Bruce Springsteen – Hungry Heart 1980

Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack
I went out for a ride and I never went back
Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowing
I took a wrong turn and I just kept going

It’s hard to beat that as an opening verse…once I heard that I was hooked. Springsteen met Joey Ramone in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Ramone asked Bruce to write a song for his band, The Ramones. Springsteen wrote “Hungry Heart” that night but decided to keep it.

Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (Flo and Eddie) of The Turtles sang backup.

The song was on the album The River. The album peaked a #1 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1980. Hungry Heart peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100 in 1980. This was Springsteen’s first top 10 hit.

Bruce Springsteen: “I saw the Ramones in Asbury Park,”  “and we were talking for a while and I was like, ‘Man I’ve got to write the Ramones a song.’ So I went home and I sat at my table and I wrote it in about the time it took me to sing it. I brought it in and we went to make a demo for it or I played it for [Johnny Ramone], and he said, ‘Nah, you better keep that one.’ He was right about that. It did pretty well.”

 

From Songfacts

This was Springsteen’s first Top 10 hit. Born To Run was a big album five years earlier, but did not have any hit singles. This song proved that Springsteen could not just sell concert tickets and albums, but could record hit pop songs. 

This song explores a man’s wanderlust contrasted with his desire for a stable family life. Many of Springsteen’s songs are about wanting to get away, and in this song the main character concludes that he does not want to be alone.

Springsteen’s voice was slightly sped up on the recording, producing a higher vocal. Bob Dylan did the same thing on “Lay Lady Lay.” 

This was used in the Tom Cruise movie Risky Business. It was the first time a Springsteen song was used in a film.

In the 1981 Rolling Stone reader’s poll, this was voted best single. Springsteen also won for Best Artist, Album, and Male Singer.

Bruce has the audience sing the first verse and chorus when he performs this live.

The single was backed with “Held Up Without A Gun.” This started a tradition of using songs that did not appear on his albums as B-sides.

This went to #28 when it was Reissued in England in 1995. The first time it was released it only went to #44.

Springsteen performed this with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at Young’s first annual Bridge School benefit concert in 1986.

Hungry Heart

Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack
I went out for a ride and I never went back
Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowing
I took a wrong turn and I just kept going

Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Lay down your money and you play your part
Everybody’s got a hungry heart

I met her in a Kingstown bar
We fell in love I knew it had to end
We took what we had and we ripped it apart
Now here I am down in Kingstown again

Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Lay down your money and you play your part
Everybody’s got a hungry heart

Everybody needs a place to rest
Everybody wants to have a home
Don’t make no difference what nobody says
Ain’t nobody like to be alone

Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Lay down your money and you play your part
Everybody’s got a hungry heart

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

43 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen – Hungry Heart 1980”

    1. This is where he turned a little more radio friendly no doubt…
      then a little later it would blow sky high with Born In The USA

      What makes it a little more odd is…Nebraska was sandwiched between the two.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great song, the first I REALLY liked by Bruce. I liked “Prove it all Night” a couple of years before but it didn’t blow me away, I don’t remember hearing “Born to Run” until after this (after he’d become an established star.) Glad he didn’t give it out to the Ramones.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I haven’t listened to Independence day in a long time…love that song.
        At first, I thought of Van Morrison’s great song Almost Independence Day.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This will sound weird but I think if Springsteen’s incorrigibleness could be wound up in one song this would be it. How could one not be inspired where he went with this? I don’t think it’s one of his for the ages, but it was sure suited for the times.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hmmm don’t remember Springsteen mentioning the ramones in his book. Do remember John landau saying to him that the river lacked a hit…and with that Springsteen kept writing. ..have to go back n check. Interesting that the ramones were involved though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I saw Bruce on Fallon saying that about the Ramones…the song is so unlike the Ramones! It’s a funny story…check it out on youtube.

      I do remember Landau telling him to write another one for Born in the USA…that is when he wrote Dancing In The Dark.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right, nothing like the Ramones — don’t know what he was thinking lol. I really love the river, but not hungry heart, it’s catchy sure but in no way fits the album

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes a tune! Personally I love all those messy bar bands tracks — have you noticed how the gaps between songs seems less on this album? COuld be my imagination….but they seem to smash into one another. Love it.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I like the album…don’t get me wrong but it pales against some of his others. It is very good though.
        Trapped wasn’t on one of his albums…it was on a charity album I believe.

        Liked by 1 person

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