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Bruce Springsteen – New York City Serenade lyrics

Billy, he's down by the railroad tracks
Sitting low in the back seat of his Cadillac
Diamond Jackie, she's so intact
There, she falls so softly beneath him

Jackie's heels are stacked
Billy's got cleats on his boots
Together they're gonna boogaloo down Broadway
And come back home with their loot

It's midnight in Manhattan
This is no time to get cute
It's a mad dog's promenade
So walk tall, or baby, don't walk at all

Fish lady, oh, fish lady, fish lady
She baits them tenement walls
She won't take corner boys
Ain't got no money, and they're so easy

I said, "Hey baby won't you take my hand”,
“Walk with me down Broadway”
“Oh mama, take my arm
And groove with me down Broadway, yeah”

I'm a young man and I talk real loud”
“Yeah, babe, walk real proud for ya”

Ah, so shake it away
So shake away your street life
Shake away your city life

And hook up to the train
Aw, hook up to the night train
Hook it up, hook up to the
Hook up to the train

But, I know that she won't take the train
No, she won't take the train
No, she won't take the train
No, she won't take the train
No, she won’t take the train
No, she won’t take the train
No, she won’t take the train
No, she won’t take the train

She's afraid them tracks are gonna slow her down
And when she turns, this boy'll be gone
So long, sometimes, you just gotta walk on, walk

Hey vibes man, hey jazz man
Ah, play me your serenade
Any deeper blue and
You'd be playin' in your grave

Save your notes, don't spend 'em on the blues, boy
Save your notes, don't spend 'em on the darlin' yearlin', sharp boy
Straight from the church note ringin', vibes man sting a trash can

Listen to your junk man, Ah, listen to your junk man
Listen to your junk man, oh, listen to your junk man

He's singin' (Singin')
He’s singin’ (Singin’)
He’s singin’ (Singin’)

All dressed up in satin, walkin' past the alley

Singin’, yeah
Singin’, yeah
Oh, oh, oh, oh, yeah
Oo, oo, oo, oo, oh, yeah

Watch out for your junk man
Watch out for your junk man
Watch out for your junk man

Watch out for your junk man
Come on girl, watch out
Ooo, ooo, yeah, ooo, ooo, yeah
Oo, yeah, oo, oo, ooo, yeah
Oh, watch out for your junk man
Oo, ooo, oo, ooo, ooo
Watch out for your junk man
Watch out

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Corrected byListentothesong


  • u
    Jackie's a heroin user/prostitute and billy's convincing her to leave the life. Fish lady is the older prostitute who's too wise to the streets to fall in love with a john. The junkman is the smack dealer, maybe the pimp, maybe both. Who lures you in with heroin and then turns you out. He's always there, dressed sharp. He can lure you if you don't be careful. Great tune about the heatbreak of love, the pains of survival and finding the strength to move on.
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  • m
    This song is about New York City (and ultimately, modern Western society) life. And how people survive within it.
    The first part concentrates upon the seductions inherent within New York's walls, the glitter and glamour, with a suggestion of what it takes to survive: don't get cute, it's mad, only show confidence.
    The second part seems to falls into typical Springsteen mode (gotta love it): using a means of transport (moving on)- this time it's a train- to seduce a lady away from her inherently vacuous, materialistic existence. Of course, he dosn't succeed, because she is too ambitious.
    The last part goes back to music, also suggesting correlations between materialism and deep blues. The junk man- singing, all dressed up in satin- makes a living out of selling things that others throw out.
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  • g
    I am not sure Bruce was interested in Western civilization here. Sounds like just another extended meditation on the wandering, searching angst of his youth, which ultimately achieves some resolution in the next album (at a particular point, indeed: "when the change was made uptown.."). What strikes me about this song is that it is a quintessential example of the immense and expansive melodic and harmonic creativity of the early years. The later albums (at least till Born usa) are much more taut and masculine.
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