Bruce Springsteen lyrics -- Bruce Springsteen shows -- Bruce Springsteen records

Song title: The ghost of Tom Joad

The ghost of Tom Joad

Men walkin’ ‘long the railroad tracks
Goin’ some place, there’s no goin’ back
Highway Patrol choppers comin’ up over the ridge
Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge

Shelter line stretchin’ round the corner
Welcome to the new world order
Families sIeepin’ in their cars in the southwest
No home, no Job, no peace, no rest

The highway is alive tonight
But nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes
I’m sitting down here in the campfire light
Searchin’ for the ghost of Tom Joad

He pulls prayer book out of his sleepin’ bag
Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
Waitin’ for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass
Got a one way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand
sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
Bathing in the city aqueduct

The highway is alive tonight
Where it’s headed everybody knows
I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
Waitin’ on the ghost of Tom Joad

Now Tom Said; “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beatin’ a guy
Wherever a hungry new born baby cries
Where there’s a fight ‘gainst the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me mom I’ll be there
Wherever there’s somebody fightin’ for a pIace to stand
Or decent job or a helpin’ hand
Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free
Look in their eyes mom you’ll see me.”

Well the highway is alive tonight
But nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes
I’m sitting down here in the campfire light
Searchin’ for the ghost of Tom Joad

Notes: From the ononymous album, played in that tour and in the Reunion tour

Statistics from the KILLING FLOOR ( database

Published on the following official releases:

First known live performance: 28/10/1995 Shoreline Amph., Mountain View,CA ,USA
Last known live performance: 15/12/2018 Walter Kerr Theatre, New York,NY ,USA

Song 'history':

Played at the Bridge Benefit show of 1995.
Published on the solo album THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD, in 1996.
Perfomed in a large number of shows (117) of the Ghost of Tom Joad tour
Largely (112 times) played during the Reunion tour
One only rendering for this song in the Rising tour (16/09/2003 Rentschler Field, Hartford,CT ,USA)
Played during the 'Double Take' shows in 2002
The song was then included in the ESSENTIAL compilation, released in 2003.
Played during the rehearsals for the Devils and dust Tour, in Mar/Apr 2005.
Bruce gave this song only two shots through the Devils and Dust tour (14/05/2005 Patriot Center, Fairfax,VA ,USA and 15/06/2005 Festhalle, Frankfurt ,Germany)
Just 5 shots during the The Seeger Session tour
Two only renderings for this song in the Magic tour (07/04/2008 Honda Center, Anaheim,CA ,USA and 08/04/2008 Honda Center, Anaheim,CA ,USA)
26 perfomances were given during the Working on a Dream tour
Bruce inserted it 20 times in the setlists of the Wrecking Ball tour
Published on the 'HIGH HOPES' Album, released in January 2014.
A stable inclusion in quite each High Hopes tour show, missing a sole performance
Two only performances during the 2016 The River tour (16/07/2016 Circus Maximus, Rome ,Italy and 25/08/2016 MetLife Stadium, E.Rutherford,NJ ,USA)
Published in live soundtrack of 'Springsteen on Broadway' show
A discrete number of performances (104) was given during the Springsteen on Broadway tour

The song was also played in informal happenings or off-tour appearances
Data from the database