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This is about an unemployed steelworker in Youngstown, Ohio. Most people think that Bruce is singing this song to a woman named Jenny ("my sweet Jenny I'm sinkin' down" etc.), but "Jenny" is the nickname given to the Blast Furnace at Youngstown steelworks - The Jeanette Blast Furnace (named after the daughter of W.A. Thomas, who was the President of Brier Hill Steel). It's common practice at steelworks to have nicknames for blast furnaces - for example, at Scunthorpe steelworks in the UK the four furnaces are known as Bess, Victoria, Anne and Mary (after 4 Queens of England/Britain). The fact that Bruce's character is singing to the furnace, rather than a person, changes the song considerably. (thanks, Alex - Newport, Scotland)
Springsteen wrote this as part of a series of songs on The Ghost Of Tom Joad where one character develops into another.
This revisits a common Springsteen theme: the division between the wealthy and the working class.
Springsteen performed this on the 1999 E-Street Band reunion tour.
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Charlie Benante of Anthrax
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