Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City" (1973)

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Greetings ends not with a happy postcard from the Jersey shore, but with the tough-as-nails “It’s Hard To be A Saint In The City.” The song’s protagonist, who does not lack for swagger — “I could walk like Brando right into the sun/Then dance just like a Casanova” — crashes through the seedy side of life in the city. The color has been washed out of the cast of characters, leaving the downtrodden, the evil, and the ones looking for a way out (if there is one).

The studio version pushes the energy with quickly strummed bits of acoustic guitar at crucial points (plus a very sweet ride cymbal pattern just as Bruce delivers “As the tracks clack out their rhythm…”) but it was during the early live shows that Springsteen and Miami Steve unleashed the song’s full power. Check out the guitar battle at this London 1975 show. A reflection of life on the street? Nah, that’s over-thinkin’ it…just a band rocking hard.


Next up: The E Street Shuffle

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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