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"The '59 Sound"

2008 single
Single by The Gaslight Anthem
from the album The '59 Sound
Released July 22, 2008
June 15, 2009 (UK re-release)
Format 7" single, digital download, CD
Recorded 2008
Genre Punk rock
Length 3:11
Label SideOneDummy Records
Writer(s) The Gaslight Anthem
Producer Ted Hutt
The Gaslight Anthem singles chronology
"The '59 Sound"
"Old White Lincoln"
"The '59 Sound" (2009 re-release)
Music sample
"The '59 Sound"

"The '59 Sound" is a 2008 song by American rock band The Gaslight Anthem. Written by the band and produced by Ted Hutt, it is the title track of the band's second full-length album. Released as the album's lead single, the song reached the U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart in early 2009. The song, which received mostly favorable reviews from critics, was performed live by the band with Bruce Springsteen at the Glastonbury and Hard Rock Calling festivals in June 2009.



"The '59 Sound" was the first song written by singer-songwriter-guitarist[1] Brian Fallon for the band's 2008 album, also titled The '59 Sound.[2] Fallon recalled, "I never wrote a song like that before. And I thought it was better than anything else I ever wrote. I showed it to the guys [in the band] and they thought it was awesome. Then the next one was "Great Expectations" and we definitely knew where we were going with [the album]."[2] Fallon said the band had tried to emulate the sound of soul music from the late 1950s, because "back then it seemed like there was a genuine feeling of excitement going on that I don’t think is necessarily happening right now. It seems like when you look back on that era a lot of it is embodied in that Memphis sound, so it’s just a giant celebratory thing."[3] Bassist Alex Levine noted that in addition to being inspired by soul music, he used to play a 1959 Fender Bassman.[4] Lyrically, the song is a elegy for a friend who died while the band was elsewhere performing a gig.[5][6]

Release and reception

Released as a physical single in July 2008, "The '59 Sound" was released to U.S. modern rock radio stations in September.[7] The song entered the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in January 2009, peaked at number 35 in February, and spent 10 weeks on the chart.[8] The song's music video, directed by Kevin Custer, premiered in July 2008.[9] An alternate version, also directed by Custer and featuring the band's full performance of the song, debuted the following June.[10] Also that month, "The '59 Sound" was re-released in the UK as a physical single, backed with a live cover version of Pearl Jam's "State of Love and Trust", as well as a live performance of "We Came to Dance", a song from the Gaslight Anthem's first album, Sink or Swim.[11] The single reached number 115 on the UK Singles Chart in July.[12]

"The '59 Sound" was generally well-received by music critics, with Pitchfork Media writer Tom Breihan praising the bridge: "It's simple, it's sincere, and it kills me every time."[13] CMJ New Music writer Tyler Theofilos said the song is "all about the exhilaration that goes along with raw, driving rock."[14] Jason MacNeil of PopMatters compared it to The Killers and Tim-era Replacements.[15] The song was ranked number 62 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Best Singles of 2008".[16]


The Gaslight Anthem performed "The '59 Sound" live on the talk shows Late Night with Conan O'Brien[17] and Late Show with David Letterman.[18] The band was joined onstage by Bruce Springsteen during performances of the song at Glastonbury Festival 2009[19] and Hard Rock Calling 2009.[20] Of Springsteen's Glastonbury appearance with the band, Brian Fallon recalled, "He just showed up. That was it. Nobody knew about it, nobody said anything, and he showed up an went, 'Can I play with you,' and we were, like, 'Absolutely. Yeah. All right.' It was literally three minutes before we went onstage."[21]

Track listing

7" Vinyl (2008)
  1. "The '59 Sound" (The Gaslight Anthem) - 3:11
  2. "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" (The Gaslight Anthem) - 3:31
7" Vinyl, CD (2009)
  1. "The '59 Sound" (The Gaslight Anthem) - 3:11
  2. "State Of Love And Trust" (Vedder, Ament, McCready) (Live at Webster Hall, New York City) - 3:27
  3. "We Came to Dance" (The Gaslight Anthem) (Live at Webster Hall, New York City) - 3:36

Chart performance

Chart (2009) Peak
U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs[8] 35
UK Singles Chart[12] 115


  1. ^ Holdship, Bill (2008-11-12). "Record Review - The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound". Metro Times. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  2. ^ a b MacNeil, Jason (2009-03-20). "The Gaslight Anthem Have a Little Springsteen in Their Step". Toronto Sun (Sun Media). Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  3. ^ Bayer, Jonah (2009-09-09). "Gibson Exclusive: The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon Looks Back on The '59 Sound". Gibson Guitar Corporation. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  4. ^ "The Gaslight Anthem Candidly Discuss Opening for Springsteen, the Year 1959, and Growing Up". Buzznet. 2009-04-22. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  5. ^ Gibson, Dan (2008-12-12). "No. 59: The Gaslight Anthem, "The '59 Sound"". Idolator. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  6. ^ Hopkins, Ben (2008-08-28). "The Gaslight Anthem - The ‘59 Sound". Clash. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  7. ^ "Available for Airplay Archive". FMQB. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  8. ^ a b ""The '59 Sound" - The Gaslight Anthem". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  9. ^ "The Gaslight Anthem "The ‘59 Sound" Video". Rockdirt. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  10. ^ "New Gaslight Anthem Video - "The '59 Sound"". Stereogum. 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  11. ^ "The Gaslight Anthem - New Single "The ’59 Sound" Out June 29th". Altsounds. 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  12. ^ a b Zobbel (2009-07-11). "Chart Log UK: New Entries Update". Zobbel. Retrieved 2009-12-26.  
  13. ^ Breihan, Tom (2008-11-25). "Album Reviews - The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  14. ^ Theofilos, Tyler (2008-06). "Reviews - The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound". CMJ New Music (College Media, Inc.) (155). ISSN 1074-6978. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  15. ^ MacNeil, Jason (2008-11-24). "The Gaslight Anthem, The '59 Sound - Review". PopMatters. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  16. ^ "Best of 2008". Rolling Stone (Wenner Media). 2008-12-25. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  17. ^ "Videos: The Gaslight Anthem: "The '59 Sound (Live on Conan)"". 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  18. ^ "Gaslight Anthem Serve Letterman "The '59 Sound"". Stereogum. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  19. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Makes Surprise Appearance with Gaslight Anthem at Glastonbury". NME. 2009-06-27. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  20. ^ Murray, Noel (2009-06-30). "A Jersey Reunion In the UK: Bruce Springsteen & The Gaslight Anthem". The A.V. Club (The Onion, Inc.).,29849/. Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  21. ^ Bell, Mike (2009-09-22). "Sons of Springsteen: The Boss leaves his mark on a new generation of rockers". Calgary Herald (Canwest). Retrieved 2009-12-19.  

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