Bruce Springsteen – Cadillac Ranch

This song is a great little rocker off of The River. This is one of many early Springsteen songs featuring cars. Some others were “Thunder Road,” “Backstreets,” and “Racing In The Street.” Bruce used the Cadillac image again in 1984 on “Pink Cadillac.”

The album The River peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 in 1980.

Springsteen used Cadillac Ranch as a metaphor for the coming of death.

There is a real Cadillac Ranch.

In 1974 along Route 66 west of Amarillo, Texas, Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of art-hippies from San Francisco. They called themselves The Ant Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh 3. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marsh 3’s fields, then half-buried, nose-down, in the dirt

From Songfacts

The Cadillac Ranch is a collection of 10 Cadillacs buried hood-first in a wheat field near Amarillo, Texas. Visitors are allowed to add graffiti to the cars, which are considered works of art.

Springsteen wrote this to energize his live shows and balance off the ballads on The River.

A live favorite, it is included on the box set Live 1975-1985.

Junior Johnson is mentioned in the second verse. He was a NASCAR racer in the ’50s and early ’60s before becoming a championship car owner. He won the second Daytona 500 in 1960 and was one of the first people to discover the drafting method of racing at the super speedways. 

Cars were very important growing up in New Jersey. Springsteen’s first car was a ’57 Chevy with orange flames painted on the hood.

A photo in the program for the Born In The U.S.A. tour shows Springsteen at the Cadillac Ranch.

Cadillac Ranch

Well there she sits buddy just a-gleaming in the sun
There to greet a working man when his day is done
I’m gonna pack my pa and I’m gonna pack my aunt
I’m gonna take them down to the Cadillac ranch

Eldorado fins, whitewalls and skirts
Rides just like a little bit of heaven here on earth
Well buddy when I die throw my body in the back
And drive me to the junkyard in my Cadillac

Cadillac, Cadillac
Long and dark shiny and black
Open up your engines let ’em roar
Tearing up the highway like a big old dinosaur

James Dean in that mercury forty-nine
Junior Johnson runnin’ through the woods of Carolina
Even Burt Reynolds in that black Trans Am
All gonna meet down at the Cadillac ranch

Cadillac, Cadillac
Long and dark shiny and black
Open up your engines let ’em roar
Tearing up the highway like a big old dinosaur

Hey little girlie in the blue jeans so tight
Drivin’ alone through the Wisconsin night
You’re my last love, baby you’re my last chance
Don’t let ’em take me to the Cadillac ranch

Cadillac, Cadillac
Long and dark shiny and black
Pulled up to my house today
Came and took my little girl away

Oh baby, come on
Oh baby, come on
Oh
Come on

Author: badfinger20

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

13 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen – Cadillac Ranch”

  1. The Boss is in his prime here. He’s always been quite a showman. I’d love to add a bit o’ graffiti to one of the Cadillacs on the ranch. You know Cadillac is a city in Michigan, yes? We need one of them there.

    Liked by 1 person

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