Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bruce Springsteen “Walk Like A Man”

PJ is taking some time off for the birth of his second child. Friend of mvyradio Susan McDonald and singer-songwriter and former Fresh Produce Artist, Phil Ayoub, both major Springsteen Fans, fill in.

Five Great Bruce Springsteen Songs About Fathers And Sons.

Much has been made of Bruce Springsteen’s stormy relationship with his dad in the early years, and he has perpetuated the image in his storytelling in live performances. It’s never been quite clear how much of that was for art’s sake, and how much of it was real. But Bruce was 37 when he wrote “Walk Like A Man”, and although he claims the songs on Tunnel of Love are not autobiographical, it’s almost reassuring to find a sweet and loving tribute to a dad. There’s a hint of admiration for his dad and maybe some understanding of what he went through as a father, as Bruce seemingly began to shift his focus from looking back to looking ahead to his own house and family.

There are many types of relationships on display at a wedding. But in “Walk Like A Man” Springsteen explores a relationship that is often overlooked on a wedding day…that of a father and son. “I remember how rough your hand felt on mine, on my wedding day.” Bruce begins with those small details that convey so much—the emotion between father and son, the comfort of the physical touch, and the feeling of a hand toughened from a life filled with hard work and pain. And, as he moves through the bigger story of the love-as-a-dark-ride theme of much of Tunnel of Love, he frames it with that father/son bond.

All I can think of is being five years old
Following behind you at the beach
Tracing your footprints in the sand
Trying to walk like a man

These are wonderful lines that perfectly portray the beginnings of that bond—-the beach, the little boy and his father, and the wordplay of “walk like a man”. And as he traces this relationship through both their lives, there’s a tender acknowledgment that maybe his father didn’t live the life that he had intended to when he sings “I saw your best steps stolen away from you” near the end of the song, and “I’ll do what I can, I’ll walk like a man.” One can’t help but think that his father might have often told him to walk or act like a man at different times in his life.

“And I’ll keep on walkin’.”

“Walk Like A Man” has only been performed twice since the Tunnel of Love tour. This is from the Devils and Dust tour, August 1, 2005 in Cleveland, Ohio


  1. 2 for 2 Suzie! Nicely done.

    "All I can think of is being five years old
    Following behind you at the beach
    Tracing your footprints in the sand
    Trying to walk like a man"

    I've always juxtaposed these lines with the "Footprints" parable. With the one pair of footprints carrying the other. Don't you hate when Bruce allows you to personalize everything???

  2. Thanks, John! I hadn't quite thought of it that way...I just love the image it conjures up of the little boy trying to get it right.