2012

Intro

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, WRECKING BALL is the seventh track on his 2012 album, Wrecking Ball. The above lyrics are for Springsteen's studio version of WRECKING BALL as released on Wrecking Ball. This album version was also included on the Collection: 1973-2012 compilation album in 2013.

The album version of WRECKING BALL debuted on 27 Feb 2012, streaming on Mashable.com.

Composition and Recording

WRECKING BALL must've been written around Aug-Sep 2009, about the 2010 demolition of Giants Stadium. On the opening night of his 2009 stand at Giants Stadium, Springsteen took the stage and told the crowd: "Join us tonight to shut the old lady down! We've had a lot of great nights here, let's make this another one. This is something I wrote for tonight." He then opened the show with WRECKING BALL, a brand new song written specially for the occasion. The song starts slow-paced on acoustic guitar, and then the E Street Band joins in after a few verses, with a trumpet solo from Curt Ramm. The song had been sound-checked ten days earlier, prior to the 20 Sep 2009 show in Chicago, IL. According to eyewitnesses, that version was much slower and more intense and drawn out.

Wachovia Spectrum was also due for demolition. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band did four shows at the venue between 13 and 20 Oct 2009. WRECKING BALL was performed on the first and last of these dates, with slightly altered lyrics to suit the venue. Wachovia Spectrum closed on 31 Oct 2009 with a final concert by Pearl Jam, and was demolished about a year later.

A studio version was included on Springsteen's Wrecking Ball album. It was apparently recorded in early 2011, before the passing of Clarence Clemons. The line-up on this track is Bruce Springsteen, Ron Aniello (backing vocals and more), Max Weinberg (drums), Charles Giordano (B-3 organ), Rob Lebert (electric guitar and backing vocals), Curt Ramm (trumpet and/or cornet), Clarence Clemons (saxophone), Soozie Tyrell (violin and backing vocals), Patti Scialfa (backing vocals), Lisa Lowell (backing vocals), Ross Peterson (backing vocals), Cliff Norrell (backing vocals), and the New York String Section (strings). Steven Van Zandt is not credited on this track, but his background vocals are clearly audible, and this was also confirmed by Ron Aniello.

Giants Stadium

Giants Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium located in East Rutherford, New Jersey in the Meadowlands Sports Complex. It was closed and demolished in 2010 and replaced by MetLife Stadium, located adjacent to its former site. As a concert venue, the Giants Stadium is mostly associated with Bruce Springsteen, who played there a total of 24 nights in his career:

  • 6 nights in the summer of 1985 during the Born In The USA Tour
  • 10 nights in the summer of 2003 during The Rising Tour
  • 3 nights in the summer of 2008 during the Magic Tour
  • 5 nights in the summer/fall or 2009 during the Working On A Dream Tour

The five Working On A Dream Tour dates are the last concerts that were held at the stadium.

Wrecking Ball

Wrecking Ball is Bruce Springsteen's seventeenth studio album. It was produced by Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen and executive producer Jon Landau, and features special guest appearances from Tom Morello and Matt Chamberlain. The album features 11 new Springsteen recordings and a special edition includes two bonus tracks. All 13 tracks are Springsteen compositions, three of which have previously been released in live forms.

Before the album came together, Springsteen was originally working on a gospel record on which he spent on-and-off about a year. He had written about 30 to 40 songs, including WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN, SHACKLED AND DRAWN, and ROCKY GROUND. In a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone, Ron Aniello told Andy Greene: "Those were about 30 or 40 songs. They were very unique for him, unlike anything I'd ever heard." Aniello later wanted to work on these songs, to help arrange them or give Springsteen ideas for a potential release, but instead he worked on what became High Hopes and none of those songs ended up on the 2014 album. "Those are lovely songs, but none of them are on this record." When asked how he would describe the sound of those songs, Aniello said, "I would compare them to Aaron Copland. It has a very open landscape feel and I guess... You wouldn't call it country. It's just very hard to describe. You'll just have to wait. I'm actually working on some of the songs now and going through them. He's looking for a way to approach that album." At the end of the interview, Aniello said that he doesn't know if any of those pre-Wrecking Ball songs are going to be released someday. "It's all up to Bruce. I know they're going on tour in January. Hopefully sometime in 2014 they'll be interested in hearing my record."

