The Price You Pay

Album: The River (1980)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • A different version is available on Springsteen's bootleg The Ties That Bind, an album Springsteen recorded in 1979 but did not release. This and six other songs from it were used on The River.
  • Emmylou Harris, who is a huge fan of Springsteen's songwriting, covered this track in 1981.

Comments: 5

  • Amanda from WaThis is a song that grows on you the older you get. So much wisdom and insight and a poem and a song in one. The song shows Bruce's unique talents as a songwriter and has stood the test of time. I got divorced years ago after making some mistakes and I learned to live with the price I paid.
  • Gary from UsPowerful song! Love the music. Never ever read the story of Moses how he Could not enter the Promised Land to face the price you pay. After listening to the song , did some reading about it.
  • Aurelio from Freehold, NjDefinitely one of the Boss's most underrated songs. I was floored the first time I heard this song because when you think about it, there is a price to be paid for everything you choose to do and/or everything you choose not to do. And you had better more successful making the right choices, or else life can be awfully long and painful.

    The lyrics that reached me immediately on a very visceral level..."With their hands held high, they reached out for the open sky. And in one last breath, they built the roads they'd ride to their death."

    What started out with such freedom and promise turned out to be the wrong choice and the fictional people in the song chose their ultimate demise....the price they would pay.
  • Sheldon from Toronto, CanadaOh how I wish he would play this song at his next visit to Toronto!!!
  • Kyle from Belleville, CanadaWhy doesn't the Boss play this more?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Leslie West of Mountain

Leslie West of MountainSongwriter Interviews

From the cowbell on "Mississippi Queen" to recording with The Who when they got the wrong Felix, stories from one of rock's master craftsmen.

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The Devil

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The DevilSong Writing

Just how much did these monsters of rock dabble in the occult?

Joe Elliott of Def Leppard

Joe Elliott of Def LeppardSongwriter Interviews

The Def Leppard frontman talks about their "lamentable" hit he never thought of as a single, and why he's juiced by his Mott The Hoople cover band.

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go's

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go'sSongwriter Interviews

Charlotte was established in the LA punk scene when a freaky girl named Belinda approached her wearing a garbage bag.

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock Photography

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock PhotographySong Writing

One of rock's top photographers talks about artistry in photography, raising funds for a documentary, and enjoying a County Fair with Tom Waits.

Lita Ford

Lita FordSongwriter Interviews

Lita talks about how they wrote songs in The Runaways, and how she feels about her biggest hit being written by somebody else.