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Tom Joad is a character in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes Of Wrath. Near the end of the story, Tom makes his famous "I'll be there" speech, which is also noted in the lyrics. The idea is that the ghost of Tom Joad, the spirit of working together as a community, will prevail in times of great injustice (police brutality, economic corruption, etc.).
The Ghost Of Tom Joad is an acoustic album. Springsteen released it with very little publicity.
Springsteen wrote this as a rock song to complete the 1995 Greatest Hits album. Not liking the result, he set it aside and used it on his acoustic album a few months later.
The album has a focus on storytelling. The music is minimal and simply supports the stories.
Springsteen performed this for the first time at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit concert in 1995.
On the 1999 E-Street Band reunion tour, Springsteen usually played this about 2 hours into the show. Many fans took a bathroom break or got a beer.
Springsteen performed this at the Grammy Awards in 1997.
Rage Against The Machine recorded this on their 2000 album Renegades.
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One of the most successful songwriters in the business, Desmond co-wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Livin' On A Prayer."
Don breaks down "Hotel California" and other songs he wrote as a member of the Eagles. Now we know where the "warm smell of colitas" came from.