"Light of Day", sometimes written as "(Just Around the Corner to the) Light of Day", is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and performed initially by Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox with their fictitious band The Barbusters in the 1987 film Light of Day. The song has since become a staple in Jett's concerts, often representing the show's high point.
The song appeared on the Light of Day soundtrack album. As a single, it reached number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received additional album-oriented rock airplay due to its Jett and Springsteen connection. A music video featuring The Barbusters performing the song, interspersed with numerous scenes from the rest of the film, was popular on MTV. The song has also appeared on several Jett compilation albums.
"Light of Day" is a powerful guitar-driven, roadhouse-flavored stomper that features Springsteen's usual automotive imagery and includes some of his heartland rock sentiments as well as some of the film's sensibility:
The song's lyrics focus on the quest for happiness amidst life's difficult circumstances, told through the eyes of a person driving and traveling the nation and world in search of something better, only to find that it really existed at home all along.
While the song's lyrics do not directly mention either Springsteen's native New Jersey or Jett's native Pennsylvania by name, the song has been interpreted to reference the authenticity of people and places associated with these two states, inspired at least partly by Springsteen's failed marriage to actress Julianne Phillips and Springsteen's brief residence in California with Phillips, which Springsteen has since described disparagingly.
The tale is told that Springsteen donated the song to film director Paul Schrader as loose payment for his having appropriated Schrader's working title for this film for the song "Born in the U.S.A.." Because the song was written around Springsteen's divorce from Phillips, it also includes subtle references to the rejection of inauthentic relationships between people with different value structures, described lyrically by Springsteen as "I got a little lost down along the way."
Springsteen subsequently featured "Light of Day" heavily in his own concerts; it showed up during his 1987 Jersey Shore club appearances, then served as the main set closer throughout his 1988 Tunnel of Love Express, 1992-1993 "Other Band", 1995 (six shows with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers in a band featuring Bruce on lead guitar and occasional lead vocal) and 1999-2000 Reunion Tours. Two such performances were captured in the 1993 In Concert/MTV Plugged and 2000 Live in New York City videos and albums, but any particular rendering could be extended to arbitrary length via Springsteen raps, vamps, stage hijinks, and false endings.