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Glory Days (Bruce Springsteen song)

"Glory Days" is a song written and performed by American rock singer Bruce Springsteen. In 1985, it became the fifth single released from his 1984 album Born in the U.S.A.

"Glory Days"
Single by Bruce Springsteen
from the album Born in the U.S.A.
B-side"Stand on It"
ReleasedMay 31, 1985
Format7" single
RecordedMay 5, 1982
StudioThe Power Station
Length4:15 (album version)
5:31 (alternate mix)
3:49 single version
Songwriter(s)Bruce Springsteen
Producer(s)Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt
Bruce Springsteen singles chronology
"I'm on Fire"
"Glory Days"
"I'm Goin' Down"
Born in the U.S.A. track listing
Music video
"Glory Days" on YouTube


The song is a seriocomic tale of a man who now ruefully looks back on his so-called "glory days" and those of people he knew during high school. The lyrics to the first verse are autobiographical, being a recount of an encounter Springsteen had with former Little League baseball teammate Joe DePugh in the summer of 1973.[1]

The music is jocular, consisting of what Springsteen biographer Dave Marsh called "rinky-dink organ, honky-tonk piano, and garage-band guitar kicked along by an explosive tom-tom pattern."

The single peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles charts in the summer of 1985. It was the fifth of a record-tying seven Top 10 hit singles to be released from Born in the U.S.A.

Missing verseEdit

An alternate mix of the song includes an extra verse about the narrator's father, who worked at the Ford auto plant in Metuchen, New Jersey, for twenty years and who now spends most of his time at the American Legion Hall, thinking about how he "ain't never had glory days."[2] However, after Springsteen realized that this verse did not fit with the song's storyline, it was cut out.

Music videoEdit

The music video for the song was shot in late May 1985 in various locations in New Jersey, and was directed by filmmaker John Sayles, the third video he had done for the album. It featured a narrative story of Springsteen, playing the protagonist in the song, talking to his young son and pitching to a wooden backstop against an imaginary lineup (he eventually lost the game to Graig Nettles). The baseball field scene was shot at Miller Park Stadium in West New York, NJ. The field is inside a city block surrounded mostly by homes. Intercut with these were scenes of Springsteen and the E Street Band lip-synching the song in a bar. The bar performance scenes were filmed at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ.[3]

Although he had left the band more than two years earlier, Steven Van Zandt was invited back to perform in this video, but the two new members of the band, Nils Lofgren and Patti Scialfa, who had not been on the record at all, were also featured. Springsteen's then-wife Julianne Phillips made a cameo appearance at the baseball field at the end.

The video began airing on MTV in mid-June 1985 and went into heavy rotation. The music video received two MTV Video Music Awards nominations, Best Male Video and Best Overall Performance at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.

Clips of Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden striking out a couple of batters in real games appear in the video.

Track listingEdit

  1. "Glory Days" – 4:15
  2. "Stand On It" – 2:30

The B-side of the single, "Stand On It", was a rocker occasionally brought out for encores at concerts. It was a late 1980s hit for country singer Mel McDaniel, and was also featured in the 1986 film Ruthless People and its accompanying soundtrack album.

Live performance historyEdit

"Glory Days" became a mainstay of the first set on the 1984–1985 Born in the U.S.A. Tour (prefaced by remarks in which Springsteen declared, "I hated high school!"), then went into the encores for the 1988 Tunnel of Love Express and 1992–1993 "Other Band" Tour, in the latter case serving as the "band introductions" song. It was given a rest for the 1999–2000 Reunion Tour, but then came back to appear in about half the shows on the 2002–2003 Rising Tour. Furthermore, Springsteen often plays it in informal bar appearances, since it is one of his simpler songs for other musicians to pick up and play to.

In almost all instances, performances of "Glory Days" are accompanied by considerable Springsteen/E Street Band stage shtick, vamping on the outro, continuing the song on with false endings, everyone but the drummer and keyboard players coming out to stage front in a line, and so forth. An example of the elongated concert "Glory Days" was on a highly promoted July 30, 2002, appearance on The Today Show broadcasting from Asbury Park, New Jersey. Later in The Rising Tour, the song was further extended by incorporating a long boogie-woogie organ solo from Danny Federici. Steven Van Zandt makes his vocals shine on this song, most recently on Springsteen's Magic Tour.

Springsteen made a surprise appearance on Late Night with David Letterman on June 25, 1993, and played "Glory Days"; Springsteen was the final guest on Letterman's last Late Night show on NBC. In his introduction to Springsteen's appearance, Letterman noted how Springsteen was the one performer he wished he had booked as a guest during his Late Night run, and that he was thankful that he was able to finally have Springsteen perform on that final show.[citation needed]

"Glory Days" was performed at the Super Bowl XLIII half-time show with minor lyric changes appropriate to the occasion (football player instead of baseball player, "Hail Mary" instead of "speedball"). During the song, Springsteen told Van Zandt that they were going over their allowed 12 minutes, and Van Zandt responded that they should keep playing anyway.[citation needed]

"Glory Days" was performed on June 14, 2009, at the Bonnaroo Music Festival with Phish.[4]

Chart performanceEdit

Country Peak
Australia (ARIA) 29
Canada (RPM) 17
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 16
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 34
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 17
US Billboard Hot 100 5

In popular cultureEdit


  • The song was covered by the cast of Glee in the Season 3 episode "Goodbye".


This song has been the official victory song for the New Jersey Devils. The song was played after every Devils home win at both the then-Meadowlands Arena and Prudential Center.


  1. ^ Coyne, Kevin. "Story Behind the Glory". Cape Cod Times, published July 10, 2011. Page C8.
  2. ^ Audio of the demo with the missing verse about his father on YouTube
  3. ^ "The Hoboken Sound: An Oral History of Maxwell's". Vulture. July 22, 2013.
  4. ^ "Phish Jams With Springsteen On Bonnaroo's Closing Night". Billboard. June 15, 2009.

External linksEdit