The Full Wiki

Jersey Girl (song): Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Jersey Girl"
Song by Tom Waits

from the album Heartattack and Vine

Released September 1980
Length 5:11
Label Asylum
Writer Tom Waits
Producer Bones Howe

"Jersey Girl" is a song composed and originally sung by American singer-songwriter Tom Waits from his 1980 album Heartattack and Vine. It subsequently became best known in a live version by Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s.


Waits original

Waits wrote the song with his future wife Kathleen Brennan, who had been living in New Jersey.[1] It's one of Waits' most tender songs, and captures a feeling of romantic longing despite its somewhat gritty details:[1]

Down the shore everything's alright,
You with your baby, on a Saturday night ...
Don't you know that all my dreams come true —
When I'm walkin' down the street with you
Sing sha la la la la la, sha la la la ...
I'm in love with a Jersey girl.

Waits would state in a 1980 interview that, "I never thought I would catch myself saying 'sha la la' in a song ... This is my first experiment with 'sha la la.'"[1] Waits' recording includes drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, and glockenspiel, in an arragement that captures the feeling of the seashore by way of "Under the Boardwalk" or "Spanish Harlem".[1][2]

Rock writer Stephen Holden saw echoes of Springsteen in "Jersey Girl" even before Springsteen ever performed it,[2] and, writing for Rolling Stone, said that the song's "eager romanticism becomes warped in the caldron of what's left of Waits' voice," en route to "morbid pathos".[2]

The song is also included on Waits' compilation albums Bounced Checks (1981), Anthology of Tom Waits (1985), and Used Songs, 1973-1980 (2001). Waits also included a quiet performance of it during his 1999 appearance on VH1 Storytellers.[1]

Springsteen version

The song is most known as performed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and released as the B-side of his 1984 hit single "Cover Me".[3] Springsteen introduced the song in July 1981 during the encores of a special River Tour homecoming stand that opened Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey, saying "I just want to say that you guys made tonight for us ... this is something special that we learned for ya."[4] He slightly rewrote it to replace a Waits line about "whores on Eighth Avenue" with "the girls out on the avenue", and added a verse about taking "that little brat of yours and drop[ping] her off at your mom's."[4] The July 9 performance from this stand was used on the "Cover Me" release. A few weeks later on August 24, Waits joined Springsteen onstage at the Los Angeles Sports Arena to perform the song together.[1] "Jersey Girl" then became the closing track of Springsteen's 1986 box set Live/1975-85, as Springsteen and producer Jon Landau felt it accurately represented the final phase of the loose story arc that connected the songs on the album together.[5]

"Jersey Girl" would become a Springsteen fan favorite, pretty much played only in New Jersey and sometimes Philadelphia shows during the 1980s and early 1990s. Its appearances then became even rarer, being picked to open the last of 15 Meadowlands shows in 1999 on the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Reunion Tour – as what The New York Times termed "a reward for [the fans'] faith and perseverance,"[6] close the last of 10 shows at New Jersey's Giants Stadium in 2003 on The Rising Tour, and be the next-to-last song in the three-show run at Giants Stadium in 2008 on the Magic Tour. The song was played as the first fan requested song at his 10/03/09 show and was the final song performed during the last 10/09/09 show before the demolition of Giants Stadium.

Because the Springsteen version of the song was better known and more played on radio and because Springsteen was often associated with New Jersey, it was not unusual for people to mistakenly think Springsteen had written it.[7]

The song is sometimes erroneously associated with the Jersey Girl cultural stereotype, but in fact it makes no mention of most of the traits – such as big hair – usually associated with that stereotype.[8] One writer for the The New York Times stated that "the Jersey girl, the one Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen sing about, knows she'll get what she wants," and listed Springsteen wife Patti Scialfa and Governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman as examples that befit the song.[9]

Other versions

The song was recorded by folk artist Dave Van Ronk on his 1994 To All My Friends in Far-Flung Places album. The song was performed by English indie pop outfit Pale Saints on the 1995 Waits tribute album Step Right Up: The Songs of Tom Waits. The song was recorded by Waits jazz interpreter Holly Cole for her 1995 album Temptation, and included again on her 2005 compilation Holly Cole Collection Vol.1. The song was recorded by country artist Hal Ketchum for his 2008 album Father Time.

Kevin Smith made a film titled Jersey Girl after being inspired by fellow New Jersey alumnus, Bruce Springsteen's version (which also featured on the soundtrack).[10]




Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address