"The Ghost Of Tom Joad" lyrics
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- The Ghost Of Tom Joad Lyrics
Rage Against The Machine - The Ghost Of Tom Joad Lyrics
Artist: Rage Against The Machine
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
Rage Against The Machine Miscellaneous The Ghost Of Tom Joad Man walks along the railroad track He's Goin' some place, there's no turnin' back The Highway Patrol chopper comin' up over the ridge Man sleeps by a campfire under the bridge The shelter line stretchin' around the corner Welcome to the New World Order Families sleepin' in their cars out in the Southwest No job, no home, no peace, no rest, NO REST! And The highway is alive tonight Nobody's foolin' nobody is to where it goes I'm sitting down here in the campfire light Searchin' for the Ghost of Tom Joad He pulls his prayer book out of a sleepin' bag The preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag He's waitin' for the time when the last shall be first and the first shall be last In a cardboard box 'neath the underpass With a one way ticket to the promised land With a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand Lookin' for a pillow of solid rock Bathin' in the cities' aqueducts And The highway is alive tonight Nobody's foolin' nobody is to where it goes I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light With the Ghost of old Tom Joad Guitar Solo Now Tom Said; "Ma, whenever ya see a cop beatin' a guy Wherever a hungry new born baby cries Whereever there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air Look for me ma' I'll be there Wherever somebodies stuglin' for a place to stand For a decent job or a helpin' hand Wherever somebody is strugglin' to be free Look in their eyes ma, You'll see me! (repeat 8 times) And the highway is alive tonight nobody's foolin' nobody is to where it goes I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light With the Ghost of Tom Joad.
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THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD
Rage Against The Machine's cover version
Man walks along the railroad track He's going someplace and there's no turning back The highway patrol chopper coming up over the ridge Man sleeps by a campfire under the bridge The shelter line stretching around the corner Welcome to the new world order Families sleeping in their cars out in the Southwest No job, no home, no peace, no rest, no rest! And the highway is alive tonight Nobody's fooling nobody as to where it goes I'm sitting down here in the campfire light Searching for the ghost of Tom Joad He pulls his prayer book out of his sleeping bag The preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag He's waiting for the time when the last shall be first and the first shall be last In a cardboard box 'neath the underpass With a one way ticket to the promised land With a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand Looking for a pillow of solid rock Bathing in the city's aqueduct Rock! Well the highway is alive tonight Nobody's fooling nobody as to where it goes I'm sitting down here in the campfire light With the ghost of old Tom Joad Now Tom said, "Ma, whenever you've seen a cop beating a guy Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries Wherever there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air Look for me, Ma, I'll be there Wherever somebody's struggling for a place to stand For a decent job or a helping hand Wherever somebody is struggling to be free Look in their eyes, Ma, you'll see me You'll see me! You'll see me! You'll see me! You'll see me! You'll see me! You'll see me! You'll see me! You'll see me! Rock! Yeah! And the highway is alive tonight Nobody's fooling nobody as to where it goes I'm sitting down here in the campfire light With the ghost of Tom Joad
The above lyrics are for Rage Against The Machine's cover version of THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD. The song was originally released as a free single which shipped with an early release of the VHS version of their 1997 home video Rage Against The Machine .
Rage Against The Machine re-recorded THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD for their 2000 album Renegades . That version differs slightly form the 1997 single version, with some musical rearrangement and more heavily echoed vocals, but the lyrics are exactly the same. The band also released several live versions of the song, including the one released on the above-mentioned home video.
Other Official Releases
The 1997 original version of Rage Against The Machine's cover version of THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD was released as a single and was also included on a various artists benefit album. The 2000 re-recorded version was released on the Renegades .
Please contact me if you have scans for or info about any official release containing Rage Against The Machine's cover version of THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD that's not mentioned on this page. I also need scans for the following releases:
- Rage Against The Machine -- The Ghost Of Tom Joad || CD single - Epic (SAMP 1001) - Australia, 1997
- Rage Against The Machine -- The Ghost Of Tom Joad || CD single - Epic (SAMP 990) - Australia, 1997
Rage Against The Machine - Ghost Of Tom Joad Lyrics
Rage Against The Machine – The Ghost Of Tom Joad lyrics
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The Ghost Of Tom Joad meanings
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"I want to make a record where I don’t have to play by the rules or have any hit singles": Bruce Springsteen on his acoustic masterpiece The Ghost Of Tom Joad
Inspired by the classic novel The Grapes Of Wrath, The Ghost Of Tom Joad became a staple of Bruce Springsteen’s live shows, and led to The Boss teaming up with RATM’s Tom Morello
Tom Joad, the hero of John Steinbeck’s classic 1939 American novel The Grapes Of Wrath , has had a pretty good life as an apparition, thanks to Bruce Springsteen and some of his friends.
Inspired by the book and John Ford’s 1940 film adaptation, as well as by Woody Guthrie’s The Ballad Of Tom Joad , Springsteen wrote The Ghost Of Tom Joad , a modern-day appropriation of the same Great Depression-era concerns, during the early 90s.
It became the title track for his stripped-down 1995 acoustic album, and a staple – usually the opening number – for the live shows that supported it. The song was also rocked up, dramatically, two years later by Rage Against the Machine , and in 2014 Springsteen – with Rage guitarist Tom Morello in tow as part of his E Street Band – released yet another version for his latest album, High Hopes .
“I want to make a record where I don’t have to play by the rules… have any hit singles or none of that stuff,” Springsteen said of the Tom Joad album, backstage at an early stop on his solo acoustic tour to support it. “I can make whatever kind of music I want to make. I hadn’t done that in a real long time. I guess I wanted to see if I could do it again.”
