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Bruce Springsteen — I'm On Fire
Album: Born In The U.S.A.
Avg rating:
7.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1881









Released: 1984
Length: 2:22
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Hey little girl, is your daddy home?
Did he go away and leave you all alone, mm-hmm?
I got a bad desire
Oh-oh-oh, I'm on fire

Tell me now, baby, is he good to you?
Can he do to you the things that I do, uh-huh?
I can take you higher
Oh-oh-oh, I'm on fire

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby, edgy and dull
And cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my skull
At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
And a freight train running through the middle of my head
Only you can cool my desire
Oh-oh-oh, I'm on fire
Oh-oh-oh, I'm on fire
Oh-oh-oh, I'm on fire
Comments (205)add comment
The Staves cover this and it put me to bits
 Sofa_King wrote:


You're not. Unless 'daddy' means something VERY different in this context, this song is basically about incest and its alternatives.
 

No.  Recorded in 1984, thus a different meaning.
 user4176 wrote:
Just a good example of how fast language and social norms are changing these days. When this came out, nobody thought twice about the lyrics. It was just a song about a horny guy and his love interest. Nowadays he (the fictious guy saying these words) would have to face a full blown investigation for sexual harrassement and possibly pedophilia. A social media shitstorm for the artist writing these lyrics would be guaranteed.

I'm not sure this is for the better of humanity, though.

 

People may react as you describe.  But the reason is that women have rejected the term "girl." Now the word means "child", thus promoting your scenario.
 lkovathana wrote:
I guess I'm the only one who finds the lyrics creepy. 


 

You're not. Unless 'daddy' means something VERY different in this context, this song is basically about incest and its alternatives.
 SpinyNorma wrote:
Fact: If you play the vinyl album version of this track at 45 instead of 33, it sounds *exactly* like Dolly Parton.

You're welcome 
 
So, the opposite of Slow Dolly then?
 grt5302888 wrote:
Sometimes it's like someone took a knife,
Baby, edgy and dull,
And cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul.

Don't get more intense than that. 
 
Middle of my skull?  (Rhymes with dull.)  Equally intense.
IMO the best off this album and one of the best from the Boss. It may have gotten a lot of play during the 80s but there's a reason it's survived <3 Thanks, RP!
just brilliant... :)
Fact: If you play the vinyl album version of this track at 45 instead of 33, it sounds *exactly* like Dolly Parton.

You're welcome 
 grt5302888 wrote:
Sometimes it's like someone took a knife,
Baby, edgy and dull,
And cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul.

Don't get more intense than that. 
 
Sometimes I hear "skull" and sometimes I hear "soul".  Not sure which is more intense.
 Bleyfusz wrote:
Last time I'd heard that song - not all too long ago - I had no idea was COVID-19 was. And now look at us.

(Sorry for the off-topic.)
 
Yeah, off topic. What does this song have to do with COVID-19?

Last time I'd heard that song - not all too long ago - I had no idea was COVID-19 was. And now look at us.

(Sorry for the off-topic.)
 tulfan wrote:
I am not a Bruce fan although I have become a bit more tolerant of some of his work. This one though has always stood out to me.
 
Right there with you - not AT ALL a Bruce fan but love this tune...
Don't always get Springsteen... This track is just sublime though!!!
Whitehorse (Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucette) do a rather fine cover of this.
I remember a DJ way back when announcing this song like this: "Bruce Springsteen, 'I'm On Fire'. Who isn't?" (Chicagoans – it was Garry Meier in the Steve and Garry days.)
lets not overthink this, its a good song
It also works pretty well as a slow Irish ballad.


 fossphur wrote:
This still reads like “unwanted male attention” the song, to me. He spends the whole time focused on his own desires over anything else. That said, song still sounds good and it’s not like an artist can’t sing in character. I don’t think this reflects poorly on Bruce Springsteen at all even though this song has always made me feel uncomfortable. The intensity is real.
 
I think this is the salient point (in bold italics). We can never assume the songwriter is writing about him/herself.
As I've mentioned before, Paul Simon was never a boxer and I think it's safe to say John Fogerty never hitched a ride on a riverboat queen.
Sometimes it's like someone took a knife,
Baby, edgy and dull,
And cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul.

