Best lyrics: Bruce Springsteen – Atlantic City

by Milos Itic on March 11, 2011

“Everything that dies, someday, comes back´╗┐”

Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night now they blew up his house too
Down on the boardwalk they’re gettin’ ready for a fight gonna see what them racket boys can do

Now there’s trouble busin’ in from outta state and the D.A. can’t get no relief
Gonna be a rumble out on the promenade and the gamblin’ commission’s hangin’ on by the skin of its teeth

Well now everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Well I got a job and tried to put my money away
But I got debts that no honest man can pay
So I drew what I had from the Central Trust
And I bought us two tickets on that Coast City bus

Now our luck may have died and our love may be cold but with you forever I’ll stay
We’re goin’ out where the sand’s turnin’ to gold so put on your stockin’s baby ’cause the night’s getting cold
And everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back

Now I been lookin’ for a job but it’s hard to find
Down here it’s just winners and losers and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well I’m tired of comin’ out on the losin’ end
So honey last night I met this guy and I’m gonna do a little favor for him
Well I guess everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your hair up nice and set up pretty
and meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Hank Williams III version of Atlantic city

Well they blew up the chicken man
in Philly last night
Now they blew up his house too
Down on the boardwalk they’re gettin’
ready for a fight,
Gonna see what them racket boys can do
Now there’s trouble busin’ in
from outta state,
and the D.A. can’t get no relief
Gonna be a rumble
out on the promenade and the
gamblin’ commission’s hangin’
on by the skin of its teeth

Well now everything dies, baby that’s a fact,
but maybe everything that dies, someday comes back
Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
and meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Well I got a job and tried to
put my money away,
but I got debts that no honest man can pay
So I drew what I had,
from the Central Trust,
and bought us two tickets on that City Coast bus

Now our luck may have died,
and our love may be cold,
but with you forever, I’ll stay
Now I been lookin’ for a job,
but it’s hard to find
Down here it’s just winners and losers
Honey, last night,
I met this guy,
and I’m gonna do a favor for him.
Everything dies, baby that’s a fact,
but maybe everything that dies
someday, comes back
Put your hair up nice and sit up pretty,
and meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Atlantic City” is a song written and recorded by rock musician Bruce Springsteen, which first appeared on Springsteen’s 1982 solo album Nebraska, considered to be one of Springsteen’s most dour albums in tone. It has since often been heard in a full band arrangement in concert.

Springsteen writes in his Greatest Hits sleeve notes, he recorded the track in his bedroom, “…..for $1050 ( the cost of the 4 track Tascam recorder), mixed through an old Gibson guitar unit to a beat box….”

The song depicts a young couple’s romantic escape to the New Jersey city Atlantic City, but also wrestles with the inevitability of death as the man in the relationship intends to take a job in organized crime once arriving in the city. The opening lines of “Atlantic City” refer to mafia violence in nearby Philadelphia, with Springsteen singing: “Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night, now they blew up his house too.” (The “chicken man” was a mafia boss named Philip Testa, who was killed by a bomb planted at his house in Philadelphia in March 1981.) The song also evokes the widespread uncertainty regarding gambling during its early years in Atlantic City and its promises to resurrect the city. This uncertainty and the man’s uncertainty about taking the less-than-savory job are echoed in the lyrics “Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact, but maybe everything that dies someday comes back.”

The song version is included on his 1995 Greatest Hits album and on the 2003 compilation The Essential Bruce Springsteen. This was one of nine songs that was featured in an episode of the television series Cold Case and played during its climactic murder scene.Although the song came out around the same time as the film of the same name, the two works are unrelated.

The song “Atlantic City” has been covered by other artists, here presented in chronological order:

  • The Reivers (1986)
  • BoDeans (1987)
  • The Band on Jericho (1993)
  • Scooter & The Streethearts (1996)
  • Counting Crows (1997)
  • Kurt Neumann of the BoDeans (1997)
  • Kim Fox (1997)
  • Rollin’ in the Hay (1998)
  • The Badlees on The Day’s Parade, Rite-Off Records Catalog# 1135-2 (1998)
  • Kurt Neumann (2000)
  • Hank Williams III (2000)
  • John Anderson (2001)
  • Common Streets (Ron Junker, Mike Gatto) on Garden State of Mind, Vol. 1 (2002)
  • Sticks and Stones on The Strife and The Times (2003)
  • Pete Yorn on Live from New Jersey (2004)
  • Ed Harcourt on Elephant’s Graveyard (2005)
  • Eddie Vedder (2005)
  • The Muckrakers (single digital release)
  • Atticus Finch
  • Automatic 7 on At Funeral Speed (2007)
  • Paul Baribeau and Ginger Alford for their “Darkness on the Edge of Your Town Tour” CD and Tour (2006, re-released 2009)
  • Rodney Parker and Fifty Peso Reward on The Lonesome Dirge (2008)
  • Levon Helm From the Album FestivaLink presents Levon Helm Band MerleFest Ramble at MerleFest (4/26/2008)
  • The Hold Steady on War Child’s Heroes compilation (2009)
  • Jamie T Emilys Heart Single (2010) [2]
  • Justin Townes Earle on the Onion’s AV Club [3]
  • Gerhard Gundermann made a german version of the song

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