Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Album: The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle (1973)

Songfacts®:

  • This is Springsteen's musical autobiography. After touring relentlessly around the Jersey Shore, he finally signed a record deal and got some money. Springsteen called the song, "A kiss-off to everybody who counted you out, put you down, or decided you weren't good enough."
  • Springsteen considers this the best love song he ever wrote, which he would often declare before performing it. It's proof that a love song does not have to be slow or sappy.
  • This is one of Springsteen's most popular live songs, and a dependable capper. It was the last song before the encore at most of his shows from 1973-1984; in 1999 during his E Street Band reunion tour, Springsteen played 15 sold out shows at the Continental Airlines Arena (later known as the Izod centre) and he used this song to close out the final show of the stand. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kyle - Belleville, Canada
  • This became very popular in England when British TV aired a clip of Springsteen performing this at a concert in Phoenix in 1978.
  • The live film clip of this is the closest thing Springsteen had to a music video until he started making them in 1984, starting with "Dancing In The Dark."
  • The first time Springsteen performed this song was at a concert at Joe's Place in Boston on January 5, 1974.
  • This was one of the first songs to showcase Clarence Clemons on sax. With his bright suits and imposing size, he quickly became the most popular member of the E Street Band.
  • After appearing on the covers of Time and Newsweek in October 1975, Springsteen sometimes changed the words to "Tell your papa I ain't no freak, 'cause I got my picture on the cover of Time and Newsweek" when he performed it live.
  • The audience always goes crazy when Springsteen sings the line: "The record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance." He got a $25,000 advance from Columbia Records when he signed his first record deal, proving to his father and others who doubted him that he did have a real job.
  • Springsteen never liked his nickname "The Boss," and sometimes sang: "You can call me Lieutenant, Rosie, but don't ever call me Boss."
  • Springsteen wrote this to be a live show-stopper. He was inspired by the soul revues in the '60s where the artists would pour all their energy into their final song, and just when it seemed to be over, keep playing. He knew his audience would remember this when he played it.
  • According to Diane Lozito, who was Springsteen's girlfriend around the time he was writing this song, he got the title from the name of her grandmother, Rose ("Rose Lozito" >> "Rosalita").
  • This was used on the final episode of The Office. It plays while Michael and Dwight are dancing at Dwight and Angela's wedding reception.

Comments: 27

  • Carol Lozito from CaHi,

    Just as my sister Diane said that song was about her. So is SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT. She is CRAZY JANEY because Bruce said nothing rhymed with Diane.

    Anyway, they were a wild pair!

    Carol Lisa Lozito,
    "Painter for the Endangered Species" tm
  • Rosalita from California UsaBruce Springsteen and I are the same age. My name is Rosalita. It is so unusual, especially when he wrote the song. I have always wondered why he picked the name. My father named me for the song "Rosalita" a 1942 song performed by Al Dexter and His Troopers.
    Rosalita Young Moog
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyAs stated above, on January 5th 1974, Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band appeared in concert at Joe's Place in Boston, Massachusetts...
    The fourteenth of the fifteen songs in his set list that night was "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"...
    And as of today {Jan. 5th, 2016} the last time Bruce has done it live was on February 26th, 2014 at the Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 27th 1979, Bruce Springsteen's first video, "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)", had its world premiere on the United Kingdom’s BBC-TV program 'The Old Grey Whistle Test'...
    The video was a live performance that was taped on July 8th, 1978 at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ during the 'Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour'...
    Personal note: Four months after the video was taped, on November 14th, 1978, he played in my hometown of Utica, NY; I missed the show because my 7-year-old son was sick.
  • Katie from Wayne, PaI too thought Rosalita was named for 'Rosa 'a Lima', namesake of his old parish! Yay Rich from Ky, the other original 'Bruce Freak' from Freehold I knew always shut me down on this possibility. Bruce Rocks, always will(haha)
  • Nate from New York, NyThis song kicks all asses.
  • Maranda from New Castle, DeI love this song--and I couldn't help but notice some of his lyrics may have been inspired by my favorite poet Gwendolyn Brooks. The lines about skipping school and playing pool are reminiscent of Brooks' poem "The Pool Players. Seven at the Golden Shovel." Springsteen is a great musician and Brooks is a great poet, so I enjoyed the riff.
  • Rich from Winchester, KyOne of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs. Lived in Freehold NJ and always though that the song was a play on words. The story was Bruce had trouble at the local Catholic school St Rose of Lima and this was his way of letting the local church and school he made it. Again, just my interpretation.
  • Eddie from Middletown, NjWe all know it's a love song about him and a girl, but a little background info. My mom's good friend's older sister dated Bruce back when he was trying to get his music career started. He was your typical tough guy band member, so her parents didn't like him too much. It makes me wonder if it was the basis for this song...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn the above Song Fact they said that Bruce didn't like the 'Boss' tag. I once read that he got called this because when he was in his early band he was the one to got most the their gigs booked and he also made sure that the bands got paid. Any truth to this???
  • Caetano from New York, NyIt's the story of a young man growing up and falling in love. He is facing the challenges of starting his own life and taking a chance. He's begging to take a chance and he's asking for her to take that chance with him "together were gonna go out tonight and make that highway run." This story is aimed at the 20 something year old, but I think that the line "I'm comin' to lend a hand
    I'm comin' to liberate you, confiscate you, I want to be your man" applies to all ages. It is a song that transcends age, gender and time, and ultimately it is a great love song that captures all the thrill, fear, risk and courage that falling in love takes.

