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 song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentHow 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 OpinionThe 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 CommentThis 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 Commenton 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 MeaningThe 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

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