Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, "The Price You Pay" (1980)

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“Why does Bruce neglect this song?” The sentiment has been expressed many, many times on various E Street messages boards over the years. And why doesn’t he play it? Who knows?! For as much as we think we might understand or “know” Springsteen through his songs and actions, his motivations remain something of a mystery. The man has entire albums he ignores — the oft-sited Tunnel Of Love as well as the more recent Magic — leaving the fan base with little more than speculation as to his setlist rationale.

With the harmonica that accents the chorus and the biblical references in the song’s final verses, I’ve always thought of this as a companion piece to The Promised Land. Its theme of tossing caution aside and driving toward a dream (and dealing with the consequences of your actions) would fit in perfectly with this or any Springsteen tour.

And then there was this one special night in Philly…

Next Up: Drive All night

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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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  • Glen Boyd

    A song I will never, ever tire of hearing…but of course, a lot of that is because he plays it so rarely (the only time I’ve witnessed it live in 35 years of attending Bruce shows was once in 1980 on the River tour).

    I love how you can hear the guy in the audience say “Oh..my..God” at the beginning here. That guy KNEW.

    -Glen

    PS – Dead on observation about this being the companion piece to “Promised Land” btw.

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