Then Springsteen decided to drop the project and started focusing on solo material. It was on 09 Jan 2011 that Ron Aniello first went to Colts Neck to help Springsteen finish arrangements for the project he was working on. After they had been working together for about a month, Springsteen wrote EASY MONEY which was a different style of song to what they've been working on before. As Aniello told to WCHR-FM's Tom Cunningham, "things just started steam rolling into this other record, you know, not sure what was going round in his mind." Springsteen was bringing in more songs, and it was evident that the direction of the music was changing. Jon Landau came in, listened to the music, and after a discussion with Springsteen they decided to do a new album. "Literally, this man bought in a new song every day. He just bulldozed us with these songs," Aniello explained.

Springsteen was coming in every morning with a new song and it would start with just him and his guitar. He would then sing a rhythm to Aniello, or sit down at the drums and play a beat. Aniello was looping these drum beats – no drum machines were used on Wrecking Ball – and adding other layers, like loops of percussion, also played by Springsteen. According to Aniello, this was done just for convenience because they were alone in studio, songs were coming in quick, and there were no other musicians there. The loops stayed, and other instruments were added at later stages. "Ron brought a large library of sound that allowed me to explore – like maybe a hip-hop drum loop or country-blues stomp loop," Springsteen told Rolling Stone in 2012. "The actual drums came later. There was no preconceived set of instruments that needed to be used, I could go anywhere, do anything, use anything. It was very wide open." Everybody who was around was participating in the recording. They even jumped on pieces of plywood, built some some risers to stomp on, and hit couches to makes noises.

Wrecking Ball was mainly recorded at Stone Hill Studio, Springsteen's home studio at his Colts Neck, NJ farm house. The album was released on Columbia Records on 05 Mar 2012 in the UK, 06 Mar 2012 in the United States, and 21 Mar 2012 in Japan.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

Wrecking Ball was recorded with a large ensemble of musicians. There's a core of six musicians, while all others are just guest artists. Some E Street Band members appear on a few of the tracks. According to Ron Aniello, the album credits are "a mess" and will be revised in future reissues.

  • Bruce Springsteen (lead vocals, guitars, banjo, piano, organ, drums, percussion, and loops) appears on all the album's tracks.
  • Ron Aniello (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, loops, percussion, hurdy gurdy, and backing vocals) appears on all of the album's tracks. He is also the album producer.
  • Matt Chamberlain (drums and percussion) appears on tracks 3, 5, and 8.
  • Max Weinberg (drums) is an E Street Band member and appears on tracks 7, 11, and 13.
  • Steve Jordan (percussion) has previously appeared on Springsteen's Devils & Dust, playing drums and percussion. He plays percussion on track 2.
  • Kevin Buell (drums and backing vocals) is Springsteen's guitar technician. He appears on track 5.
  • Charles Giordano (accordion, piano, B-3 organ, and celeste) recorded and toured with The Seeger Sessions Band and joined the E Street band in 2008. He appears on most of the album's tracks.
  • Marc Muller (pedal steel guitar) is a multi-instrumentalist who mainly plays string instruments. He plays pedal steel guitar on track 3.
  • Tom Morello (electric guitar) appears on tracks 4 and 6.
  • Greg Leisz (banjo, mandola, and lap steel) is a multi-instrumentalist, mainly playing lap and pedal steel guitars, guitar, mandolin, and bass. He appears on tracks 8 and 11.
  • Rob Lebert (electric guitar and backing vocals) appears on tracks 5, 7, 8, 12, and 13.
  • Darrell Leonard (trumpet and bass trumpet) is a Los Angeles based trumpet player, composer and arranger. He appears on track 11.
  • Curt Ramm (trumpet and cornet) toured with The Seeger Sessions Band. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
  • Clark Gayton (trombone) toured with The Seeger Sessions Band. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 8, 9, and 10.
  • Stan Harrison (clarinet, alto sax, and tenor sax) has previously appeared on Springsteen's The Promise, playing tenor saxophone. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 8, 9, and 10.
  • Ed Manion (tenor sax and baritone sax) is a member of The Miami Horns and he toured with the E Street band in 1988 and recorded and toured with The Seeger Sessions Band. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 8, 9, and 10.
  • Dan Levine (alto horn and euphonium) is a New York City based musician who plays several horn instruments in studios and live. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 9, and 10.
  • Art Baron (euphonium, tuba, sousaphone, and penny whistle) recorded and toured with The Seeger Sessions Band. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 5, 9, and 10.
  • Clarence Clemons (saxophone) was an E Street Band member and appears on tracks 7 and 10.
  • Soozie Tyrell (violin and backing vocals) started touring with the E Street band in 2002 and toured with The Seeger Sessions Band in 2006. She appears on most of the album's tracks.
  • Patti Scialfa (backing vocals and vocal arrangements) is Springsteen's wife and a member of the E Street Band since 1984. She appears on most of the album's tracks.
  • Lisa Lowell (backing vocals) has been singing backup vocals on several Springsteen albums since 1992 and recorded and toured with The Seeger Sessions Band. She appears on tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, and 12.
  • Cindy Mizelle (background vocals) toured with The Seeger Sessions Band and the E Street Band in 2009. She appears on track 3.
  • Ross Peterson (backing vocals) appears on tracks 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, and 13.
  • Cliff Norrell (tuba and backing vocals) is the album's engineer. He appears on tracks 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, and 13.
  • New York String Section (strings), also known as the New York Chamber Consort, consists of Rob Mathes (orchestration), Sandy Park (string contractor), Lisa Kim (concertmaster), Myumju Lee (violin), Ann Lehmaan (violin), Lizz Lim (violin), Johanna Marher (violin), Annaliesa Place (violin), Fiona Simon (violin), Sharon Yamada (violin), Jung Sun Yu (violin), Karen Dreyfus (viola), Daniel Panner (viola), Robert Rinehart (viola), Mina Smith (cello), and Alan Stepansky (cello). It appears on tracks 1, 4, and 7.
  • Victorious Gospel Choir (backing vocals) has previously appeared on Springsteen's The Rising. On Wrecking Ball, the choir includes Michelle Moore, Antoinette Savage, Corinda Carford, Tiffeny Andrews, Soloman Cobbs, and Lillie Brown. It appears on tracks 2, 9, and 10. Michelle Moore is credited separately on the three tracks. The remaining singers are credited individually on track 2, and as the Victorious Gospel Choir on tracks 9 and 10.
  • Jeremy McCoy (bass violin) is a bass guitar player. He appears on track 12.
  • Dan Shelly (bassoon) is an orchestra bassoon player. He appears on track 12.
  • Mark Romatz (contra bassoon) is an orchestra bassoon player. He appears on track 12.
  • Steven Van Zandt (mandolin and backing vocals) is an E Street Band member. He appears on tracks 7, 10, and 13.

