Bruce Springsteen – Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Well, tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance, Because a record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance… That is a liberating lyric and sold the song to me.

After appearing on the covers of Time and Newsweek in October 1975, Springsteen sometimes changed the words to “Tell your papa I ain’t no freak, ’cause I got my picture on the cover of Time and Newsweek” when he performed it live.

I’ve seen Bruce do this song live and it is special. It’s one of the best live songs I’ve ever heard along with The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again. The song is exciting as he pleads with Rosie and calls out the nicknames of their friends.

The song was his second album The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle peaked at #59 in the Billboard Album charts in 1975.

From Songfacts

This is Springsteen’s musical autobiography. After touring relentlessly around the Jersey Shore, he finally signed a record deal and got some money. Springsteen called the song, “A kiss-off to everybody who counted you out, put you down, or decided you weren’t good enough.”

Springsteen considers this the best love song he ever wrote, which he would often declare before performing it. It’s proof that a love song does not have to be slow or sappy.

This is one of Springsteen’s most popular live songs, and a dependable capper. It was the last song before the encore at most of his shows from 1973-1984; in 1999 during his E Street Band reunion tour, Springsteen played 15 sold out shows at the Continental Airlines Arena (later known as the Izod centre) and he used this song to close out the final show of the stand. This became very popular in England when British TV aired a clip of Springsteen performing this at a concert in Phoenix in 1978.

The live film clip of this is the closest thing Springsteen had to a music video until he started making them in 1984, starting with “Dancing In The Dark.”

The first time Springsteen performed this song was at a concert at Joe’s Place in Boston on January 5, 1974.

This was one of the first songs to showcase Clarence Clemons on sax. With his bright suits and imposing size, he quickly became the most popular member of the E Street Band.

The audience always went crazy when Springsteen sang: “The record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance.” He got a $25,000 advance from Columbia Records when he signed his first record deal, proving to his father and others who doubted him that he did have a real job.

Springsteen never liked his nickname “The Boss,” and sometimes sang: “You can call me Lieutenant, Rosie, but don’t ever call me Boss.”

Springsteen wrote this to be a live show-stopper. He was inspired by the soul revues in the ’60s where the artists would pour all their energy into their final song, and just when it seemed to be over, keep playing. He knew his audience would remember this when he played it.

According to Diane Lozito, who was Springsteen’s girlfriend around the time he was writing this song, he got the title from the name of her grandmother, Rose (“Rose Lozito” “Rosalita”).

Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Spread out now Rosie, doctor come cut loose her mama’s reins
You know playin’ blind man’s bluff is a little baby’s game
You pick up little dynamite, I’ll pick up little gun
And together we’re gonna go out tonight and make that highway run
You don’t have to call me lieutenant, Rosie, and I don’t want to be your son
The only lover I’m ever gonna need’s your soft, sweet, little girl’s tongue
And Rosie, you’re the one

Dynamite’s in the belfry, baby, playin’ with the bats
Little gun’s downtown in front of Woolworth’s tryin’ out his attitude on all the cats
Papa’s on the corner, waitin’ for the bus
Mama, she’s home in the window, waitin’ up for us
She’ll be there in that chair when they wrestle her upstairs, ’cause you know we ain’t gonna come
I ain’t here on business, baby, I’m only here for fun
And Rosie, you’re the one

Rosalita, jump a little higher
Senorita, come sit by my fire
I just want to be your lover, ain’t no liar
Rosalita, you’re my stone desire

Jack the Rabbit and Weak Knee Willie, don’t you know they’re gonna be there
Ah Sloppy Sue and Big Bone Billy, they’ll be coming up for air
We’re gonna play some pool, skip some school
Act real cool, stay out all night, it’s gonna feel alright
So Rosie, come out tonight, little baby, come out tonight
Windows are for cheaters, chimneys for the poor
Oh, closets are for hangers, winners use the door
So use it, Rosie, that’s what it’s there for

Rosalita, jump a little higher
Senorita, come sit by my fire
I just want to be your lover, ain’t no liar
Rosalita, you’re my stone desire, alright

Now, I know your mama, she don’t like me, ’cause I play in a rock and roll band
And I know your daddy, he don’t dig me, but he never did understand
Your papa lowered the boom, he locked you in your room, I’m comin’ to lend a hand
I’m comin’ to liberate you, confiscate you, I want to be your man
Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny
But now you’re sad, your mama’s mad
And your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money
Oh, your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money
Oh, so your daddy says he knows that I don’t have any money
Well, tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
Because a record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance

And my tires were slashed and I almost crashed, but the Lord had mercy
And my machine, she’s a dud, out stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey
Well, hold on tight, stay up all night, ’cause Rosie, I’m comin’ on strong
By the time we meet the morning light, I will hold you in my arms
I know a pretty little place in Southern California, down San Diego way
There’s a little cafe, where they play guitars all night and all day
You can hear them in the back room strummin’
So hold tight, baby, ’cause don’t you know daddy’s comin’
Everybody sing

Rosalita, jump a little higher
Senorita, come sit by my fire
I just want to be your lover, ain’t no liar
Rosalita, you’re my stone desire

Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey

Author: badfinger20

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

9 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen – Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”

    1. It was a requirement on early Bruce… some artists start off with simpler songs and gradually get a little more complex in their career…Bruce did the opposite. It might be because he seemed to write more on piano early on… I’m not sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For sure, he did some very verbose and complex stuff early and stripped it right back for Darkness. Even though Darkness is my favourite Springsteen record he lost his romanticism and his complexity there.

        Liked by 1 person

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