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This song was influenced by Springsteen's working class father. Bruce did not get along with his dad growing up, but came to appreciate the work he did to raise his family. Bruce never had a job besides making and playing music.
Springsteen earned a reputation for relating to the common man, and this song is a great example why. Explaining how he came to write songs dealing with his father, like this one and "Adam Raised A Cain," Springsteen told Rolling Stone: "When I went to work, I really went to work in my dad's clothes, and it became a way, I suppose, that I honored him and my parents' lives, and a part of my own young life. And then it just became who I was."