Don't get more intense than that. 
Never much dug this phase. Always seemed like some kinda pose
 justin4kick wrote:


"Hey little girl, is your daddy home?"

Not my idea of sexy.

 Just a good example of how fast language and social norms are changing these days. When this came out, nobody thought twice about the lyrics. It was just a song about a horny guy and his love interest. Nowadays he (the fictious guy saying these words) would have to face a full blown investigation for sexual harrassement and possibly pedophilia. A social media shitstorm for the artist writing these lyrics would be guaranteed.

I'm not sure this is for the better of humanity, though.

 On_The_Beach wrote:

Agreed.
Nor was "little girl" meant to be taken literally.
This is Bruce, not Harvey Weinstein.

 
This still reads like “unwanted male attention” the song, to me. He spends the whole time focused on his own desires over anything else. That said, song still sounds good and it’s not like an artist can’t sing in character. I don’t think this reflects poorly on Bruce Springsteen at all even though this song has always made me feel uncomfortable. The intensity is real.
 Imkirok wrote:
I don't think he was implying it was her father, but rather her boyfriend or husband.
 
Agreed.
Nor was "little girl" meant to be taken literally.
This is Bruce, not Harvey Weinstein.
Hafta disagree Bill.  I heard this song a few times my max tolerance for it 40 years ago when it was first overplayed beyond all reason.  If I never heard it again that would be fine with me.

To be honest, its not a bad song.  Just wayyyy overplayed.
 justin4kick wrote:


"Hey little girl, is your daddy home?"

Not my idea of sexy.

 
I don't think he was implying it was her father, but rather her boyfriend or husband.


Where are you, Bruce's fans? Because i must say that i live with  Bruce since 40 years and he keeps swingings for me! The real music boss. About this fantastic song, i have a trouble, how old is the little girl? It could be frightening, could he?
 Leetzy wrote:
IMO, one of the sexiest songs ever written.

 

"Hey little girl, is your daddy home?"

Not my idea of sexy.
 Leetzy wrote:
IMO, one of the sexiest songs ever written.

 
agreed {#Yes}
GTT wrote:
I was about to say that Springsteen is the one renowned musician that I strongly dislike, but then I tried PSD and got Dire Straits.  I stand corrected, that makes two.

 

 {#No}
I was about to say that Springsteen is the one renowned musician that I strongly dislike, but then I tried PSD and got Dire Straits.  I stand corrected, that makes two.
Avoiding songs like this was pretty much the main reason I chose to listen to RP
IMO, one of the sexiest songs ever written.
 rdo wrote:
Heavy handed lyrics, not a bad tune, a bit seedy
love this song!
 is this the personality type you conjure rdo:
 

Jackelamkansas01.jpg

"mmmmm, yeah baby (sluuurrrp), yum yuummmm..."
Some of my favorite Springsteen songs are done by other people like "All That Heaven Will Allow" by The Mavericks
 leathepea wrote:
I still hear Elmur Fud. Thank you Robin Williams!

 
It's still the wrong song.  And artist.
Not a Bruce fan (but I do respect him) - this song is a massive exception - awesome tune!
I still hear Elmur Fud. Thank you Robin Williams!
Only a handful of Springsteen songs are true perfection, this is one of them. 
I would have to agree.  This song really stands out.  I don't particularly like the rest of the album. 
   eveliko wrote:
A quite irritating album to me, except this song.

 


A quite irritating album to me, except this song.
 bstevens1951 wrote:
I like that description too.
Cinematic; I like that.
 

Dog_Ear wrote:
Not every selection on RP does it for me. But enough. If I had to chose one adjective to describe the general theme of RP, it would be  . . . Cinematic.

Which to me also means Driving Music. Mountains and or deserts. Whats more fun than that.

Thanks RP. 

 

 


Cinematic; I like that.
 

Dog_Ear wrote:
Not every selection on RP does it for me. But enough. If I had to chose one adjective to describe the general theme of RP, it would be  . . . Cinematic.

Which to me also means Driving Music. Mountains and or deserts. Whats more fun than that.

Thanks RP. 

 


Not every selection on RP does it for me. But enough. If I had to chose one adjective to describe the general theme of RP, it would be  . . . Cinematic.

