Every year when summer comes around
They stretch a banner 'cross the main street in town
You can feel somethin's happenin' in the air
Well, from Carol's house up on Telegraph Hill
You can see the lights going up out in Soldiers Field
Getting ready, for the county fair

County fair, county fair,
Everybody in town'll be there
So come on, hey we're goin' down there
(hey) Little girl with the long blond hair
Come win your daddy one of them stuffed bears
Baby, down at the country fair

Now you'll be hangin' tight when we hit the top
And that rollercoaster's ready to drop
And your braggin', how you wasn't even scared
Well baby you know I just love the sound
Of that pipe organ on the merry-go-round
Baby, down at the county fair

County fair, county fair,
Everybody in town'll be there
So come on, hey we're goin' down there
(hey) Little girl with the long blond hair
Come win your daddy one of them stuffed bears
Baby, down at the country fair

At the north end of the field they set up a stand
And they got a little rock and roll band
People dancin' out in the open air
It's James Young and the Immortal Ones
Two guitars, (baby) bass and drums
Just rockin', down at the county fair

(well) County fair, county fair
Everybody in town'll be there
So come on, we're goin' down there
Little girl with the long blond hair
Come win your daddy one of them stuffed bears
Baby, down at the county fair

Now it's getting late before we head back to town
We let that fortune wheel spin around
Come on mister tell me what's waiting out there
On my way out I steal a kiss in the dark
Hope I can remember where our car's parked
Baby, out at the county fair

Now off down the highway there's the last stream of cars
We sit a while in my front yard
With the radio playin' soft and low
I pull Carol close to my heart
And I lean back and stare up at the stars
Oh I wish, I'd never have to let this moment go



Lyrics submitted by oofus

County Fair song meanings
Add your thoughts

4 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song, i was so happy when he released it
    Lucky Loseron June 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful song. Great imagery of warm summer nights, love and happiness. Living in the cold climates, these are the type of nights we wait for all year.
    Pirtyfool22on May 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHere's a great review that I think captures the essence of this song:



    Fair Whether
    Springsteen's darkly light 'County Fair,' a should-be summer classic

    By Karl Byrn

    Are we having fun yet?

    Isn't that what we expect from the currently running Sonoma County Fair--a chance to simply enjoy? Our times are filled with uncertainty, uneasiness about our leaders, the economy and an irresolute war, so we need the guarantee of thrill that the fair offers. The fair unites our expectations in a community experience, but there's a little bit of a let-down built into every anticipation; the fair moves on and we have to go back to routine.

    There's an obscure Bruce Springsteen song about this, a real gem titled simply "County Fair." This detailed portrait of a small-town, end-of-summer fair, taken from sessions Springsteen recorded in 1983 after his fabled Nebraska album, was a bootleg favorite for years before surfacing officially on the Columbia Records' Essential series. "County Fair" is tucked away on the third disc of The Essential Bruce Springsteen, which follows two straightforward best-of discs with an often roaring, often somber set of the Hall-of-Famer's rockabilly, soundtrack and B-side miscellanea.

    "County Fair" plays as whimsical, relaxed folk rock, sentimental and childlike. There's a palpable sense of shared desire in the opening lines: "Every year when summer comes around / They stretch a banner 'cross the main street in town / And you feel something happen in the air." From there, Springsteen lays on the good stuff: the roller coaster, "the pipe organ on the merry-go-round," winning stuffed animals on the midway--even laughing at himself while searching for his car in the parking lot.

    What's striking about "County Fair" is that it isn't about all that. The artist is looking for something deeper. And what he finds is something that's closer to our common expectations and enjoyment, a whole cycle of hope and dissatisfaction. The song is really a desperate prayer for eternal life. He names the act at the open-air bandstand "James Young and the Immortal Ones," places the site of the fair at "Soldier's Field," and tries to "steal a kiss in the dark" (not get or give, but steal). By the final line, Springsteen doesn't hide the prayer: "I lean back and stare up at the stars / Oh, I wish I'd never have to let this moment go."

    The final blow is a simple musical trick. "County Fair" is written in a standard, easy-going, roots-rock chord progression that goes G-C-D, with an E minor tossed in for pensive effect. It's the four-chord template of the Drifters' "There Goes My Baby" and the Marvellettes' "Please Mr. Postman," a pattern varied slightly on other classics like Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" and Bob Seger's "Night Moves."

    Usually, the E minor comes in the verse or chorus. But here, Bruce omits it until after the final line, strumming it suddenly and purposefully into a ghostly rumble, an unresolved tag that dramatically shifts the mood of "County Fair" from fond community celebration to bitter dread.

    Though recorded 20 years ago in the Reagan era, this song still tells us about our present. Why does fun seem like an illusion? Why are we haunted by irresolution? Is joy merely slippery and temporary? Perhaps there's just too much in our imbalanced world that's too hard to take. The county fair is an archetypal tradition, a symbol with a huge comfort factor, an annual chance to put uncertainty aside. But as our world gets more extreme, we may expect too much of our fair experience, so much that its thrill becomes an exaggerated promise with the painful price of having to reluctantly let it go.

    "County Fair" is an example of how powerful rock music historically plants itself on a tightrope between redemption and disaster. It stares uncomfortable reality straight in the eye, asserting joy while acknowledging imperfection. This song may belong in rock's amusement-park tradition of songs like Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon's "Palisades Park" or the Drifters' "Under the Boardwalk" or with the fun-in-the-summer theme of any number of Beach Boys classics, but "County Fair" is a closer kin to the current rock mode of confessional doubt.

    Rock may have stopped being a music and culture of fun. Hip-hop and country hits still try to party, but the important rock acts of our day--Radiohead, Metallica, Jack White, Dave Grohl--sing more about mysteries than anything close to simple enjoyment. Rock songs celebrating fun are a rarity. But Springsteen's should-be summertime classic does both jobs, touching a nerve of incompleteness, but with the fond reminder that the teddy bears and rides may be the bottom line after all.

    Rebirth120505on January 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat song. the one that makes me feel like sitting at the porch in a summer night..
    asthenia90on April 07, 2009   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain