"Backstreets" as written by and Bruce Springsteen....
One soft infested summer, me and Terry became friends
Trying in vain to breathe the fire we was born in
Catching rides to the outskirts, tying faith between our teeth
Sleeping in that old abandoned beach house, getting wasted in the heat
And hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
With a love so hard and filled with defeat
Running for our lives at night on them backstreets

Slow dancing in the dark on the beach at Stockton's Wing
Where desperate lovers park, we sat with the last of the Duke Street Kings
Huddled in our cars, waiting for the bells that ring
In the deep heart of the night they set us loose of everything
To go running on the backstreets
Running on the backstreets
Terry, you swore we'd live forever
Taking it on them backstreets together

Endless juke joints and Valentino drag
Where famous dancers scraped the tears up off the street, dressed down in rags
Running into the darkness, some hurt bad, some really dying
At night sometimes it seemed you could hear the whole damn city crying
Blame it on the lies that killed us, blame it on the truth that ran us down
You can blame it all on me, Terry, it don't matter to me now
When the breakdown hit at midnight, there was nothing to say
But I hated him, and I hated you when you went away

Laying here in the dark, you're like an angel on my chest
Just another tramp of hearts crying tears of faithlessness
Remember all the movies, Terry, we'd go see
Trying to learn to walk like the heroes we thought we had to be
And after all this time, to find we're just like all the rest
Stranded in the park and forced to confess
To hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Where we swore forever friends
On the backstreets until the end

Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Was all right, we're all
Hiding on the backstreets tonight
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets


Lyrics submitted by Bobo192

"Backstreets" as written by Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Downtown Music Publishing

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Backstreets song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentIn my opinion this is one of the finest songs ever put on record. One of the ones I'll drop everything for when it comes up, I just turn the volume up and close my eyes. Even just the piano at the beginning gives this incredible feeling within me... It sorta reminds me of my best friend, Arry. We met last summer and, well, yea it sorta follows the song (assuming it is only about a friendship) what happens. Even how when somebody else became really close to her and it felt like this other person was tearing her away from me... Its a beautiful song. I love this album, it seems every song can be related to, but in particular for me, this one.
    Thesmellyoneon September 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentCheekyBoy099, that's my favorite part of the song too. I'm a little young for Springsteen -- I didn't really discover him until high school in the late 90's -- but he's definitely my favorite musical artist of all time. "Backstreets" is one of my fave songs, and the way his voice cracks in the bridge is an incredibly emotional, painful moment. I've always assumed Terry was a boy, the narrator's best friend, and the pain isn't so much losing the girl but losing the girl and the best friend. As a teeanger, your friends are often your family (cause parents just don't understand!), and there's no greater betrayal than losing your girl to your best friend.

    The first verse or so describes an idealic summer where the narrator has his best friend and his best girl and gets into all kinds of innocent teenage trouble, before moving into the darker elements of young love, through descriptions of the seedier side of town and the ultimate betrayal. Then, he moves back to those blissful days when things were simple and easy and hurt wasn't something he understood firsthand.

    I don't normally have trouble interpreting Springsteen songs, but "Backstreets" has always been tricky for me. The way the narrator flits between characters, Terry and the unnamed girl (at least, that's who I think it is), makes the song so hard to understand. For me, the most logical interpretation was a betrayal so painful that the narrator forever confuses the two, which is why it's all the more painful -- because he can never have a relationship again with either party without being reminded of the mistake they made when they were young.
    Frost82on October 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti have always felt that this song would be a great soundtrack to a montage of kids having fun in summer, enjoying the last moments of their totally free and innocent youth, because while the lyrics tend to indicate a relationship whith a girl, the song is really just about kids who want to be friends forever but realize they cant.
    my favorite line, no special metaphor or anything but still powerful, is "Remember all the movies, Terry, we'd go see/ Trying to learn how to walk like heroes we thought we had to be/ And after all this time to find we're just like all the rest/ Stranded in the park and forced to confess"
    fallenchief123on July 02, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIt's all there. This song isn't just about "Terry." It's about a significant other and a good friend. You can think of those persons as two "loves."

    "...I hated him and I hated you when you went away."

    This song jumps between those two persons (back and forth).

    There's more clues about the significant other sleeping with the good friend (linking everyone together):

    "Just another tramp of hearts crying tears of faithlessness
    Remember all the movies, Terry, we'd go see"

    It references a moment between a significant other and being unfaithful. Immediately after, he jumps to thinking about the good times with the good friend...betrayal, hurt, and then remembering the good - both are "gone."

    Additionally, "backstreets" implies something out of sight and hidden - secret affair. It also implies a special relationship between him and his good friend, which the girl wasn't a part of- eventually, she wanted that link to his good friend....and, she did.

    Cheers

    Dom
    Dom9360on March 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionFirstly, I want to say how much I enjoyed reading all of the suggested meanings for this song. I've considered all of them as I've tried to dissect B's powerful, elusive lyrics.

    For me, only one interpretation consistently fits with the lyrics and it's this: Terry is a guy. The narrator is a guy. And there's no girl in sight.

    Debunking the "Terry is a Girl" theory: Other than the obvious ambiguity of the name, guys and girls don't typically get wasted together or try to learn to walk like heroes together. There's something decisively masculine about Terry and the narrator's friendship.

    Debunking the "Terry is a Guy, But There's Also a Girl" theory: It seems that people gravitate most to the second verse when positing the "best friend and the best girl" interpretation. This includes "Slow dancing in the dark...where desperate lovers park" and also "But I hated him and I hated you when you went away" from verse three. In the second verse, the narrator is clearly speaking about--and then to--Terry. There's nothing in the lyrical structure to indicate a third individual in this verse. Also, Terry can be a man, and the narrator can still hate "him" (i.e. the man who stole Terry away) in the third verse as well as "you" (Terry himself).

    Most telling is the chorus of the song. Why would the narrator and his lady friend have to hide on the backstreets in the first place? The entire theme of the song is one of unbearable shame. To me, that doesn't jive with a stereotypical male-female courtship. The narrator and Terry became friends, they drank together, they slept in the old abandoned beach house together... and then they became something else entirely.

    Their love is already "filled with defeat" in the first verse, because they know they can never be completely open about their relationship. The narrator also can't be completely open about his own desires, even at the end of the song. And really, his personal struggle with himself is what makes the song so heartbreaking and haunting. If this were about a girlfriend or a love triangle, the stakes simply wouldn’t be high enough to warrant the anguish the narrator expresses about Terry's loss and the time they spent together. Simply put, the best friend and the lover in this song are one and the same.
    elissamac7on March 06, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow has no one commented on this, perhaps Bruce's most heartbreaking song? One of the most painful tales of betrayal I've ever heard! Listen to Bruce wail after the third verse and then wail on his guitar for a vicious-yet-understated solo. Powerful, powerful song.
    jnb987on January 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love everything about this song. The piano in the beginning is extremely powerful. The passion in Bruce's voice is indescribable. The lyrics are amazing. This has to be the best album of all time. I wish I could have been alive when this album was released.
    luckycharmson February 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is by far my favorite Bruce song, and I like many of them. I had heard that Terry might be a guy, but reading the lyrics above, I doubt it.
    benjyedwardson July 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRoy Bittan’s Piano performance is the greatest ever captured on record
    bkat004on December 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song seriously needs more comments. One of the most powerful songs I've ever heard in my life. It does something to me. I don't know how or why, but it gets to me. I love every part of this song from beginning to end and despite its depressing nature, it always manages to cheer me up. Can't say enough about it.
    sexmaniacon February 15, 2006   Link

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