Bruce Springsteen – Independence Day

But they can’t touch me now
And you can’t touch me now
They ain’t gonna do to me
What I watched them do to you

Great song by Bruce Springsteen that was written and recorded in 1977 for the Darkness on the Edge of Town album…but Bruce later included it on The River. They Ain’t Gonna Do To Me What I Watched Them Do To You. Lines like this keep me coming back to Bruce. This is one of the strongest songs on that album and one of my favorites of Springsteen.

According to Bruce’s autobiography and his song introduction, this song is about Springsteen’s relationship with his dad. They didn’t get along, but later in life, Bruce realized his father worked very hard to support his family and came to appreciate his efforts. Bruce can also thank his dad for inspiring the rebellious spirit that led him to follow his dreams. Determined not to work a typical factory type job like his dad, Springsteen followed his dreams and made music for a living.

Bruce Springsteen: “I could never talk to my old man, he could never talk to me, my mother couldn’t talk to him. So I was glad when I finally got old enough and I started to live alone. Then for about ten years I never saw my folks that much. And just recently we came back from Europe and I got a phone call a night or two later that my father had gotten sick.

I went out to California where he was in the hospital there. I started thinkin’ on the way about all the things that I always wanted to say to him and I never said and I always figured, well, someday we’ll sit down and we’ll talk about why it was the way it was when I was young, talk about why he felt the way he did. But the years go by and it never comes up. I guess it feels like a dangerous subject or something. But he got sick and I realized that he was gettin’ old and that if I had somethin’ to say to him, I should say it now.”



Independence Day

Well Papa go to bed now it’s getting late
Nothing we can say is gonna change anything now
I’ll be leaving in the morning from Saint Mary’s Gate
We wouldn’t change this thing even if we could somehow
‘Cause the darkness of this house has got the best of us
There’s a darkness in this town that’s got us too
But they can’t touch me now
And you can’t touch me now
They ain’t gonna do to me
What I watched them do to you

So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day
All down the line
Just say goodbye it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day this time

Now I don’t know what it always was with us
We chose the words, and yeah, we drew the lines
There was just no way this house could hold the two of us
I guess that we were just too much of the same kind

Well say goodbye it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day all boys must run away
So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
All men must make their way come Independence Day

Now the rooms are all empty down at Frankie’s joint
And the highway she’s deserted down to Breaker’s Point
There’s a lot of people leaving town now
Leaving their friends, their homes
At night they walk that dark and dusty highway all alone

Well Papa go to bed now it’s getting late
Nothing we can say can change anything now
Because there’s just different people coming down here now
And they see things in different ways
And soon everything we’ve known will just be swept away

So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
Papa now I know the things you wanted that you could not say
But won’t you just say goodbye it’s Independence Day
I swear I never meant to take those things away



Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

18 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen – Independence Day”

  1. Great song and great storytelling by Bruce. And even though as you noted “Independence Day” doesn’t refer to the Fourth of July, that tune always comes to my mind first when thinking about a song in the context of the holiday.

    I guess Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park” is another one. Or to come back to Springsteen, “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”.

    Happy Holiday to you and your folks. Most of all, be safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was thinking about that song yesterday evening! Those songs and stories Bruce has written about his relationship with his father I’ve always found interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I first heard this many moons ago and I liked it…I had it up for an album cut on Sunday then I realized…hmmmm. Today would be the day!


      1. Thats more American…mine just have the title but are Independence in a different way


      1. I just finished his autobiography “Born To Run”…the book is written like one of his songs…a lot of detail.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Excellent, I’m going to order this tonight, because I have 2 books on my Amazon cart and I was awaiting a third to purchase. I remember reading a well-respected biography of him many years ago – it had this amazing story of Bruce recalling how he met this kid at the cinema (when Bruce became famous) and the kid brought him home to meet his parents. ‘I got Bruce Springsteen here’ he said and his parents thought their son had lost his mind lol. I’ll never forget that recount.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think you will like it. Sometimes I thought…ok Bruce to the point lol but no…it is good. He goes through his life story and you see where those songs came from…

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: