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Old 10-03-2013, 12:09 PM
maniondl maniondl is offline
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Springsteen. Darlington County. What the $#$% does it mean?

Okay, I've been trying to get an answer to this one for years. It's time to let greater minds than mine take a whack at it.

Darlington County is an uptempo rock number off of Born in the USA. It tells the story of the narrator and his friend Wayne and an apparently ill-fated quest for work in South Carolina.

Verse 1 - Bruce and Wayne drive 800 miles from New York City to Darlington County SC, looking for work. (Google says it's 641 miles, but hey, this was before GPS)

Verse 2 - Bruce and Wayne hit on girls, pointing out that they have the princely sum of $200 and are prepared to rock all night. The song does not tell you if their efforts were successful.

Verse 3 - Bruce hits on a girl and tells her that Wayne has been missing for a week.

Little girl sitting in the window
Ain't seen my buddy in seven days
County man tells me the same thing
He don't work and he don't get paid


Verse 4 - Much shorter than the previous three. Bruce leaves Darlington County alone (presumably), and on his way out

Driving out of darlington county
My eyes seen the glory of the coming of the lord
Driving out of darlington county
Seen wayne handcuffed to the bumper of a state troopers ford


Question - So why is seeing Wayne handcuffed to a cruiser "The glory of the coming of the lord"? Wayne went missing, he resurfaces and Springsteen now appears not to give a crap. Why not? Why does he abandon Wayne? Am I overthinking it? Should I seek help? What the hell am I missing?!
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2013, 12:17 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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I always saw verse 3 meaning Wayne is doing something illegal- he's not working and getting a paycheck, but he's living on something... so it must be criminal.

Verse 4: My eyes have seen the glory is another way of saying "holy shit" or "I was stunned to see" or some other exclamation. Wayne got arrested for whatever he was doing.

I see Wayne bailed out on Bruce, got into something criminal, and lo and behold got arrested as bruce was heading home (got tired of waiting for Wayne?).
  #3  
Old 10-03-2013, 12:42 PM
cochrane cochrane is online now
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Also, maybe he did give a crap, but realized there wasn't much he could do about it. After all, who's crazy enough to mess with the South Carolina State Police?
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:49 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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I think it's pretty clear the girl they picked up was a prostitute. The song says she was standing on a corner when they saw her and the first thing they do is tell her they have $200 and "want to rock all night".
  #5  
Old 10-03-2013, 12:54 PM
maniondl maniondl is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I think it's pretty clear the girl they picked up was a prostitute. The song says she was standing on a corner when they saw her and the first thing they do is tell her they have $200 and "want to rock all night".
I admit to being a little inexperienced in the prostitutional arts, but do groups of guys usually pick up just one prostitute? Do you get a group rate or something?
  #6  
Old 10-03-2013, 01:09 PM
sparky! sparky! is offline
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Originally Posted by maniondl View Post
I admit to being a little inexperienced in the prostitutional arts, but do groups of guys usually pick up just one prostitute? Do you get a group rate or something?
Sadly, Wayne was caught copulating with said Prostitute. Being South Carolina, he was arrested when it was found that they were not relations.

Anywho...

I always saw it as Bruce knowing Wayne was going to get his kick on. When Wayne disappeared for so long, Bruce worried. Bruce couldn't wait any longer and had to leave. Seeing Wayne handcuffed to the PoPo car was good, since it meant Wayne was alive. I imagine it was not the first run in with the law for either. I imagine Wayne already scammed his way out or broke free by the time Bruce hit Jersey.
  #7  
Old 10-03-2013, 01:25 PM
MrSquishy MrSquishy is offline
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Regarding "My eyes seen the glory of the coming of the lord" it's not clear to me if all of you are so familar with The Battle Hymn of the Republic that it's just going unsaid, or if it's worth mentioning.

