Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, "Open All Night" (1982)

Unlike most of the rest of Nebraska, here there is no ominous subtext, no angst, no life about to be split apart. Instead, it’s just a guy rocketing down the highway toward his girl, fighting off the threat of speed traps and the weirdness of the Jersey nightscape, all of it set to an insistent guitar shuffle.

And as simple as the tune may be, Bruce went ahead and dropped in some nice details to paint a few more pictures. The image of Wanda sittin’ on his lap, the fried chicken, and the Texaco road map — that one scene is my favorite. It’s a moment of pure pleasure that seems all too rare these days.

I’ve included two video verions of “Open All Night” because I truly love both the original (which the Devils and Dust tour version comes closest to in spirit) and the “Mutant Texas Swing Rap” take that came out during the Seeger Sessions tour. Some folks seemed almost offended by Bruce’s re-imagining of his own song. All I know is that the night I saw that show, it rocked the joint.

Next up: My Father’s House

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 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