Streets Of Philadelphia

Album: Philadelphia Soundtrack (1993)
Charted: 2 9


  • Director Jonathan Demme used this to open his movie Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks as a lawyer dying of AIDS. Demme met Springsteen in 1985 on the video shoot for "Sun City," but had not seen him since. Demme first cut the title sequence of Philadelphia to "Southern Man" and asked Neil Young to write a song like it for the movie. Young gave him "Philadelphia," which he used at the end of the film. Still needing a song for the open, he called Springsteen.
  • Demme asked Springsteen for a rock song to open his movie. Bruce started writing it based on lyrics he had previously written about the death of one of his friends, but it did not work over a rock beat. Springsteen sent what he came up with to Demme, considering it an unfinished demo. Demme loved it and felt it was perfect for his movie just as it was.
  • Springsteen recorded this in his home studio in New Jersey, where he did the entire Nebraska album.
  • This was the first of five previously unreleased songs included on Springsteen's 1995 Greatest Hits album.
  • In the UK, this is Springsteen's highest-charting hit.
  • This won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1994, beating out Neil Young's "Philadelphia," which was also written for the movie. Tom Hanks won his first Best Actor Oscar for his role in the movie.
  • Demme wanted people not familiar with AIDS issues to see his film. He felt Springsteen and Young would bring an audience that would not ordinarily see a movie about a gay man dying of AIDS. The movie and the song did a great deal to increase AIDS awareness and take some of the stigma off the disease.
  • This won Grammys for Song of the Year, Best Rock Song, Best Male Vocal, and Best Song Written For a Motion Picture or Television. Springsteen opened the show in 1995 performing this.
  • This was the first song Springsteen wrote specifically for a movie. He gave Paul Schrader "Light Of Day" for the 1987 movie, but did not write it specifically for him.
  • Demme directed Springsteen's video for "Murder Incorporated" in 1995.
  • At the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen took the stage and discussed this song. Springsteen explained that Jonathan Demme, who died a few days before the festival, sent him the opening sequence of the film to give him a visual. "Eventually, I came up with that tiny little beat and I figured it wasn't what he wanted, but I sent it to him anyway," Springsteen said.

    Tom Hanks added: "If you ever want to have a great moment in a motion picture, walk out a door and make sure they just put up a Bruce Springsteen song."

Comments: 17

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1994 {March 27th} "Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen peaked at #2* {for 1 week} on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    As noted above, "Streets of Philadelphia" was his highest charted record in the United Kingdom, between 1975 and 2014 he had thirty records on the UK Singles chart, with four making the Top 10...
    Besides "Streets of Philadelphia", his three other Top 10 records were "Dancing In The Dark" {#4 for 2 weeks in 1985}, "Born In The U.S.A. b/w "I'm On Fire" {#5 for 1 week in 1985}, and "My Hometown" {#9 for 1 week in 1985}...
    Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen will celebrate his 70th birthday in six months on September 23rd, 2019...
    * The week "Streets of Philadelphia" peaked at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Doop" by Doop..
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer:
    Director Jonathan Demme, who won the 'Best Director' Academy Award for 'The Silence of the Lambs', died Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 at the age of 73...
    In a 46-year career in Hollywood, Demme is best known for directing 1991’s 'The Silence of the Lambs' and 1993's 'Philadelphia'. His most recent feature was 2015's "Ricki and the Flash," which starred Meryl Streep as an aging rock star...
    He also directed Bruce's official video of "Streets of Philadelphia".
    May he R.I.P.
  • Heidi from Everett, MaI really love the lyrics to "The Streets of Philadelphia". I can relate to the song and imagine I am the one walking down that street. I can relate to the emotion of the song. I loved the movie Philadelphia as well. The way I was raised, being gay is wrong but the movie helped me see Tom Hanks' and Antonio Banderas' as two people who loved each other and just happened to be of the same sex. It was tasteful without being in your face with the gay lifestyle. I love the movie and the music. But I like the most that the characters were so relateable without the stereotype of gay people. I have friends that have died from AIDS and I think of them whenever I see this movie.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrThis song is not to be confused with Stanley Clarke's "The Streets Of Philadelphia", which was written in 1974, and recorded and released in 1977. Same title, just different lyrics, and a different melody.
  • Billy J from San Antonio, TxI had a boss that had aids, I went to see Philadelphia and as soon as the movie started tears rolled the entire movie.that was my mourning for my boss.He died about a year and a half later.
  • Bruce from Johnstown, PaHaunting and sad but good
  • Dora from Doha, QatarI have a friend who is from Philadelphia and I slways think of him when I hear this song. I love it!
  • Bertrand from Paris, FranceJonathan Demme's film [i]Philadelphia[i] was the first big budget, mainstream motion picture to deal directly with the AIDS epidemic. Bruce Springsteen's "Streets Of Philadelphia" is the perfect theme for the film. Springsteen creates an atmosphere of darkness and loneliness that still manages to maintain a sense of dignity as well. The song won a much deserved Academy Award for Best Song from a Motion Picture.

  • Megan from Winnipeg, CanadaThe lyrics are...haunting.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrYou know what I believe? I believe that both Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young should have won Oscars together! Since both of their songs are so sweet and so beautiful, and they were both written for the same movie, "Philadelphia"!
  • Xavier from West Lafayette, InWhen I lived in Philly, this was the song i had stuck in my head for what seemed like years after my first girlfriend broke up with me.
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaA great song, but the Neil Young song, 'Philadelphia' just cuts to the bone. Should have won the oscar.
  • Jimoh from The Bronx Ny, NyUnusually for a music video, Springsteen did not lip synch to the backing track on it. Rather, with the aid of a hidden microphone, he is actually singing the lyrics live on the video.
  • Curtis from Cornwall On Hudson , NyIs it just me or do other Springsteen fans see the fact that this song won lots of awards as yet another example of how awards almost always start coming after a genius has peaked and is in Freefall? When compared objectively against, say Thunder Road or Candies Room or even Spirits in the Night, this song really blows (no pun intended!)
  • Tom from Milford, CtWhile a college student in PA, this song became a hit while I was living in London, UK. I was at a pub in Picadilly Circus, London, when this video came on. Surrounded by Brits, it was the first time when I was there I actually ached to be back in America. Amazingly, on my flight back to the States, my Virgin Atlantic flight aired "Philadelphia". We were due to land, but since Virgin Atlantic CEO Richard Branson was onboard, we kept circling the airport so we could see the end of the movie.
  • Kurt from Downers Grove, IlWhat a beautiful song, definitely one of my favorites.
  • Max from Ottawa, Canadaactually he won the oscar at the awards comemorating the 1993 motion pictures, thats when the movie was released.
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