Last edited by MrSquishy; 10-03-2013 at 01:25 PM.
  #8  
Old 10-03-2013, 01:33 PM
maniondl maniondl is offline
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Originally Posted by MrSquishy View Post
Regarding "My eyes seen the glory of the coming of the lord" it's not clear to me if all of you are so familar with The Battle Hymn of the Republic that it's just going unsaid, or if it's worth mentioning.
Assume for the moment that I'm breathtaking naive and/or ill informed. After all, I missed out on what was apparently a blatant prostitute reference.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:36 PM
Pixel_Dent Pixel_Dent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSquishy View Post
Regarding "My eyes seen the glory of the coming of the lord" it's not clear to me if all of you are so familar with The Battle Hymn of the Republic that it's just going unsaid, or if it's worth mentioning.
Maybe the prostitute was in to role play as a Civil War Re-enactor?
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:33 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Just a speculation but maybe Wayne and the singer are black (and I realize Bruce Springsteen isn't black but he also didn't marry a girl named Rosalita). So Wayne and his buddy headed down to South Carolina from New York City to get some work. And when they got there, they partied with some local white girls. The local cops arrested Wayne and his buddy decided to get out of that redneck town and head back home while he still could.
  #11  
Old 10-03-2013, 02:48 PM
John Bredin John Bredin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Just a speculation but maybe Wayne and the singer are black (and I realize Bruce Springsteen isn't black but he also didn't marry a girl named Rosalita). So Wayne and his buddy headed down to South Carolina from New York City to get some work. And when they got there, they partied with some local white girls. The local cops arrested Wayne and his buddy decided to get out of that redneck town and head back home while he still could.
Hopefully arrested, as your version could put a decidedly more macabre spin on Wayne being handcuffed to a police cruiser's bumper.
  #12  
Old 10-03-2013, 05:24 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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Originally Posted by Pixel_Dent View Post
Maybe the prostitute was in to role play as a Civil War Re-enactor?
Or she looked like John Brown?
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:27 PM
maniondl maniondl is offline
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Originally Posted by Pixel_Dent View Post
Maybe the prostitute was in to role play as a Civil War Re-enactor?
So the prostitute was there to role play in the role of a role player? My mind has just been blown.
  #14  
Old 10-04-2013, 11:21 AM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maniondl View Post
Question - So why is seeing Wayne handcuffed to a cruiser "The glory of the coming of the lord"?
Because Wayne is a layabout and can be a bit of a dick, and Bruce thinks it's funny that he finally got his comeuppance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maniondl
Wayne went missing, he resurfaces and Springsteen now appears not to give a crap. Why not? Why does he abandon Wayne?
What the hell can he do? One of his casual friends got arrested, and Bruce knows him well enough to know that he probably deserved it. Bruce is out cruising with his new girl, or maybe due back in New York. Wayne can fend for himself. Maybe his union uncle can help him out--probably not for the first time.
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:00 PM
BrokenBriton BrokenBriton is offline
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Imo, it’s a ‘good times’ toon about two naive young guys on a road trip looking for girls and work. Arriving in Darlington, they see themselves as New York big spending, wild guys rolling into town.
The first “little girl” may be a prostitute but I think she’s just a local - and a device through which we learn about the guys bravado and naivety. The two guys just want to have a little fun with a local girl/s.
I’d guess the second “little girl” is the same woman who Bruce now bumps into a week later. Somehow he and Wayne got split up. As they know each other, Bruce finds it easier to persuade her to come on the road trip. As Bruce leaves with his new girl, they catch sight of Wayne who has presumably run out of money and resorted to crime.
Maybe you could even think of it as a prequel to Thunder Road ....
  #16  
Old 10-04-2013, 01:17 PM
SirRay SirRay is offline
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I wonder if Bruce still plays this song in concerts, with the "World Trade Center" pick-up line his song's character uses on the girl?
  #17  
Old 10-04-2013, 01:22 PM
MrSquishy MrSquishy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirRay View Post
I wonder if Bruce still plays this song in concerts, with the "World Trade Center" pick-up line his song's character uses on the girl?
The Boss doesn't exactly shy away from 9/11 subject matter.

The Rising
  #18  
Old 10-05-2013, 06:48 PM
Noel Prosequi Noel Prosequi is online now
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I saw him do it in March of this year, and according to his set lists, he most recently did it in Rio on September 21. I can't recall if he modified the lyrics, though.
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:19 AM
BrokenBriton BrokenBriton is offline
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he just mouths '9/11' instead and leaves it at that.
  #20  
Old 10-06-2013, 05:50 AM
Nava Nava is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenBriton View Post
Imo, it’s a ‘good times’ toon about two naive young guys on a road trip looking for girls and work. Arriving in Darlington, they see themselves as New York big spending, wild guys rolling into town.
The first “little girl” may be a prostitute but I think she’s just a local - and a device through which we learn about the guys bravado and naivety. The two guys just want to have a little fun with a local girl/s.
I’d guess the second “little girl” is the same woman who Bruce now bumps into a week later. Somehow he and Wayne got split up. As they know each other, Bruce finds it easier to persuade her to come on the road trip. As Bruce leaves with his new girl, they catch sight of Wayne who has presumably run out of money and resorted to crime.
Maybe you could even think of it as a prequel to Thunder Road ....
Yeah, that's pretty much my interpretation. In many of the small towns I'm familiar with, the windowsills of stores placed in corners are popular hangup spots. For my age group it used to be the old Post Office, which later became a candy store, but now it's a bank with a distinct lack of windowsills - I'm reasonably sure none of us were prostitutes and also that many would have been happy to leave with some guys who had money to spend. And the people hanging up in windowsills are the ones too young for the junior clubs: little girl indeed, even if many already have curves.

Last edited by Nava; 10-06-2013 at 05:52 AM.
  #21  
Old 10-06-2013, 11:33 PM
Enter the Flagon Enter the Flagon is offline
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It might also be worth mentioning that The Battle Hymn of the Republic was probably sung by at least one Yankee on his way home from the South at the end of the Civil War.

Or not. I'll ask Bruce if I ever see him in another N.J. record store.
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