Bruce Springsteen wrote this song as a tribute to keyboardist Danny Federici who died in 2008.
They’re taking all the tents down
Where have you gone my handsome Billy?
The carnival train’s leaving town
Where are you now darling Billy?
We won’t be dancing together on the high wire
Facing the lions with you at my side anymore
We won’t be breathin’ the smoke and the fire
On a midway
Hanging from the trapeze
My wrists waiting for your wrists
Two daredevils high up on the wall of death
You throwin’ the knife that lands inches from my heart
The light that was in your eyes has gone away
The thing in you that made me ache has gone to stay
We’ll be riding the train without you tonight
The train that keeps on movin’
Its black smoke scorching the evening sky
A millions stars shining above us like every soul livin’ and dead
Has been gathered together by a God to sing a hymn over your bones
Sun down, sun down
Empty are the fairgrounds
Where are you now handsome Billy?
I am totally captivated by the song’s carnival metaphor. Let’s give it a listen…..
Although the song is about a band, I think it is equally applicable to anyone that has ever had a job. Let’s face it, in the workplace we are all “performers”. Anyone that has ever ventured into a new Customer’s office to make a pitch with a co-worker can understand a comparison of that experience to “dancing together on the high wire”, “facing the lions”, and “breathing the smoke and fire”.
The part of the song that really tugs at my emotions is the train metaphor. All of us are riding on that same carnival train and at some point we get off and don’t get back on. The train has a schedule to keep and it is programmed to leave the station whether you are on it or not. Life is truly “The train that keeps on movin'”.
I haven’t quite figured out how to work this one into “My Final Playlist” but it is too good to not give it a shot.
As always, let me know what you think.
How about one more tribute song before we end the post?
In a word that is full of BS, the tears running down my face are real…… RIP Clarence and Danny!