Glory Days

Album: Born In The U.S.A. (1984)
Charted: 17 5
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  • In this song, Springsteen sings about a chance encounter with an old friend who was a star baseball player in high school. This fellow is Joe DePugh, and the encounter really did happen.

    Springsteen and DePugh were classmates at St. Rose of Lima School in Freehold, New Jersey and played baseball together in the Babe Ruth League (ages 13-15). They were good friends, but drifted apart as Springsteen pursued music while DePugh took a shot at sports (he tried out for the Los Angeles Dodgers). In the summer of 1973, DePugh was walking in to a bar called the Headliner in Neptune, New Jersey while Springsteen was walking out. Bruce went back in, where he and his old friend talked about the good old days until the bar closed. When "Glory Days" was released, DePugh was living in Vermont, where word got out that he was the subject of the song. Springsteen confirmed the story at his 30th high school reunion in 1997, but DePugh wasn't there; they finally met up again in 2005 when they met for lunch and once again relived their glory days. (Freehold historian Kevin Coyne sleuthed out this story, which was published in the New York Times).
  • This is one of Springsteen's favorites. He almost always plays it at the impromptu bar gigs he is famous for on the Jersey Shore.

    In concert, Springsteen often extends this to over 10 minutes. Perhaps the most compact version he ever played was at halftime of the 2009 Super Bowl, when he squeezed four songs into a 12-minute set.
  • Springsteen: "The first verse actually happened, the second verse mostly happened, the third verse, of course, is happening now."
  • Originally, this contained a fourth verse which mentioned Springsteen's father working on the Ford assembly line.
  • Springsteen performed this June 25, 1993 on the last David Letterman Show on NBC. Letterman is a huge fan but had never had Springsteen on. Bruce did go on the show a few more times after it moved to CBS.
  • This was one of seven US Top 10 hits on Born In The U.S.A. The band first recorded it in 1982, but it was not released until the album came out.
  • The video was directed by John Sayles, who also did Springsteen's promos for "Born In The U.S.A." and "I'm On Fire." In the video, Springsteen plays a cross between the character telling the story and the guy he's singing about.

    The full version of the video starts with Springsteen working construction (in real life he never had a job outside of music). In his reverie, he recalls his days playing baseball. Amid the scenes where the E Street Band is playing the song in a bar (Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey), we see him reminiscing with his glove and trophies from the glory days. At the end of the video Springsteen is on the field pitching to his son until his wife comes by in a station wagon to pick them up. It's pretty clear that Springsteen was never much of a pitcher - his form is terrible. He was a right fielder when he played.
  • Julianne Phillips, who was Springsteen's wife at the time, plays that role in the video, appearing in just one shot where she comes to get her boys. Patti Scialfa, who became the next Mrs. Springsteen in 1991, had joined the E Street Band in 1984 and gets a lot more face time in the clip.
  • On the day Springsteen released his album The Rising, he played a concert on The Today Show. This was the only song he played that was not on the new album.
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Comments: 21

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyAs already stated Bruce performed "Glory Days" on David Letterman's final NBC-TV show on June 25th, 1993; and exactly eight years earlier on June 25th, 1985 it was at #17 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
    It eventually would peaked at #5 (for 1 week) on July 28th, 1985 (it would spent 5 weeks on the Top 10).
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxTyler, it wasn't the series finale of 'Spin City,' but it WAS played as a farewell fanfare for Fox (alliteration police!), who was leaving because of his Parkinson's.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhVery few Super Bowl halftime shows are entertaining. Bruce Springsteen's was excellent; loved that they included this song as well as 10th Avenue Freeze Out, another of my favorites by the Boss. While this tune could be about losers, I also think it's trying to tell you to enjoy those glory days while you're in them, because often they go by 'in the wink of a young girl's eye'. This song is something many people can relate to.
  • Ryan from Anahola, HiThis is my favorite Bruce Springsteen song.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesMy favorite memory of this involves an alleged "Lite Rock" station I used to listen to. 6:30, 7:30 in the morning I would turn it on and more often than not old Bruce would be shouting at the top of his lungs.
  • Andy from B'ham, AlBruce Springsteen & Robert Palmer sound almost identical in their tenor voices. Compare, for instnace, this one w/ "Addicted to Love". Don't they sound like the same voice to y'all? I think that Palmer & Springsteen ought to buddy up w/ Bob Seger. That would rock!
  • Mike from Long Island, NyRight Steve from Fenton. It's fastball, nobody calls it a speedball plus no offense Bruce but in the video you throw like a girl. Though,still I love Bruce and this song.
  • Jason from Tampa, FlThe last verse tells the story. He's warning people against being stuck in the past obsessing over their better, younger days. It could be compared positively with Randy Newman's "I'm Dead."

