"Highway 29" as written by and Bruce Springsteen....
I slipped on her shoe, she was a perfect size seven
I said "there's no smokin' in the store ma'am"
She crossed her legs and then
We made some small talk, that's where it should have stopped
She slipped me a number, I put it in my pocket
My hand slipped up her skirt, everything slipped my mind
In that little roadhouse On highway 29

It was a small town bank, it was a mess
Well I had a gun, you know the rest
Money on the floorboards, shirt was covered in blood
And she was cryin', her and me we headed south
On highway twenty nine

In a little desert motel, the air it was hot and clean
L slept the sleep of the dead, I didn't dream
I woke in the morning washed my face in the sink
We headed into the Sierra Madres 'cross the borderline
The winter sun, shot through the black trees
I told myself it was all something in her
But as we drove I knew it was something in me
Something had been comin' for a long long time
And something that was here with me now
On highway twenty nine

The road was filled with broken glass and gasoline
She wasn't sayin' nothin'', it was just a dream
The wind come silent through the windshield
All I could see was snow and sky and pines
I closed my eyes and I was runnin',
I was runnin' then I was flyin'


Lyrics submitted by oofus

"Highway 29" as written by Bruce Springsteen

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

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Highway 29 song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI think he completely made her up. "I told myself it was all something in her, but as we drove I knew it was something in me" makes me think that he is slowly starting to realize his capabilities as a criminal, etc. And the crash at the end is obviously the reality check, and "it was just a dream" is pretty ambiguous. What was a dream? Her? The robbery? The crash? All of it? I think however that the end is his death. It is a beautiful song nonetheless and one of my favorites from Tom Joad. Perhaps this is part of the reference to the Grapes of Wrath?
    InSilenceEasyon March 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthow come no-one has commented this song. It is my absolute favorite springsteen song. Maybe his most beautiful tune. A little uncertain what happens there in the end, are they being caught up with or is it a crash or what.
    hw29on March 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentInsilenceEasy - thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have always imagined that there was a roadblock around the bend/turn, a crash and blood and glass and crash and all. But I was never sure what he really meant.

    And to thewho3, why are you on this site anyway. This site is about just that: comments on songs. Your comments were absolutely worthless.
    hw29on June 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite Springsteen song! it's so beautiful. Anyway, I have imagined the end of the song meaning that there was a car crash, and when he says "she wasn't sayin nothin'" it's when he realizes she did't make it. and when he goes on to say "it was just a dream" it's him saying that to himself so that he doesn't let himself believe it really happened. Perhaps that's why at the beginning of the song he says "that's where it should've stopped" because she ended up dying. maybe??? any thoughts?
    karlijo41on February 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite Springsteen song! it's so beautiful. Anyway, I have imagined the end of the song meaning that there was a car crash, and when he says "she wasn't sayin nothin'" it's when he realizes she did't make it. and when he goes on to say "it was just a dream" it's him saying that to himself so that he doesn't let himself believe it really happened. Perhaps that's why at the beginning of the song he says "that's where it should've stopped" because she ended up dying. maybe??? any thoughts?
    karlijo41on February 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful haunting song. I believe originally he thought she was just the stimulus to his heart which he feels is "bad" anyway. I agree with Karlijo, there was a car wreck, and when he awakens, she is already dead and he's dying. Of course, I could be wrong. It probably is just a song about Bruce's pet duck. The Ghost of Tom Joad is my favorite Springsteen album. Quack-quack, thewho3.
    Sandy78on November 14, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is an incredible album for lyrics-some of his best. The events are hard to follow. I think it could be reminiscent of "The occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" in which the character has a hallucination as he's dying. Maybe, "I slept the sleep of the dead" means he died in the motel and what comes after is his experience as he is dying. Clearly, the end describes his death "I was runnin'.. then I was flyin'. The vision of bright light (snow and sky) could be like seeing the light. Just a thought. It is a fascinating lyric.
    gregjohnsonon November 21, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnother great example of Bruce's ability to write film noir in the context of a 3 minute song; most novelists and script writers would sell their soul for Springsteen's innate storytelling skills,

    Love how the first stanza uses four instances of the word "slip." It's a smart way to show the character's rational decision making process slowly "slipping" away. But he doesn't overdo it. For example, when she gives him her number he doesn't slip it in his pocket, he "puts" it there. As usual, Bruce knows when enough is enough.

    I take the song at face value. The girl is real, so is the bank robbery. After getting away he sleeps without dreaming, wakes up and they head for Mexico.

    But like another reader suggested, a roadblock forces him into the ditch. She's messed up; not dead, but in shock. He's in bad shape too; drifting in and and out of consciousness. That explains his feeling at the end that he starts running and ends up flying. Maybe he really did run? Just as likely he was lying in the road only dreaming that he was on his feet.

    I like how this song follows Straight Time on the album. In Straight Time the guy has "a cold mind to go tripping across that thin line." In Hwy 29 he actually does it. They have fun for a while, but ultimately his choices catch up with him.
    Kedzieon December 23, 2015   Link
  • -1
    General CommentGod I hate when people try to explain songs. The first thing I usually think of anyone's explanation is "That's stupid." But so much of these songs is open to individual explanation.

    This song is so beautiful it doesn't NEED anybody's comment.

    But the overall theme of the album is early 20th century America. Thus the conjuring of Tom Joad.

    This song's most obvious influence is Bonnie and Clyde. The entire song evokes those images but replaces Clyde with an early 20th century Bruce Springsteinn (or at least the Bruce Springstein legendary image.) Then there are these wide spaces left open for the listeners imagination... and the beautiful instrumental score to helo with the imagining process,

    No... No loser need come along and say "It's probably a song about a duck."

    The inspiration is clear. But the song is whatever you want it to be.
    thewho3on October 25, 2007   Link

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