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Performances Song History

Bobby Jean

Music/Lyrics: Bruce Springsteen

Vocals: Bruce Springsteen

Original Artist: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

Original Album: Born in the U.S.A. (1984)

Debut: 2009-06-14

Historian: Geoff Ecker

"Bobby Jean" is one of Bruce Springsteen’s more popular concert staples from the highly successful Born in the U.S.A. album, regarded to have been written about E Street Band-mate Steve Van Zandt. The lyrics speak of the letting go of a long-loved one with parting wishes for good luck; the music’s change from minor to major altered chords near the end of the chorus helps accentuate this expressed feeling of good will. Growing up in the Jersey shore music scene, “Little Steven” was an early friend and pre-E Street bandmate of Springsteen and had informed him during the album’s recording that he was leaving the band after nearly a decade. Apparently there was no animosity between Bruce and Steve, as they reunited a decade later and have continued to play together regularly. 

"Bobby Jean" was performed by Phish on 6/14/09 in the middle of The Boss’s three-song guest appearance that closed out the first set of their second show at Bonnaroo.

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