Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Jesus Was An Only Son” (2005)

As I first read over the lyrics to this song, I was reminded of my nephew. Devils & Dust came out not too many months after he’d been killed in a motorcycle accident. There’s a verse in this song that speaks to such a loss. That is, of a parent losing a child.

Now there’s a loss that can never be replaced,
A destination that can never be reached,
A light you’ll never find in another’s face,
A sea whose distance cannot be breached

While Bruce had written of Mary specifically losing her son, the universality of such a terrible event is obvious. No parent wants to outlive their children. In my sister’s case, she was never the same. Years of hardships, stress, mental illness, and drug abuse had already taken their toll on her. This loss was too much to bear.

My sister was a big Bruce fan — she took me to my first E Street show. I don’t remember ever speaking with her about this particular song. Maybe when we got here we both changed the subject.

Up next: Leah

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, 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
Mark Saleski