57 Channels (And Nothin' On)

Album: Human Touch (1992)
Charted: 32 68


  • Springsteen used the image of the cable channels to imply that material goods and luxury items do not buy happiness. It came out at a time when cable companies were offering a seemingly endless choice of channels.
  • The song ends with the narrator shooting the TV set with a .44 Magnum.
  • Elvis is mentioned in the lyrics. In 1976, Springsteen was on tour in Memphis when he decided to visit Graceland. Seeing a light on in the mansion, Bruce hoped a fence and made a break for the front door. He was caught by security, who either didn't believe he was Bruce Springsteen or simply weren't impressed. Bruce had said that watching Elvis perform on The Ed Sullivan Show was a big moment for him, and that he's not sure what he would have said to Elvis if he did encounter him that night.

Comments: 6

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 9th 1992, Bruce Springsteen performed* "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" on the NBC-TV program 'Saturday Night Live'; it also marked his network television debut...
    One month later on June 14th "57 Channels" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at #78; then for the next three weeks it was at #68 and that was also its peak position the Top 100, it spent a total of 6 weeks on the chart...
    At the time of his 'SNL' appearance he had two albums on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart; "Human Touch" at #12 and "Lucky Town" was at #23...
    * He also performed "Lucky Town" and "Living Proof"; Tom Hanks was the 'SNL' guest host that night.
  • Crazyc63312 from Pittsburgh, PaThis song BEATS ANY OTHER SONG ON THE ALBUM! (It's the only song from the album ive headrd! LOL!!)
  • Bill from Martinsville, NjAmazing! 16 years later and I have 570 channels and there is STILL nothing on!
  • Mark from Worcester, MiBruce sometimes tells the story from stage of trying to visit Elvis. He drops the mention that "it was a stupid idea cuz I hate it when people do that at my house!" Bruce is funny from stage. A raconteur in his own right. A total ham.
  • Jamie from Limerick, IrelandI was recently at a enda kenney(leader of fine gael) and out of nowhere he quoted this song
  • Spencer from Norristown, Paone of my favorite songs on the Human Touch album. I really seem to enjoy bass heavy songs that the boss has been known to record.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat WorldSongwriter Interviews

Jim talks about the impact of "The Middle" and uses a tree metaphor to describe his songwriting philosophy.

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In Songs

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In SongsSong Writing

Songs where something goes horribly wrong (literally or metaphorically), and help is needed right away.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.

La La Brooks of The Crystals

La La Brooks of The CrystalsSong Writing

The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."

TV Theme Songs

TV Theme SongsFact or Fiction

Was a Beatles song a TV theme? And who came up with those Fresh Prince and Sopranos songs?

Randy Newman

Randy NewmanSongwriting Legends In Their Own Words

Newman makes it look easy these days, but in this 1974 interview, he reveals the paranoia and pressures that made him yearn for his old 9-5 job.