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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Boss on the Hold Up Game (and Gas Prices)

Back in June, after Adam Liptak's NYT article about the use of Dylan's lyrics in judicial opnions, Prof. Katrina Kuh lamented that:

Bruce Springsteen ranks as the third most-cited rocker in judicial opinions. However, I can’t help but think that, even coming in at number three, the Boss is being underutilized in the judicial lexicon.

"To help matters along," she offered some suggestions "for incorporating Springsteen lyrics into decisions."

Well, I figure it is a worthwhile effort, and I am writing here to endorse it. You see, I actually did some research last night at Giants Stadium. I had the opportunity to see Bruuuuuuce; it was a great show.

Bruce took sign requests from the crowd and, about midway through the set, he played a fan's request for "Held Up Without a Gun." This is a somewhat obscure song off a 2003 release called "The Essential Bruce Springsteen," which has a third disc of live recordings. "Held Up Without a Gun" was recorded back in 1980, but, to the extent it is about high gas prices, it could have been written today. The Boss remarked that the band had played the song maybe twice before, and dedicated the song "to what it cost you guys to drive here."

But, I couldn't help thinking that the song was, additionally, about economic duress:

I was out driving just a taking it slow Looked at my tank it was reading low Pulled in a Exxon station out on Highway One Held up without a gun, held up without a gun

Some damn fool
with a guitar
walkin' down
the street
ain't got
nowhere to go
Ain't got
nothing to eat
Man with a cigar says,
"Sign here son"
Held up without
a gun, held up
without a gun

Now it's a sin
and it oughta
be a crime
You know it
happens buddy
all the time
Try to make a
living, try to
have a little
fun
Held up without
a gun, held up
without a gun

[Meredith R. Miller]

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