Tenth Avenue Freeze-out

Album: Born To Run (1975)
Charted: 83
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  • Tear drops on the city, Bad Scooter searching for his groove
    Seem like the whole world walking pretty and you can't find the room to move
    Well, everybody better move over, that's all
    'Cause I'm running on the bad side and I got my back to the wall
    Tenth Avenue freeze-out
    Tenth Avenue freeze-out

    Well, I was stranded in the jungle trying to take in all the heat they was giving
    The night is dark but the sidewalk's bright and lined with the light of the living
    From a tenement window a transistor blasts
    Turn around the corner, things got real quiet real fast
    I walked into a Tenth Avenue freeze-out
    Tenth Avenue freeze-out

    And I'm all alone, I'm all alone
    (And kid, you better get the picture)
    And I'm on my own, I'm on my own
    And I can't go home

    When the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band
    From the coastline to the city, all the little pretties raise their hands
    I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh
    When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half
    With the Tenth Avenue freeze-out
    Tenth Avenue freeze-out
    Tenth Avenue freeze-out
    Tenth Avenue freeze
    I'm talking 'bout a Tenth
    Oh, nothing but a Tenth
    I'm talking 'bout a Tenth
    I'm talking bout a Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth
    Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, Tenth, I'm talking 'bout a
    Tenth Avenue freeze-out...

Comments: 10

  • Grateful Ang from TnSD from Denver— that’s hilarious— because when I was a kid I thought he was saying, “10th Devil in the Freezer.” I thought it must have been about a mob shootout
  • Wayne from Harrisburg, PaThanks for the insights ...
    I always wondered and now some of these ideas make a lot of sense. Rock on.
  • Aris Thomas from 07022The story takes place in the Jungle which is the city aka NYC. Arin from San Francisco, Ca is on point.
  • Gary from WindhamAs we all know 10AFO is about Bruce teaming up with Clemons. Bruce was playing small E street clubs while Clemons & Co. played the hipper 10th Ave Jazz Scene. Bruce, wanting to play the more serious, earthy music, didn't have an in, and watching Clemons style and playing with many fine musicians of the day made him yearn to be a part of it ! But nobody thought they needed a singer, especially a vocalist like Bruce to take their music to the next level. Springsteen felt like he was "all alone" and being "frozen-out". I'm not sure what 'changed' with the Big Man that lead him to accept a role with Springsteen but Bruce knew that with Clemons and his ability to bring a powerhouse rhythm section he was finally gonna be able to realize his dreams and 'Bust The City In Half".
  • John Smith from NycI'm pretty sure Tenth Avenue Freeze Out is about 10th avenue in Hells Kitchen. There's a photo of Bruce Spingsteen standing on the corner 53rd and 10th avenue taken in 1979. Plant Record where he recorded some of Born To Run is in Hell's Kitchen. The Power Station Studio where he recorded a lot in the 70s is on 10th avenue. With lines like "Teardrops on city" "Stranded in the jungle" "The night is dark but the sidewalk's bright and lined with the light of the living" "From a tenement window a transistor blasts" "Turn around the corner things got real quiet real fast" If that's not 10th avenue in Hell's Kitchen in the 1970's i don't know what is.
  • Arin from San Francisco, CaFirst of all, Springsteen doesn't only sing about NJ.
    Try this:
    There is a famous Tenth Avenue. In Manhattan. Hell's Kitchen to be exact. Back in the 70s Bruce and his bandmates played a lot of shows in small clubs (i.e. CBGBs) in the West Village which abuts Hell's Kitchen. This is decades before gentrification, so really mean streets. Think the Warriors movie without the goofy costumes.

    You're a performer, with your friends, walking around Manhattan after a gig, drunk on a rainy night (tear drops on the city), maybe looking to hook up. Maybe you go take a piss or duck into a store and you look around and your friends are scattered. You might get jumped, you're on tenth avenue in Hell's Kitchen. You're lost, you're all alone and you can't find your way home.

    A radio blares from a tenement window gives some comfort but then you turn a corner and it gets really quiet. Things just got much worse.

    What you could use in the future is a big sax-playing black man in the band, so if you're out again, you have some real back up. But you won't forget the night you were frozen out(couldn't get off of) tenth street.
  • S.d. from Denver, CoI'm kind of glad to learn that Bruce had no particular meaning behind the term "10th Avenue Freeze Out". From when I first heard it at age 9 to when I was a freshman in college and one of my roommates worshipped Springsteen, I always thought I was hearing him say "Red Devil in the Free Zone". I guess that could qualify as a mondegreen, in the "'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy" vein.
  • Kyle from Belleville, CanadaThis IS amongst Bruce's early stuff though...
  • Scott from Chicago, Ilthe keyboards are almost overpowering in the beginning, like bruce's early stuff....
  • Bob from Trenton, Nj"10th Avenue" actually refers to 10th Ave in Belmar, NJ.
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