Which to me also means Driving Music. Mountains and or deserts. Whats more fun than that.

Thanks RP. 
 indypaul wrote:

Wrong song. That was "Fire" made popular by Pointer Sisters.

 
Sorry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vT-VaMXsAw  -  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5PoIrcyd34
Very scary and dirty lyrics?
he's ALIVE and full all the way with HOPE, man, wanting that sweet thing so bad he's burning .. whoa !!! 
Bruce's voice, that beat and everything in this song is fabulous 
 milleronic wrote:
I can't help but sing along to this in Elmer Fudd's voice, thanks to an old routine by Robin Williams...

 
Wrong song. That was "Fire" made popular by Pointer Sisters.

Happy Birthday!


Americana brilliance.
Never been a great fan, but this....  wow!
Nice song back in the day and now!
It's not cool to be a Bruce fan here in Seger country and as a fan of neither, this is simply masterful.
If I was on fire the song I would write about it would be way more frantic.  
This brings back great memories from the summer this album came out. 

{#Good-vibes}
Heavy handed lyrics, not a bad tune, a bit seedy
 ceicilbee wrote:
30 years old?  holy crap....

 
"Greetings from Asbury Park" is past 40 years now. 

:-O
 
This song and "brilliant disguise" are my Bruce faves. Minimal yet full of emotion.
30 years old?  holy crap....
...swati does a gorgeous cover of this song...
 lkovathana wrote:

I guess I'm the only one who finds the lyrics creepy. 



 

No, you´re not the only one.
Yes it is. No question. But I'm On Fire gives it a good run for it's money. So simple, and yet simply brilliant.


JckTorance wrote:
Downbound Train is best song on the album.

 


 jbunniii wrote:
By the time this was released as a single in 1984, I was completely fatigued by this album due to all the radio play, so I pretty much hated the song. It has held up very well, though, better than anything else on the album.

  Downbound Train is best song on the album.
 jbunniii wrote:
By the time this was released as a single in 1984, I was completely fatigued by this album due to all the radio play, so I pretty much hated the song. It has held up very well, though, better than anything else on the album.

 

I agree, I hate this album overall but this song is good.
{#Sleep}
Best train song ever. 
I can't help but sing along to this in Elmer Fudd's voice, thanks to an old routine by Robin Williams...
By the time this was released as a single in 1984, I was completely fatigued by this album due to all the radio play, so I pretty much hated the song. It has held up very well, though, better than anything else on the album.

marvelous song from a great album...  love it...
 

love it...

memories of the way we were...
 

This classic song is soooo good for the ears...

yep , you got that right...... my year for sure!

Just another song that shows that 1984 may have been the greatest year ever for pop music.

 
 


Just another song that shows that 1984 may have been the greatest year ever for pop music.

 
Not a big Bruce fan, but this one is amazing!
My fave Boss track.
Speaking in the language clinic, these symptoms have a name .....

.
 
On_The_Beach wrote:

So, I'm a little unclear; you like the album?

 

I like this song:)

Can you please play Led Zeppelin 'Since i've been loving you'?
Timeless piece !
The album cover is marketing gold.  

"Even if people don't like the music, women will still by the album for the big picture of Springsteen's ass." 
 rathersnappish wrote:

It's "skull".  On the original version from Born In The U.S.A. it's a little indistinct, but on the live version from Live/1975-85 you can hear it pretty clearly.

 
according to his official site, it's soul

I'm On Fire
Hey little girl is your daddy home
Did he go away and leave you all alone
I got a bad desire
I'm on fire Tell me now baby is he good to you
Can he do to you the things that I do
I can take you higher
I'm on fire Sometimes it's like someone took a knife baby
edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley
through the middle of my soul At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
and a freight train running through the
middle of my head
Only you can cool my desire
I'm on fire



I guess I'm the only one who finds the lyrics creepy. 


 ubuntourist wrote:
He makes that freight train running through the middle of his head come alive — complete with both the rhythm of the rails and the steam whistle.  "Wooo-hoooo!"
 
This is the best bit of a wonderful track!!!
he is the only one
 Imkirok wrote:

I also thought it was "soul."  I like the concept of soul better, but skull adds a different meaning as well.
 
