Bruce Springsteen – Working On The Highway

I probably won’t be commenting today…yesterday I felt terrible and it seems I have the flu…just wanted to let you know.

This song has grown on me through the years. It was my least favorite on Born In The USA when it was released but I started to like it.

Springsteen has always been prolific…he picked 12 songs out of the 70 demos for the album and of course, this one made the cut.

This song is about the only song not released as a single off of Born In The USA. I’m being sarcastic but not really. There were 7 top ten hits off of this album. Springsteen hit the mass’s jackpot with this album. It’s not my favorite album by him by any stretch but it has a friendly radio sound.

Born In The USA was the album I listened to endlessly from 1984-1985. You heard it everywhere you turned. A friend of mine (a big Bruce fan from the old days) saw Bruce in 85 and he was depressed that Bruce was no longer a cult performer. The horse was out of the barn so to speak…The public knew and knew him well. Bruce and that bandana were all over the news and any magazine you read.

In 1985 I went on my graduation trip to Florida. The Born In The USA cassette tape was playing in my car where some buddies were riding with me on our senior trip. There are certain songs that take you back to a time. Walking On Sunshine, Glory Days, Working On The Highway, and Darlington County all connect me with that trip.

The album peaked at #1 in America, Canada, New Zealand, and The UK.

Working On The Highway

Friday night’s pay night, guys fresh out of work
Talking about the weekend, scrubbing off the dirt
Some heading home to their families, some looking to get hurt
Some going down to Stovell wearing trouble on their shirts

I work for the county out on ninety five
All day I hold a red flag and watch the traffic pass me by
In my head I keep a picture of a pretty little miss
Someday, mister, I’m gonna lead a better life than this

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway

I met her at a dance down at the union hall
She was standing with her brothers, back up against the wall
Sometimes we’d go walking down the Union tracks
One day I looked straight at her and she looked straight back
So I’m

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway, woo

I saved up my money and I put it all away
I went to see her daddy but we didn’t have much to say
“Son, can’t you see that she’s just a little girl
She don’t know nothing about this cruel, cruel world”

We lit out down to Florida, we got along all right
One day her brothers came and got her and they took me in a black-and-white
The prosecutor kept the promise that he made on that day
And the judge got mad and he put me straight away
I wake up every morning to the work bell clang
Me and the warden go swinging on the Charlotte County road gang

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway, ooo ooo ooo


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

39 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen – Working On The Highway”

      1. It’s not original – I saw somebody post that on a message board. You know my love for Bruce, but it is kind of odd. He also has a happy song about deserting your wife and family! (Hungry Heart).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yea… that line Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack…I went out for a ride and I never went back… One of my all time favorite lines!


  1. As I thought about it, I probably would also pick it as my least favorite off the album, though it’s still a decent enough little ditty. Quite retro sounding. When I do listen to that album now, I find I enjoy songs like ‘Darlington County’, ‘My hometown’ and “Bobby Jean” the most , probably because I don’t hear them all that often.
    Hope you shake off that bug and get better soon! Seems like half the population is sick right now. I know for me, this cold thing is hanging on tight…. mostly just sinus congestion and associated earache but it’s not fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope you feel better, Max. I was watching part of an interview Springsteen did with Howard Stern recently. It was great, because during the interview he just went over to the piano and played a song, commenting about it thereafter. Very laid back talk, and he was telling stories about his journey through music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Was that his Broadway show a few years back? Going through his songs and talking about them?
      Thank you! I’m just exhuasted today but I’m starting to get back into the world of the living.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Springsteen apparently did the interview with Stern at the end of October on Stern’s SirusXM show. It is currently available on HBO/HBO Max in its entirety, and I have seen some clips on the Internet as well. Welcome back to the world of the living!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. First of all I hope you’re feeling better, Max! Assuming you may not have been on your computer or phone, you may not have seen this afternoon news broke Christine McVie has passed away at age 79. Apparently, she was hospitalized, though no cause of death was provided – really sad!

    “Born in the U.S.A.” was the album that brought Bruce Springsteen on my radar screen. The singles from that record were on the radio back in Germany all the time. I would agree with you that “Working On the Highway” isn’t the strongest track, though still a pretty good song. The tune reminds me a bit of Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yea last night I found out she passed away…it really hit me hard. She was such a great songwriter… everyone knows what kind of musician she was but her songwriting was excellent.
      Working on the Highway grew on me after a while

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope you get better real soon Max. This is my least favourite from the record as well, but it’s still pretty darn good. I’ll be taking a break from blogging after tomorrow’s post comes out so I wish you a speedy recovery and your family ‘peace, love and tranquility’.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I always compared Bruce’s first two albums and possibly some of Born To Run with Dylan’s early word imagery albums…once Bruce left that behind he never went back.

        The song I like the most off of that album is Spirit in the Night…but songs like Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street? has those Dylan-like phrases.


  5. Max, sorry to hear you’re under the weather. Hope you feel better soon. Please take it easy. In a coincidence I put this album on the turntable this weekend and it struck me at the time how danged good it is. When I think of Bruce I think of his whole body of work and not by album per se, but the sheer number of mega hits on it elevates it for me. When I listened to Glory Days, look at the risk he was taking with those lyrics! Sounds like a great cassette to have playing on your class trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice review again Max. I agree, it was everywhere in 84/85. All of my friends loved it. I was and still am very much a Born to Run man but I have come around to this album, and some of the non-singles. The Born in the USA demo is great, and I love Dancing in the Dark and Cover Me big time – proud to say that. This song wasn’t a huge favourite but like you I’ve come around a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you…You know what Springsteen album I like best? This is not shared by a lot of people….his debut Greetings…. I love the word imagery…very close to Dylan’s early albums.
      But yea I like the rest up to Tunnel of Love. I knew some serious Bruce fans who did not like Born in the USA…


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