Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bruce Springsteen “Long Time Comin’”

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.

In Long Time Comin’, from the Devils and Dust album, Bruce’s writing shifts from the perspective of the child to that of the father. “Long Time Comin’” is a great song about trying, messing up and trying some more. As he says in the performance linked below: “This is for the mothers and fathers out there, struggling to do the right thing.”

Set outdoors in an evening by a campfire, in a time that could be present day or 150 years ago (who makes their own map nowadays?), “Long Time Comin’” paints a picture of a father who has been deserted by his own dad and is determined not to repeat the scenario. As he so eloquently states “I ain’t gonna fuck it up this time.” He offers this hope for his children: “If I had one wish in this god-forsaken world, kids, it’s that your mistakes would be your own. Yeah, your sins would be your own.” His enthusiastic pledge and promise is to be a better father.

Any parent who has gone through rough times, and has seen their kids go through rough times as a result, can relate to this dad’s hope. As much as it’s hard to go through hardship yourself, it’s worse to think you’re putting your kids through it. Parents make mistakes, but no parent wants their child to suffer as a result. There’s a good bit of parenting wisdom in those lines.

The nature imagery in this song is great-—“beneath the arms of Cassiopeia, where the sword of Orion sweeps” is a pretty masterful description of a big, clear night sky. His symbolic goodbye to his old self is memorable, as well: “Tonight I'm gonna get birth naked and bury my old soul, and dance on its grave”.

A favorite part of the song, though, is the Neil Diamond nod: “it’s me and you, Rosie, cracklin’ like crossed wires”. After all, how can “cracklin’” and “Rosie” used together not be a Neil Diamond reference?

“Long Time Comin’” performed as part of the Devils and Dust tour, in Dusseldorf on June 16, 2005:


  1. Best ever use of the word "fuck" in a song!

  2. This is a "Long Time Comin'" because he finally wrote a follow-up to "Rosalita". The Neil Diamond nod is not negated.

  3. This is a "Long Time Comin'" because he finally wrote a follow-up to "Rosalita". The Neil Diamond nod is not negated.