Song title: Incident on 57th street
Incident on 57th street
Spanish Johnny drove in from the underworld last night with bruised arms and
broken rhythm and a beat-up old Buick but dressed just like dynamite,
He tried sellin’ his heart to the hard girls over on Easy Street,
But they said, “Johnny, it falls apart so easy and you know hearts these days are cheap.”
And the pimps swung their axes and said, “Johnny, you’re a cheater.”
Well, the pimps swung their axes and said, “Johnny, you’re a liar.”
And from out of the shadows came a young girl’s voice, said: “Johnny don’t cry.”
Puerto Rican Jane, oh won’t you tell me what’s your name.
I want to drive you down to the other side of town where paradise ain’t so
crowded and there’ll be action goin’ down on Shanty Lane tonight
All the golden heeled fairies in a real bitch-fight pull thirty-eights and
kiss their girls goodnight.
Goodnight, it’s alright, Jane
Now let them black boys in to light the soul flame,
We may find it out on the street tonight, baby,
Or we may walk until the daylight, maybe.
Well, like a cool Romeo he made his moves, oh she looked so fine
Like a late Juliet she knew she’d never be true but then she really didn’t mind,
Upstairs a band was playin’ and the singer was singin’ something about going home,
She whispered, “Spanish Johnny, you can leave me tonight, but just don’t leave me alone.”
And Johnny cried, “Puerto Rican Jane, word is down the cops have found the vein.”
Them bare foot boys left their homes for the woods
Them little barefoot street boys, they said their homes ain’t no good,
They left the corners, threw away their switchblade knives and kissed each other goodbye.
Johnny was sittin’ on the fire escape watchin’ the kids playin’ down the street,
He called down, “Hey little heroes, summer’s long
but I guess it ain’t very sweet around here anymore,
Janey sleeps in sheets damp with sweat,
Johnny sits up alone and watches her dream on, dream on,
And the sister prays for lost souls then breaks down in the chapel after everyone’s gone.
Jane moves over to share her pillow but opens her eyes
to see Johnny up and putting his clothes on,
She says, “Those romantic young boys, all they ever want to do is fight,
Those romantic young boys, they’re callin’ through the window:
Hey, Spanish Johnny, you want to make a little easy money tonight?”
And Johnny whispered, “Goodnight, it’s all tight Jane,
I’ll meet you tomorrow night on Lover’s Lane
We may find it out on the street tonight now baby
Or we may walk until the daylight, baby.”
Goodnight, it’s alright Jane,
I’m gonna meet you tomorrow night on Lover’s Lane,
We can find it out on the street tonight, baby,
Or we may walk until it’s daylight, maybe.
This "The Wild, the Innocent..." gem was played in various versions on a regular basis until 1976, then a few times during the 1977 and Darkness tours. Then, a single appearance in the The River tour. Forgotten for quite 20 years, comes back in the Reunion tour. At the Convention Hall shows 2001 the song was played in the 'Solo piano' version, unhearded since 1975!
Published on the following official releases:
First known live performance: 13/10/1973 Kennedy Centre, Washington,DC ,USA
- THE WILD, THE INNOCENT & THE E STREET SHUFFLE (Album,1973)
- WAR / MERRY XMAS BABY - INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET (12 in.,1986)
- WAR-FIRE / BORN TO RUN-INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET (12 in.,1986)
- LIVE COLLECTION I (12 in.,1987)
- FIRE / INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET (7 in.,1987)
- LIVE IN BARCELONA (Album,2004)
Last known live performance: 22/01/2017 Perth Arena, Perth ,Australia
Played live 29 time(s) during the gigs preceeding the official Born To Run Tour.
Keep in mind that only a small amount of the setlists of these years has surfaced, so it may have been played a lot more.
Apart from the above live performances, the song was recorded during the Greetings / Wild sessions in 1972-73 (and released on THE WILD....)
Bruce inserted it 33 times in the setlists of the Born to Run tour
Not much used during the Darkness tour, deserving only less than a dozen renderings
Played once in the whole River tour (29/12/1980 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale,NY ,USA)
Scarcely used during the Reunion tour, with 4 inclusions
Played during the Conventional Hall shows in 2001
Played during the Rising tour (15 times)
The Barcelona show of the Rising tour was broadcast and released on DVD 'LIVE IN BARCELONA', which included also this song
The Devils and Dust tour counted 13 apparitions of this song
Played during the rehearsals for the Magic tour, in Sep 2007.
It only saw the light less than a dozen times in the whole Magic tour
Not much used during the Working on a Dream tour, deserving only 4 renderings
During the Wrecking Ball tour, the song was played less than a dozen times
Bruce gave this song one only shot through the High Hopes tour (26/02/2014 Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane ,Australia)
Not much used during the 2016 The River tour, deserving only less than a dozen renderings
Performed 1 times during the 2017 Summer tour
The song was also played in informal happenings or off-tour appearances