It's "skull".  On the original version from Born In The U.S.A. it's a little indistinct, but on the live version from Live/1975-85 you can hear it pretty clearly.

Bruce is usually too pompous for me, but I have always really liked this one.
My fave Boss track - very haunting..

Amy MacDonald - Dancing in the Dark, Live Manchester (2008)
Amy MacDonald performs Dancing in the Dark at the Manchester Academy 22nd May 2008.

 calypsus_1 wrote:
OMFG!

This album is one of the best work ever in music history. An extraordinary piece of music. Every minute, every moment of the disc stands on its own.
Furthermore, although  was created 26 years ago, remains relevant today ,worth its sal, and indispensable in any library audófilo.
This disc, by itself, justifies the reason for an artist to exist.


 
So, I'm a little unclear; you like the album?

He makes that freight train running through the middle of his head come alive — complete with both the rhythm of the rails and the steam whistle.  "Wooo-hoooo!"
Not a bad song...but I'm real done with Bruce. 
 linden wrote:

For the longest time when I was a kid I thought the last word in the last line was "skull." That sounds terrible, I used to think. Now that I'm older, I can't help but wonder how a knife can be both edgy and dull. But whatever, I still like the song.

 
I also thought it was "soul."  I like the concept of soul better, but skull adds a different meaning as well.



Tori Amos - "I'm On Fire" Live-acoustic
Bat for Lashes - "I'm On Fire" Live
"I don't think Natasha has been influenced by Tori much if at all, at least I don't see it and I don't think she's ever mentioned her? Natashas music makes me think of the 80's.. movies like Labyrinth, Legend, Willow.. and music like Annie Lennox, Kate Bush, and The Cure! I like this version better than Toris, but not quite as much as the original. "

"I wonder why Natasha Khan doesn't give more props to Tori Amos, who has had clearly had a lot of influence on her. Tori has covered this too and I do think her version is better. This is good too but not on par. "

"am a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen and this song according to me can't be "covered" (I don't know if it's correct)...this cover wastes the magic of the song... "


Bruce Springsteen - "I'm on fire", Amnesty (1988)
"One of the best versions that I've heard of this song was this! Awesome show in Argentina, november 1988. "




The Boss 2 by ~Malvetron
©2007-2010 ~Malvetron

Bruce Springsteen @ The Hartford Civic Center 10/2/07


Best song off of a horrible album!

Johnny Cash - "I'm On Fire"
Hey little girl is your daddy home
Did he go away and leave you all alone
I got a bad desire
I'm on fire
Tell me now baby is he good to you
Can he do to you the things that I do
I can take you higher
I'm on fire
Sometimes it's like someone took a knife baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my skull
At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
And a freight train running through the
Middle of my head
Only you can cool my desire
I'm on fire


Bruce Springsteen - "I'm on Fire" Live, Paris (1985)

Bruce Live on street in Copenhagen, performed with street musician John Magnusson on 7.23.88

"I guess not many international rock stars would have done it..."

"He is being a street a musician on that day not a superstar. How often do street musicians give autographs? this is classic bruce, its about performng not fame. "

best song on this album.


Incredible song. "I'm on Fire" and "Downbound Train" are two of his most underrated. Gutty songs that tell stories from a point-of-view few artist's could comprehend.
I was never a Boss fan (don't worry, not a hater) but I always admired the simplicity of this song. The ability to tell a complex story in so few words is a great thing and I love the understated composition. For much of the song all we hear is the keyboard, drum, and pizzicato guitar. It's his best work I think.
 lyn wrote:
I know this is old.
I know it  was overplayed.
But there's a reason....always a lovely song. And for those who think the lyrics are simplistic, may i recommend some other simplistic writers?  Wordsworth? Robert Frost?  Pete Seeger?
Not to say Bruce is always in their ranks, but simplicity is not equal to banality, and a clean simple line is beautiful in many kinds of art.
 Simply perfectly said. {#Cheers}


...swati does a nice cover of this song...

 linden wrote:
For the longest time when I was a kid I thought the last word in the last line was "skull." That sounds terrible, I used to think. Now that I'm older, I can't help but wonder how a knife can be both edgy and dull. But whatever, I still like the song.
 
