Come to the door, Ma, and unlock the chain
I was just passin' through and got caught in the rain
There's nothin' I want, nothin' that you need say
Just let me lie down for a while and I'll be on my way

I was no more than a kid when you put me on the Southern Queen
With the police on my back I fled to New Orleans
I fought in the dockyards and with the money I made
I knew the fight was my home and blood was my trade

Baton Rouge, Ponchatoula, and Lafayette town
Well they paid me their money, Ma, I knocked the men down
I did what I did well it come easily
Restraint and mercy, Ma, were always strangers to me

I fought champion Jack Thompson in a field full of mud
Rain poured through the tent to the canvas and mixed with our blood
In the twelfth I slipped my tongue over my broken jaw
I stood over him and pounded his bloody body into the floor
Well the bell rang and rang and still I kept on
'Till I felt my glove leather slip 'tween his skin and bone

Then the women and the money came fast and the days I lost track
The women red, the money green, but the numbers were black
I fought for the men in their silk suits to lay down their bets
I took my good share, Ma, I have no regrets

Then I took the fix at the state armory with big John McDowell
From high in the rafters I watched myself fall
As they raised his arm my stomach twisted and the sky it went black
I stuffed my bag with their good money and I never looked back

Understand, in the end, Ma, every man plays the game
If you know me one different then speak out his name
Ma, if my voice now you don't recognize
Then just open the door and look into your dark eyes
I ask of you nothin', not a kiss not a smile,
Just open the door and let me lie down for a while

Now the gray rain's fallin' and my ring fightin's done
So in the work fields and alleys I take all who'll come
If you're a better man than me then just step to the line
Show me your money and speak out your crime
Now there's nothin' I want, Ma, nothin' that you need say
Just let me lie down for a while and I'll be on my way

Tonight in the shipyard a man draws a circle in the dirt
I move to the center and I take off my shirt
I study him for the cuts, the scars, the pain,
Man, nor time can erase
I move hard to the left and I strike to the face


Lyrics submitted by jnb987

The Hitter Lyrics as written by Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

The Hitter song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

5 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    General Comment

    How frikkin' good is my idol Bruce?? If this doesn't convince you, you're a lost cause. What a tale about a fighter who once fought legally but now illegally and things he went through. Now he just wants to lie down in Mama's house. Absolutely brilliant.

    springsteen: the greatest

    The Magic Raton October 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion

    The man knows how to tell a story through music! A fighter coming back to his mother after abandoning him early in his childhood. He carries that pain throughout his life letting sharing his story how he's no more no less than any other man. True grit, guts, and pain.

    lobo3352on May 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This is one of his most underrated narratives. It's so vivid, you can smell Depression era dirt on The Hitter's knuckles as he beckons his mother. You can almost see him flinch, from years of dishing and receiving beatings, as he steps to her front door.

    It's a brilliantly told story about a boy struggling to survive, meeting shady characters, and simply wanting to have a nap on his mom's couch. As if that'll fix things.

    illcosbyon May 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    on the D&D tour, before playing Leah Bruce said "we all we carry with us the seeds of our destruction, a great joke played on us by God, it comes along with free will, or semi free will, we also carry with us the seeds to bring good things into it all, so this is a song about a man who finally figuers out how to come down on just the right side of that equation".

    when introducing The Hitter, he said that that's about the other side of that equation, the seeds of our destruction....

    aldo1980on May 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning

    The hitter is every man -- struggling since youth to find a way to bring women and money and pride into their lives. Men who do what they have to do to survive, sometimes just wrong and sometimes illegal; many times unbearable to the sole. Living a life that eats you up and spits you out and all you want is to escape for a few minutes in the comfort of Mother. In the end, they are surrounded by everything they have draw to them along their journey.

    drkathon July 19, 2012   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!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
The Night We Met
Lord Huron
This is a hauntingly beautiful song about introspection, specifically about looking back at a relationship that started bad and ended so poorly, that the narrator wants to go back to the very beginning and tell himself to not even travel down that road. I believe that the relationship started poorly because of the lines: "Take me back to the night we met:When the night was full of terrors: And your eyes were filled with tears: When you had not touched me yet" So, the first night was not a great start, but the narrator pursued the relationship and eventually both overcame the rough start to fall in love with each other: "I had all and then most of you" Like many relationships that turn sour, it was not a quick decline, but a gradual one where the narrator and their partner fall out of love and gradually grow apart "Some and now none of you" Losing someone who was once everything in your world, who you could confide in, tell your secrets to, share all the most intimate parts of your life, to being strangers with that person is probably one of the most painful experiences a person can go through. So Painful, the narrator wants to go back in time and tell himself to not even pursue the relationship. This was the perfect song for "13 Reasons Why"
Album art
Punchline
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran sings about missing his former partner and learning important life lessons in the process on “Punchline.” This track tells a story of battling to get rid of emotions for a former lover, whom he now realized might not have loved him the same way. He’s now caught between accepting that fact and learning life lessons from it and going back to beg her for another chance.
Album art
Head > Heels
Ed Sheeran
“Head > Heels” is a track that aims to capture what it feels like to experience romance that exceeds expectations. Ed Sheeran dedicates his album outro to a lover who has blessed him with a unique experience that he seeks to describe through the song’s nuanced lyrics.
Album art
American Town
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran shares a short story of reconnecting with an old flame on “American Town.” The track is about a holiday Ed Sheeran spends with his countrywoman who resides in America. The two are back together after a long period apart, and get around to enjoying a bunch of fun activities while rekindling the flames of their romance.
Album art
Page
Ed Sheeran
There aren’t many things that’ll hurt more than giving love a chance against your better judgement only to have your heart crushed yet again. Ed Sheeran tells such a story on “Page.” On this track, he is devastated to have lost his lover and even more saddened by the feeling that he may never move on from this.