Tom Joad was actually the latest in a series of curve balls Springsteen had thrown his audience since Born In The USA . There was the calculated come-down of Tunnel Of Love and the shocking subsequent dismissal of the E Street Band. The group’s reunion for the early 1996 Greatest Hits album was just as surprising, and The Ghost Of Tom Joad was one of the songs he worked on with the band at that time. “It started out as a rock song. But It didn’t feel right, so I set it aside,” Springsteen wrote in 1998 lyric book Songs .
He returned to the Los Angeles area, where he was living at the time, and began work on starker material, “just myself and my guitar”, and the new version of Tom Joad became a linchpin for his next project, a kind of musical sibling to ’82’s Nebraska .
“Once I cut Tom Joad , I had a feeling for the record I wanted to make,” Springsteen said. “It was an acoustic album where I picked up elements of the themes I had worked on in the past and set the stories in the mid-90s.”
That was certainly true of the set’s title track, which chronicled the other side of the Clinton era’s prosperity, using subtle and minimalist instrumentation and a mournful melody to deliver timeless images – ‘ Families sleepin’ in their cars in the Southwest / No home, no job, no peace no rest ’ – of ordinary Joes, along with migrants and a criminal or two, grasping desperately for an American Dream made elusive by class schisms and corporate greed.
But Springsteen rejected any notions of despair. “There’s always something being revealed – about them, about you. That’s always exciting,” he explained. “Even if the stuff is dark, even if there’s tragedy involved, it’s still exciting. The truth is always hopeful. It’s always inspiring, no matter what it is.”
It wasn’t an easy sell, however; Tom Joad was the first Springsteen album since 1973 to miss the top five, although it did win a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. “I knew [the album] wouldn’t attract my largest audience,” Springsteen wrote in Songs . “But I was sure the songs on it added up to a reaffirmation of the best of what I do.”
Rage Against The Machine certainly heard the truth of Tom Joad and found in it a firm fit with the group’s own populist, leftist leaning. “I was a huge fan of The Ghost Of Tom Joad ,” Morello recalls. “It was my favourite record for a long time. I think I gave the CD to Zack [De La Rocha, Rage’s frontman] for Christmas that year.
"We were about to set off with U2 on the PopMart tour, and we didn’t have any new material. I suggested that we do a Rage-ified cover of The Ghost Of Tom Joad . I think at first that suggestion was met with some scepticism, but then it came together and sounded great on the tour. The lyrics were certainly not out of context for Rage Against The Machine. And I brought a bulldozer riff or two to it that worked very well.”
It sounded so good that, during the tour, Rage ducked into the studio to record a version of Tom Joad for a CD single accompanying the group’s self-titled 1997 home video. Rage later re-cut it for a version that appeared on their 2001 covers set, Renegades , and later on the No Boundaries: A Benefit For The Kosovar Refugees benefit album. It became Rage’s second-highest charting song.
Morello first performed Tom Joad with Springsteen and the E Street Band in April 2008 in Anaheim, California, when Springsteen surprised the guitarist by asking him to sing some lead vocals as well as play on it. “That was the first time I ever sang with an electric guitar in my hands,” notes Morello.
Springsteen & co had already turned Tom Joad into a powerhouse electric showstopper inspired by the Rage version; when Morello stood in for Steve Van Zandt for Bruce and his band’s 2008 tour of Australia, it was a regular part of the set. It was also a logical inclusion for High Hopes when Springsteen decided to make Morello an integral part of the album.
“ [Tom Joad] was the one I felt I really had to hit the nail on the head with,” Morello says. “It’s been such an exciting live moment and a great melding of the two worlds of the E Street Band and my playing on it. I was hopeful that we were going to be able to capture the spark of those live performances and I think, in my humble view, we may have surpassed it. It’s a really great recording of that song."
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Gary Graff is an award-winning veteran music journalist based in metro Detroit, writing regularly for Billboard, Ultimate Classic Rock, Media News Group, Music Connection, United Stations Radio Networks and others. Graff’s work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Guitar World, Classic Rock, Revolver, the San Francisco Chronicle, AARP magazine, the Detroit Jewish News, The Forward and others. Graff has co-written and edited books about Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. A professional voter for the Grammy Awards and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Graff co-founded the Detroit Music Awards in 1989 and continues as the organisation’s chief producer.
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The Ghost of Tom Joad
About The Ghost of Tom Joad
"The Ghost of Tom Joad" is a folk rock song written by Bruce Springsteen. It is the title track to his eleventh studio album, released in 1995. The character Tom Joad, from John Steinbeck's classic 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath, is mentioned in the title and narrative. Originally a quiet folk song, "The Ghost of Tom Joad" has also been recorded by Rage Against the Machine and Junip. Springsteen himself has performed the song in a variety of arrangements, including with the E Street Band, and a live recording featuring Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello as guest. In 2013, Springsteen re-recorded the track with Morello for his eighteenth studio album, High Hopes (2014). more »
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Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949), nicknamed "The Boss", is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who records and tours with the E Street Band. Springsteen is widely known for his brand of heartland rock, poetic lyrics, Americana sentiments centered on his native New Jersey and his lengthy and energetic stage performances, with concerts from the 1970s to the present decade running up to an uninterrupted 250 minutes in length. more »
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Written by: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
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"The Ghost of Tom Joad Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 25 Nov. 2023. < https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/6678660/Bruce+Springsteen/The+Ghost+of+Tom+Joad >.
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