  • Michael from San Diego, CaLoved the video!

    "Who did you pitch against?"
    "At San Diego today"
    "Did you win?"
    "Nettles got me, bottom of the 9th!"
  • Walt from Hartford, CtThe book of the same name, Glory Days: Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s was published in 1987.

    5 Versions of this book were published!

    The TRUE First Edition, published by Pantheon Books of New York is available at Allagash Books!

    A true collectors item for fans of the Boss!

    Allagash Books: http://ebay.stores.com/Allagash-Books

    Item number: 160168543191
  • Kyle from Belleville, CanadaBruce actually is a HUGE ball fan. He played an elite level of ball in his youth, during his 1984 shows on the Born In the Usa tour, Bruce would often tell a story about playing ball during this song. The speed ball is just another way of saying fast ball.
  • Steve from Fenton, MoI like a lot of Bruce's songs, but I can tell he doesn't know much about baseball. It's a fastball, Bruce, not a speedball.
  • Rob from Evergreen Park, IlEver notice that every time Bruce Springsteen talks to someone they "have a few drinks?" Even if they're just LEAVING the bar, he'll push them back in for a few more.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThis song rocks. Todd, I have yet to go through High School, but I believe this isn't about losers. Just people thinking about better times, their glory days. They aren't necissarily losers, in the music video Springsteen is with a kid.
  • Ann from Fairway, KsLove this song because like so many of Springsteen's tunes, he so eloquently writes about things you can identify with. Maybe you weren't "it" in high school, but everybody had their "glory days." And nobody thinks those days are nearly as interesting or cool as you remember them being. My dad had this album on cassette tape when I was growing up & we all listened to it so much we wore it out. We went to his concert in 1999 & in 2002--hands down the best live act I've ever seen.
  • Joey from New YorkThe baseball scenes from the video were shot at Miller Stadium in West New York, NJ. (I grew up about a block and a half away). It is as run down as it looks in the video.
  • Todd from Sacramento, CaFirst of all, I love this song. However, I think Bruce is such a lyrical genius that people get lost in his rhetoric by his music. I have concluded that this song is about losers in life. I mean, think about it. The first person he meets up with is a washed-up high school pitcher that obviously hangs out in bars. I have been in bars MANY times (lol) and I have heard losers talking about how they got burned by their varsity coach and if they didn't, they would be in the majors. Pathetic.
    Then he goes on to talk about a women that turned all the heads in high school. To me, that means that her best days are past her. She is divorced with kids and "Bobby" is no where in the picture. I'm not saying that being divorced makes you a loser, but obviously high school were the "glory days" for this road-weary woman.
    Finally, he goes on to talk about how is going to the local bar to get blasted, just so he can recapture a little of the glory. These people are losers.
    I guess if you actually just examine the title "Glory Days", you can get the idea that this period of the best times of someone's life was high school. For some, it was high school, but the only ones that I have seen that loved high school so much have ended up as losers. I hated high school and life was much better after it. I hope I haven't offended anyone.
  • Michael from Cincinnati, OhSpent three weeks of the summer of '85 at the Jersey Shore. Dad took me up to see the Yankees play one night. Just me and my friends running around, having fun, being goofy before we all grew up and grew apart. You couldn't walk to the ice cream shop without hearing this song blaring off someone's radio or tape deck. The man, the place, and the song seemed perfect for each other.

    After that lovely vacation, Dad lost his job, Mom went to work, I hit puberty, and nothing's ever been the same.
  • Kyle from Belleville, CanadaThe video of the Today show is good, if you can find it download it.
  • Tyler from Hamilton, CanadaFeatured in the series finale of the Michael J. Fox sit-com " Spin City".

    Fox is a huge Springsteen fan and jammed with him at a benefit for Parkinson's disease.
  • Will from Chicago, IlGlory Days video was shot at a bar known as Maxwell's on Washington Street in Hoboken, New Jersey.
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