Bruce Springsteen – Johnny Bye Bye

This is Bruce’s song about Elvis Presley. Bruce was a big fan of Elvis but this looks at the dark side. After the glory had left and the lifestyle that caught up with Elvis with tragic results.

The song was released as a B side to “I’m On Fire” in 1985.

It is a haunting song to listen to. The key words are the last lines of the song…”You didn’t have to die, You didn’t have to die.” The song is credited to Chuck Berry and Bruce because Bruce rewrote the Berry song Bye Bye Johnny to fit his story.

It has always reminded me of another great Springsteen song… Cadillac Ranch.

Bruce Springsteen quote

 “The type of fame Elvis had . . . the pressure of it, the isolation that it seems to require, has gotta be really painful”

“Johnny Bye-Bye”

Well she drew out all her money from the Southern Trust
And put her little boy on the Greyhound Bus
Leaving Memphis with a guitar in his hand
With a one-way ticket to the promised land
Hey little girl with the red dress on
There’s a party tonight down in Memphis town
I’ll be going down there if you need a ride
The man on the radio says Elvis Presley’s died We drove to Memphis, the sky was hard and black
Up over the ridge came a white Cadillac
They’d drawn out all his money and they laid him in the back
A woman cried from the roadside “Ah he’s gone, he’s gone”
They found him slumped up against the drain
With a whole lot of trouble running through his veins
Bye-bye Johnny
Johnny bye-bye
You didn’t have to die
You didn’t have to die

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

2 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen – Johnny Bye Bye”

  1. Back in the early to mid 80’s I would buy all the Springsteen and Prince 45s to get the b-sides which weren’t on the albums. This was a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

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