Hiatt was busy promoting his The Tiki Bar Is Open album in New York when 9/11 happened. He penned this autobiographical number about the atrocity after a couple of days in Philadelphia, and performed it at New York's Town Hall later that month. Hiatt never intended to record the tune but ten years later it ended up closing his Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns set. He told Billboard magazine: "I played it for [producer] Kevin Shirley. He was living in New York at the time with little kids in school and he reacted as someone who lived there, saying I should record it. I had mixed feelings. I felt like there was some distance, and time takes a little bit of the sting out. The music in the song sounds like [the] horror that it was. We just started making that racket and at the end of the song a bit of hope pokes out in the lyric 'She will rise again.' It seemed to work out musically."
Bruce Springsteen wrote "Blinded By The Light," which was a #1 hit for Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The "Madman Drummers" line is a reference to Springsteen's first E-Street drummer, Vinnie "Mad dog" Lopez.