This was the first single from Springsteen's album Magic, which was his first with the E Street Band in five years. The song deals with the search for energy and passion in life - what Springsteen refers to as "Soul." It's a common Springsteen theme, especially at his concerts where he implores the crowd to live in the moment. The line, "Is there anybody out there" is something he's said at live shows to get a response from the crowd.
This song references "Mystery Train," a hit for Elvis Presley, who Springsteen looks up to as an artist.
Suggestion credit: Niall - Co.Kildare, Ireland
Springsteen (from Rolling Stone magazine, November 1, 2007): "It's an end-of-the-world scenario - he's seeing the apocalypse. All communications are down. That's my business, that's what it's all about - trying to connect to you. It comes down to trying to make people happy, feel less lonely, but also being a conduit for a dialogue about the events of the day, the issues that impact people's lives, personal and social and political and religious. That's how I always saw the job of our band."
This won the awards for Best Rock Song and Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance at the Grammys in 2008. The next year, he won the same award for "Girls in Their Summer Clothes."
Bill from Bloomington, IndianaThe opening arpeggiated riff in "Radio Nowhere" sounds quite similar to the opening riff of The Police's similarly-themed song, "Message in a Bottle." Andy Summers' guitar in the Police song is much more treble-y and was likely played through chorus-like pedal. Bruce's guitar has the grungy quality of the riff from Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper." But, I wonder if, in writing a song about someone in a position of isolation reaching out for human connection, Bruce wasn't giving a conscious (and maybe tongue-in-cheek) nod to the Police song?
Andy from Glen Burnie, Mdjaybee--transpose the chords up a whole step...or try a capo on the 2nd fret...and it just MIGHT be about sattellite radio...not everything every writer writes is metaphorical...
Jaybee from Rochester, NyIt's not about satellite radio- it's about the homogenization of American (world?) culture, specifically music- something his music and work have always been against. One thing for sure, you can't take many of his songs too literally for risk of missing the point...
Jaybee from Rochester, NyChords: Em, C, G, G add B, Em..pretty standard in about a million songs! "mystery train" is the name of a book written by (I forgot at the moment..sorry) about the roots and development of rock and roll. I read it about 20 years ago and I think it refers to Springsteen...or at least seems to. It's also an old blues song covered by the likes of Elvis and Neil Young, among 1000 or so others
Anthony from North Cape May, NjIt seems like this song is about the fact that not many people listen to regular radio anymore, more so Mp3s and Cds
Niall from Co.kildare, -I'll never understand the Tommy Tutone controversy. This song, and Jenny, have one of the simplest chord progressions ever heard and it's one that's been used in countless tracks over the years...
Kevin from Albany, OrTo me it sounds like a farewell to analog radio. "But all I heard was a drone Bouncing off a satellite" "I was spinninround a dead dial"
Gene from San Diego, CaI love the orchestration in this song. I heard it on my Bose stereo I got for Christmas and was enthralled by how well is was created. I wonder how many takes it took to actually complete this song...
Kevin from Memphis , TnNow THIS is Bruce and the band at their best!!! i just wanna hear some rhythm, heck yes!!!!!
Max from Laconia, NhIt seems a little louder than previous Springsteen hits. I think its because Bruce is loosing his hearing as he gets older... great song, though. i love it.
Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThis song was used at the end of this year's world series. Or should I say last years. Well, the time the Red Sox won again.
Matt from New York, NyHas a similar chord progression to "867-5309/Jenny" by Tommy Tutone. However, I doubt it's anything more than a strange coincidence.