One Step Up

Album: Tunnel of Love (1987)
Charted: 13


  • This is one of several songs on Tunnel Of Love that depicts a troubled relationship where every time they take one step up, they take two steps back. Springsteen was having problems with his marriage to Julianne Phillips at the time, and they divorced in 1989.
  • Patti Scialfa, who became Springsteen's second wife, sang backup.
  • This song was released as a single only in the US.
  • Springsteen recorded the song in his home studio in Rumson, New Jersey.
  • In 2002, Country singer Kenny Chesney covered this on his No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problems album. Chesney always loved the song and thought the lyrics were very Country, but was afraid to record it because he generally dislikes covers and has a great respect for Springsteen. When he sent his version to Springsteen, Bruce sent him back a note telling Chesney he did a great job with it, bringing a lot of sensitivity to the lyrics.

Comments: 10

  • Deanrobert99 from Bc, CanadaThe honest lyrics provide an emotional backdrop I could always visualize in my mind, creating a vivid video following along. At the time of release I was 19, perhaps the best of times yet I powerfully connected to the songs deeper lyrics. Perhaps a message of warning, of experience, of truth. Beautiful song. Here I am some thirty years later... isolating thru COVID-19 and acknowledging this as my top Springsteen track. Be well.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 23rd 1988* Bruce Springsteen performed "One Step Up" at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California...
    At the time the song was at #13 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it stayed at #13 for one week and that would also be its peak position on the chart...
    It reached #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    Was track four of side two on his eighth studio album, 'Tunnel of Love', and on November 1st, 1987 the album peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, it also reached #1 in Canada, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom...
    Two other tracks from the album also made the Top 100, and both also made the Top 10, "Brilliant Disguise" at #5 and "Tunnel of Love" at #9...
    * April 23rd, 1988 was Roy Orbison's 52nd birthday, and he was at the Sports Arena that night and the Boss brought him on stage and the 15,352 concert goers sang 'Happy Birthday'; sadly less than eight months later on December 6th, 1988 Mr. Orbison would pass away...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Zachheart from Dallas, AzerbaijanThis is by far my favorite Bruce Springsteen song ever. To me it expresses a very vulnerable man in the midst of a failing marriage, he doesn't want to end. I can feel his pain when he sings this song. Some of his best writing to this day. He has such depth to the very core of his soul in this song. Thanks Bruce!
  • Alma from Laredo, TxIt seems that he really could identify with anyone who has tried to make a relationship work. All relationships take work and he knew exactly what they entail.
  • Sarah from Kennewick, WaIs Bruce going to cheat when he utters the lines "She aint lookin too married and me, well, honey, I'm PRETENDING?"
  • Kevin from Memphis , TnThis classic was also used on an episode of "Cold Case" (perfect at the end in the wrap up segment)
  • Dave from San Antonio, TxSome days it feels pointless to argue. So you just except it without anger. THANX BRUCE! He can write about LOVE and Pain without being whiny.
  • Scott from Philadelphia, PaI have always liked this song. And it seems whenever I am having a particularity bad day, I hear this song. For me, it?s not necessarily about marriage, but more about the bad karma that emanates around me. I fix one thing and two more break. Almost all of the songs on this album are kinda depressing and mood killers; but still a very good album indeed.
  • Brian from Howell, NjI'm pretty certain part of this song was used in the ABC show CIVIL WARS that starred Marguex(sp?) Hemingway that was about a law practice. In the show, her character was breaking up with her law partner. Very poignant at the time
  • Shelly from Mexia, TxI have just truly always loved the song and it hits home for me because when it came out my parents were having problems.
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