Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, "Mansion On The Hill" (1982)

A few months before my dad passed away, we were driving through some city streets on the way back from his cardiologist appointment at the hospital. At one point when we were stuck at a light, Dad looked to his left and said, “Hey Mark, look at that bright blue house. When you were a little boy, you always said that we should have a blue house.”

I hadn’t thought about that in decades but he was right, I did want a bright blue house. We never had a house of our own until my early teens and by then my desire for blue had long since been forgotten. Many years later, Dad’s memory brought forth our versions of some of the things implied in “Mansion On The Hill” — his job at the factory, and our weekend trips out into the country to admire the big, beautiful houses we dared not to hope for.

I’ve always loved what Bruce & Patti did with this live, transforming it into a romantic country ballad, the mansion now a metaphor for something else to hope for. True love? Peace? A life well-lived? Yes, all of those things.

Next up: Johnny 99

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to, and Salon, he writes several 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