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“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.
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.
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. […]
Live performance history
“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.
“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.
“Glory Days” was performed on June 14, 2009, at the Bonnaroo Music Festival with Phish. […]