Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Downbound Train” (1984)

I’ve been reading Peter Ames Carlin’s (excellent) new Bruce bio. Pretty interesting to see a line drawn from the Castiles’ tune “That’s What You Get” all the way to “Downbound Train”, with the point of overlap being the line “I fall down on my knees and I cry.” No, the line isn’t an exact match, but the sentiment is the same.

And while the circumstances weren’t the same, “Downbound Train” kind of makes me think of Bruce’s dad…with the multiple jobs and how things just never quite worked out for him.

When people go off on that “How can Springsteen talk about the working man?” tirade, you might think that songs like this — or more to the point: the history behind them — would provide ample evidence. But you know, some folks are just more comfortable wrapping themselves in their version of the “truth,” no matter how divorced from reality it is.

Up next: I’m On Fire

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