Bruce Springsteen ‘My Father’s House’

Bruce Springsteen has often captured the dignity of the common working man. For example, Springsteen wrote the song Factory for his father, a New Jersey factory worker, and many of Springsteen’s songs chronicle the way his father and other working class men struggle to support their families. Springsteen’s father was a traditional, hard-line dad, and Springsteen was a rebellious teen. He wrote several songs about the conflicts he had with his father while growing up. In my mind the most haunting, both in its lyrics and the music itself, is My Father’s House:

Last night I dreamed that I was a child out where the pines grow wild and tall I was trying to make it home through the forest before the darkness falls I heard the wind rustling through the trees and ghostly voices rose from the fields I ran with my heart pounding down that broken path With the devil snappin’ at my heels I broke through the trees, and there in the night My father’s house stood shining hard and bright the branches and brambles tore my clothes and scratched my arms But I ran till I fell, shaking in his arms I awoke and I imagined the hard things that pulled us apart Will never again, sir, tear us from each other’s hearts I got dressed, and to that house I did ride from out on the road, I could see its windows shining in light I walked up the steps and stood on the porch a woman I didn’t recognize came and spoke to me through a chained door I told her my story, and who I’d come for She said “I’m sorry, son, but no one by that name lives here anymore” My father’s house shines hard and bright it stands like a beacon calling me in the night Calling and calling, so cold and alone Shining ‘cross this dark highway where our sins lie unatoned

As Springsteen moved into adulthood he and his father reconciled. When his father died in 1998, Springsteen said, “I feel lucky to have been so close to my dad, as I became a man and a father myself.” The album version of “My Father’s House” can be seen here. A live version with a brief story can be seen here.

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