Wrecking Ball is available in three configurations: standard CD edition, special CD edition, and double-disc LP. The special CD edition features two bonus tracks and exclusive packaging. The double-disc LP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl and includes a CD version of the album.

Wrecking Ball track list:

  1. WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN
  2. EASY MONEY
  3. SHACKLED AND DRAWN
  4. JACK OF ALL TRADES
  5. DEATH TO MY HOMETOWN
  6. THIS DEPRESSION
  7. WRECKING BALL
  8. YOU'VE GOT IT
  9. ROCKY GROUND
  10. LAND OF HOPE AND DREAMS
  11. WE ARE ALIVE
  12. SWALLOWED UP (IN THE BELLY OF THE WHALE) [bonus track]
  13. AMERICAN LAND [bonus track]

The album topped the charts in 16 countries, including the United States and the UK.

[Click here to display/hide list of countries in which the album charted]

Collection: 1973-2012

Collection: 1973-2012 is a Bruce Springsteen compilation album released on Columbia Records in 2013. It was released on 08 Mar 2013 in Australia and 15 Apr 2013 in Europe. The compilation was not released commercially in the United States. Instead, a promotional version was given out exclusively to $1,500 ticket holders at the "MusiCares Person Of The Year" tribute event held in Los Angeles, CA, on 08 Feb 2013. The event honoured Springsteen for both his artistic achievements and philanthropic efforts. The compilation consists of 18 previously released studio tracks.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]
[Click here to display/hide detailed track listing]

Other Official Releases

Other versions of WRECKING BALL were also officially released:


The live 02 Oct 2009 version of WRECKING BALL was released as a single in 2009.

Live History

WRECKING BALL was performed 15 times during the 83-date-long Working On A Dream Tour, all in the United States in tour's last two months. These included the five-night stand at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, and two nights at Wachovia Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA. The song was often the show opener, and always featured Curt Ramm on trumpet.

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

WRECKING BALL was performed off-tour on 27 Feb 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. See the live 27 Feb 2012 version for more details.

WRECKING BALL 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.

WRECKING BALL 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. The song was played with the E Street Band. See the live 15 Mar 2012 version for more details.

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

Available Versions

List of available versions of WRECKING BALL on this website:

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