  • John from Columbus, Ohthis song is a ton of fun to sing.
  • Bruce from Johnstown, PaNot the best song but it is very likeable
  • Goober from Hell, NySpringstein is the best Jew ever
  • Madison from Norway, MeJust wanted to put this out there: Not everyone who comes from Jersey likes the Jersey Shore (ugh--my niece got e-coli twice from swimming in that petrie dish of pestilence), Bon Jovi, Springsteen or the Sopranos....and I hate Rosalita!!!
  • George from Baltimore, MdThis was THE first Springsteen song I ever heard, back when I was a freshman in college in Philly in the fall of 1974. I had never heard of Bruce Springsteen before that. After Rosalita, I was hooked to this day, and now my 17-year old son is a huge Springsteen fan.
  • Chad from Eagan, MnCertainly Bruce's best fast, happy song. His best slow, sadder song is "The River". Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) has so much energy and bravado. It keeps pushing harder and harder, and when you think it's dying out, it comes back faster than ever. It's a song about getting your girl out of the grasp of her controlling parents and having some fun.

    I especially love that verse starting with "and my tires were slashed, and I almost crashed but the lord had mercy". Theres just so much power and happiness in that song, especially in that part.
  • Garrett from Nashville, TnBy far, his greatest song.
  • Ace from Ceasd, MtI agree with Pat. Bruce matured alot in his older stuff but his original music was amazing and kicked ass. It was amazing rock and roll and the pinnacle of music. I find this song alot like Blinded By the Light, but better!
  • Deo from Annandale, VaThe BEST Bruce song EVER!!! The only song that is as great as it is Jungleland.
  • Ben from Antwerpen, BelgiumThe greatest Rock and Roll song ever. And one of the best songs of Bruce Springsteen. It is just impossible to stand still when this song is playing. And I play it a lot.
  • Deo from Annandale, VaI love this song soooooo much. It's one of my favorite Bruce songs.
  • Scott from Chicago, Ilthis song is a pure homage to rock and roll.....
    and being discovered....and realizing you can make a living doing it....
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScYeah... great song!
  • Joe from Cleveland, OhBest song ever!!!!!!!
  • Tyler from Hamilton, CanadaSpringsteen calls this " The greatest love song I ever wrote"
  • Pat from Stony Brook, NyI think this is Springsteen's best song. It's underrated and overshadowed by songs from his later albums that made him a star. Just an opinion...
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Chad Channing (Nirvana, Before Cars)Songwriter Interviews

Chad tells tales from his time as drummer for Nirvana, and talks about his group Before Cars.

QueenFact or Fiction

Scaramouch, a hoople and a superhero soundtrack - see if you can spot the real Queen stories.

Boz ScaggsSongwriter Interviews

The "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" singer makes a habit of playing with the best in the business.

MetallicaFact or Fiction

Beef with Bon Jovi? An unfortunate Spandex period? See if you can spot the true stories in this Metallica version of Fact or Fiction.

Dan ReedSongwriter Interviews

Dan cracked the Top 40 with "Ritual," then went to India and spent 2 hours with the Dalai Lama.

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")Song Writing

Nick made some of the biggest videos on MTV, including "The Final Countdown," "Heaven" and "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)."