Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thursday Theme Song: My city of ruin.

I went to the earthquake ravaged city of Christchurch this weekend, and saw the rubbles. My heart bled to see these historical building turned to ruins. 128 people died in the earthquake on 22 Feb 2011.
Bruce Springsteen's My City of Ruin was adopted by the people of Christchurch as their anthemn.


The song was written in November 2000, for an Asbury Park, New Jersey Christmas show benefit to help promote the revitalization of the city. Once a popular resort destination in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Asbury Park had succumbed to significant amounts of blight for a variety of reasons, including the ill-effects of the Great Depression, the opening of the Garden State Parkway, and race riots.

The song first starts describing the current state of Asbury Park, the deterioration, and the absence of people in the area.

There's a blood red circle
On the cold dark ground
And the rain is falling down
The church doors blown open
I can hear the organ's song
But the congregations gone
Throughout the song, Springsteen continues to describe the city using images such as men loitering on a street corner and buildings with boarded up windows. The song ends, however, on a hopeful and optimistic note by powerfully imploring the city to "rise up" from the decay.

Come on rise up!
Come on rise up!
''Rise up

The song took on an entirely new meaning soon after the September 11 attacks, offering a message of hope and rising from the ruins. The most famous live performance of the song came on September 21, 2001 during the America: A Tribute to Heroes national telethon. With only a guitar and a harmonica, Springsteen opened the program, introducing the number as "a prayer for our fallen brothers and sisters" and modifying a few phrases in the song. He was joined on stage by Patti Scialfa, Steven Van Zandt, Soozie Tyrell, Lisa Lowell and Clarence Clemons. It was included as the first track on the subsequent album released of the telethon performances.


The JR said...

So sad, seems like so many disasters this year.

Ginny Hartzler said...

This was some video! It showed the destruction, tears, rallying, and determination, then having to tear down to re-build. I had never heard of this song before, so beautiful and plaintive! We saw Bruce Springsteen live in a concert many years ago. I bought his first ever album when it was first released.