Album: Letter To You (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • This soaring rock song is a track from The Letter to You, Bruce Springsteen's first album with the E Street Band in six years. He told Rolling Stone he'd felt unable to write specifically for his backing band until the 2018 death of George Thiess, the lead singer of his teenage group, The Castiles. Springsteen's subsequent reflections on mortality spurred him to write several of the record's tracks, including this rousing number.
  • The respective deaths of E Street Band members Danny Federici from melanoma in 2008 and Clarence Clemons from a stroke in 2011 partly inspired this song. "'Ghosts' is about the beauty and joy of being in a band and the pain of losing one another to illness and time," said Springsteen.
  • The song finds Springsteen reflecting on how the memory of his departed loved ones leaves him feeling invigorated as well as sad.

    It's your ghost moving through the night
    Your spirit filled with light
    I need, need you by my side
    Your love and I'm alive


    Springsteen explained to Rolling Stone that the loss of Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons echoes every day in his life. "I still don't believe it," he said. "I'm like, 'I'm not gonna see Clarence again? That doesn't sound quite possible!' I live with the dead every day at this point in my life. Whether it's my father or Clarence or Danny, all those people sort of walk alongside you. Their spirit, their energy, their echo continues to resonate in the physical world. A beautiful part of living is what we're left by the dead."
  • Jake Clemons' saxophone enters at the song's end. Jake has been the saxophonist for the E Street Band since 2010, following the death of his uncle, Clarence Clemons.
  • Springsteen played this song and "I'll See You In My Dreams" on the December 12, 2020 episode of Saturday Night Live. The E Street Band joined the Boss, marking their first public performance together in nearly four years.

Comments: 1

  • Paul Turner from LondonI was wondering who Mr Springsteen was refering too in the lyric to ghosts in particular the reference to buckskin coat and spurs. I just wondered who it was in particular. Thanks.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Black Sabbath

Black SabbathFact or Fiction

Dwarfs on stage with an oversize Stonehenge set? Dabbling in Satanism? Find out which Spinal Tap-moments were true for Black Sabbath.

Motley Crue

Motley CrueFact or Fiction

Was Dr. Feelgood a dentist? Did the "Crüecifixion" really happen?

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?Song Writing

Katy Perry mentions McDonald's, Beyoncé calls out Red Lobster, and Supertramp shouts out Taco Bell - we found the 10 restaurants most often mentioned in songs.

Timothy B. Schmit

Timothy B. SchmitSongwriter Interviews

The longtime Eagle talks about soaring back to his solo career, and what he learned about songwriting in the group.

Artis the Spoonman

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?

Oliver Leiber

Oliver LeiberSongwriter Interviews

Long before she was judging contestants on American Idol, Oliver was producing Paula Abdul. Here's how he helped turn this unknown choreographer into a star.