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Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, music legend Bruce Springsteen performs “Jersey Girl,” a tender ballad about a working-class New York City guy who falls head-over-heels in love with a gal from New Jersey. The smitten Springsteen has no time to hang out with the boys because, tonight, he’s gonna take that ride across the river to the Jersey side.
He sings, “You know she thrills me with all her charms / When I’m wrapped up in my baby’s arms / My little girl gives me everything / I know that someday she’ll wear my ring.”
When Springsteen released “Jersey Girl” as the B-side to his 1984 hit “Cover Me,” it was already a fan favorite. Three years earlier, he began performing it during encores of his River Tour. The song generated so much emotion from the concertgoers that it became a set list staple — frequently opening or closing his shows. “Jersey Girl” was selected as the final track of Springsteen’s 1986 box set Live/1975-85 and was the final song performed by Springsteen at New Jersey’s Giants Stadium before its demolition in 2009.
The Boss’s fans may be surprised to learn that even though Springsteen was born in Colts Neck, NJ, and his rocker wife, Patti Scialfa, was born in Deal, NJ, “Jersey Girl” was actually penned by Californian Tom Waits in 1980. Waits revealed in an interview that he wrote the song with his future wife and Jersey Girl, Kathleen Brennan, after she came into his life and “saved him.” Waits included the song on his 1980 album Heartattack and Vine.
A master storyteller and poet, Springsteen rarely releases covers of other artists’ songs, but “Jersey Girl” remains an exception. He recognized the main character in the Waits composition as the same guy from his own “Sandy” and “Rosalita.”
In August 1981, Waits and Springsteen — both of whom would later enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — performed “Jersey Girl” together at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Born in 1949, Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was inspired to pursue a music career after watching the Beatles’ perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. The 15-year-old Springsteen bought his first guitar for $18.95 at a Western Auto Appliance store.
He played small venues with a number of bands throughout the late ’60s and then caught the attention of a Columbia Records talent scout in 1972. Springsteen’s debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., was released in October of that same year.
Springsteen has sold more than 150 million records worldwide. He’s earned 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and a Special Tony Award for Springsteen on Broadway. In 1999, he was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
We hope you enjoy the audio track of Springsteen’s live performance of “Jersey Girl.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…
“Jersey Girl”Written by Tom Waits. Performed by Bruce Springsteen.
I got no time for the corner boysDown in the street making all that noiseOr the girls out on the avenue‘Cause tonight I want to be with you
Tonight I’m gonna take that rideAcross the river to the Jersey sideTake my baby to the carnivalAnd I’ll take her on all the rides
‘Cause down the shore everything’s all rightYou and your baby on a Saturday nightYou know all my dreams come trueWhen I’m walking down the street with you
Sha la la la la la laSha la la la la la la la laSha la la la la la la laSha la la la I’m in love with a Jersey girl
You know she thrills me with all her charmsWhen I’m wrapped up in my baby’s armsMy little girl gives me everythingI know that someday she’ll wear my ring
So don’t bother me man I ain’t got no timeI’m on my way to see that girl of mine‘Cause nothing matters in this whole wide worldWhen you’re in love with a Jersey girl
I see you on the street and you look so tiredI know that job you got leaves you so uninspiredWhen I come by to take you out to eatyou’re lyin’ all dressed up on the bed baby fast asleep
Go in the bathroom and put your makeup onWe’re gonna take that little brat of yours and drop her off at your mom’sI know a place where the dancing’s freeNow baby won’t you come with me
‘Cause down the shore everything’s all rightYou and your baby on a Saturday nightNothing matters in this whole wide worldWhen you’re in love with a Jersey girl
Credits: Photo by Manuel Martinez Perez, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.