I'm pretty sure it is "skull". Listen to some of the live versions on youtube.
Not like it matters. Great song, either way.

 keller1 wrote:
 "Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull
And cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul"
 
For the longest time when I was a kid I thought the last word in the last line was "skull." That sounds terrible, I used to think. Now that I'm older, I can't help but wonder how a knife can be both edgy and dull. But whatever, I still like the song.

 jagdriver wrote:
Now cut that out!
 
Was that an intentional reference to Jack Benny or am I just REALLY REALLY old?

 lyn wrote:
I know this is old.
I know it  was overplayed.
But there's a reason....always a lovely song.

Right you are.  (Although I don't think I like that old comment!)

simplicity is not equal to banality, and a clean simple line is beautiful in many kinds of art.

It's not only that simple can be beautiful, but it is also much more difficult to do well.

Those going on about how simple it is, with the implication that it is therefore easy to do, are significantly beyond the 5th grade, but offer nothing but their whining.  Maybe someday they'll show us what they got that's better.  I won't hold my breath.

The Gaslight Anthem references this song on their latest album.
 Mandible wrote:

WOW, these lyrics!!!!!!!!!!! Firey, hot, poetry.  I never noticed this song or liked it much until I heard the Tori Amos cover.


 
Ditto.  The freight train running through my head is all too understandable.

WHAT,,,cut that short ??{#Grumpy}

WOW, these lyrics!!!!!!!!!!! Firey, hot, poetry.  I never noticed this song or liked it much until I heard the Tori Amos cover.


 lyn wrote:
I know this is old.
I know it  was overplayed.
But there's a reason....always a lovely song. And for those who think the lyrics are simplistic, may i recommend some other simplistic writers?  Wordsworth? Robert Frost?  Pete Seeger?
Not to say Bruce is always in their ranks, but simplicity is not equal to banality, and a clean simple line is beautiful in many kinds of art.
 
{#Cheers} You go, Vancouver Girl!

 keller1 wrote:
 kazuma wrote:
"
Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull
And cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul"
 
One of my all time favorite lyrics.  Get chills up the spine every time I hear it.

 calypsus_1 wrote:

greetings mr. Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen!

** 9 **

 
Now cut that out!

(My personal tirade against Mr. Calypsus Annoying Ad Nauseum aside, this is my all-time favorite BS song. It provided a great soundtrack to a very sensual dream one early morning during REM {read: sleep, not rock group} . Made me want to go back to sleep to experience how THAT dream ended!)

I know this is old.
I know it  was overplayed.
But there's a reason....always a lovely song. And for those who think the lyrics are simplistic, may i recommend some other simplistic writers?  Wordsworth? Robert Frost?  Pete Seeger?
Not to say Bruce is always in their ranks, but simplicity is not equal to banality, and a clean simple line is beautiful in many kinds of art.
 keller1 wrote:
 kazuma wrote:
Terrible, simple-minded, cliched lyrics that sound like they were written by a fifth grader. Hard to believe this is the same guy who was writing such creative, poetic material only a few years earlier.

"
Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull
And cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul"

Take some passion out of petty cash.  You're down a quart.
 
And even if it is "simple-minded or cliche"... tell me that as a human being your thoughts are never simple or cliche!

 kazuma wrote:
Terrible, simple-minded, cliched lyrics that sound like they were written by a fifth grader. Hard to believe this is the same guy who was writing such creative, poetic material only a few years earlier.

"
Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull
And cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul"

Take some passion out of petty cash.  You're down a quart.


 

Greetings Mr. Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen!

** 9 **




 kazuma wrote:
Terrible, simple-minded, cliched lyrics that sound like they were written by a fifth grader. Hard to believe this is the same guy who was writing such creative, poetic material only a few years earlier.
 
Sigh.  So true.  "Greetings from Asbury Park" turned a 16 year old on her head.  That, and Velvet Underground. 

kazuma wrote:
Terrible, simple-minded, cliched lyrics that sound like they were written by a fifth grader. Hard to believe this is the same guy who was writing such creative, poetic material only a few years earlier.
You listen to the lyrics?? :exclaim: