I'm Goin' Down

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"I'm Goin' Down"
Single by Bruce Springsteen
from the album Born in the U.S.A.
B-side "Janey, Don't You Lose Heart"
Released September 7, 1985
Format 7" single
Recorded May 1982
Genre Rock
Length 3:29
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bruce Springsteen
Producer(s) Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt
Bruce Springsteen singles chronology
"Glory Days"
(1985)
"I'm Goin' Down"
(1985)
"My Hometown"
(1985)
Born in the U.S.A. track listing

"I'm Goin' Down" is a 1984 song written and performed by American rock singer Bruce Springsteen. In 1985, it became the sixth single released from his album Born in the U.S.A.

Background and recording[edit]

In October 1980, Springsteen released his fifth album, The River.[1] For his next album, which would become Nebraska, Springsteen initially recorded a demo cassette by himself of over a dozen songs on January 3, 1982.[2][3] In April 1982,[2] Springsteen began recording sessions at the Power Station studio in New York City with the E Street Band[4]Roy Bittan, Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici, Garry Tallent, Steve Van Zandt, and Max Weinberg—with production by Springsteen, Van Zandt, Jon Landau, and Chuck Plotkin.[5] At first, Springsteen attempted full-band versions of Nebraska songs at these sessions, including "Atlantic City", "Nebraska", and "Mansion on the Hill".[6] However, he and his co-producers were unsatisfied with the group renditions of the demo songs.[6] To buy time to decide on a solution, by May the band had begun recording other material,[6] including "I'm Goin' Down", "Born in the U.S.A.", "Glory Days", "Downbound Train", "Darlington County", "Working on the Highway", and "I'm on Fire".[7][8] "I'm Goin' Down" was put on tape on May 12.[9] Eventually, Springsteen decided to release the January demos as the Nebraska album,[10] which came out in September 1982,[11] such that "I'm Goin' Down" and other tracks recorded in May were temporarily shelved.[12]

In 1983, Springsteen did more songs with the E Street Band, but was considering instead recording his next album solo, like Nebraska.[8][13] By the following year, Landau and Plotkin had convinced Springsteen to release full-band tracks, including the May 1982 recordings and several subsequently recorded songs.[8][14] At one point, Springsteen was not going to include "I'm Goin' Down" on Born in The U.S.A., but he later added it in place of "Pink Cadillac",[15][16] which was used as the B-side of the "Dancing in the Dark" single.[16]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"I'm Goin' Down" features an energetic rhythm,[17][18] propelled by a heavy drumbeat by Weinberg,[17] and contains a saxophone solo by Clemons.[18] In concerts in 1984, Springsteen introduced the song by describing the diminishing intimacy and sexual activity that can occur over the course of a romantic relationship:[19][20] "[First] you're making love to 'em all the time, three or four times a day. Then you come back a little bit later, and, uh-oh ... it's like 'Are you gonna make love to me tonight, or are we gonna wait for the full moon again', y'know?"[19] The song's lyrics include lines such as "I'm sick and tired of you setting me up / Setting me up just to knock-a knock-a knock-a me down" and "You used to love to drive me wild / But lately girl you get your kicks from just driving me down".[21] The lyrics later turn into a stream of gibberish syllables.[17]

Release and reception[edit]

The "I'm Goin' Down" single was released in autumn 1985.[22] The 7" single version includes B-side "Janey, Don't You Lose Heart" while the 12" Maxi has this and "Held Up Without a Gun".[22][a 1] In the United States, "I'm Goin' Down" peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in autumn 1985.[23] It was Born in the U.S.A.‍ '​s sixth single,[24] one of a record-tying seven Top 10 singles to be released from the album.[18] It also reached No. 13 in Sweden,[22] No. 23 in Canada,[25] No. 29 in Italy,[26] and No. 61 in Germany.[22] No music video was made for the song.[27] "I'm Goin' Down" was also later released on 12" Singles Collection in 1985,[28] and The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973–1984 in 2014.[29]

"I'm Goin' Down" has generally been well received by critics. Debbie Miller of Rolling Stone describes the song as "wonderfully exuberant" and "hilarious".[17] For Billboard‍ '​s Caryn Rose, it is "a prime exemplar of the kind of good-time party song that Springsteen and E Street do best, sliding easily through the verses with a ... the bouncing rhythm ... and a fun, jumping end".[18] Writer Chuck Klosterman, who is not a fan of Born in the U.S.A., nonetheless rates "I'm Goin' Down" as one of only two decent tracks on the album.[30] A 2014 Rolling Stone article ranks "I'm Goin' Down" as the fifty-second best Bruce Springsteen song ever.[31] In the book Counting Down Bruce Springsteen: His 100 Finest Songs, writer Jim Beviglia puts "I'm Goin' Down" as the 131st best Springsteen track,[32] calling it "a fun but relatively minor" work.[33] Critic Bruce Pollock lists it and several other Born in the U.S.A. tracks in Rock Song Index: The 7500 Most Important Songs for the Rock and Roll Era.[34]

Live performances[edit]

A fan in East Rutherford on May 21, 2009 requests "I'm Goin' Down". Springsteen performed the song at the concert.[35]

Springsteen has played "I'm Goin' Down" infrequently since the end of the Born in the U.S.A. Tour.[31] On his Working on a Dream Tour in 2009, Springsteen performed the song 13 times out of 86 concert dates, in Tulsa (April 7), Los Angeles (April 15), Boston (April 22), East Rutherford (May 21), Stockholm (June 4), Frankfurt (July 3), Carhaix, France (July 16), Marsfield, Australia (August 23), Chicago (September 20), three more dates in East Rutherford (October 2, 3, and 9), and Philadelphia (October 20);[35] at the last three of these shows, Springsteen played the entire Born in the U.S.A. album.[35]

Cover versions[edit]

Various musicians have covered "I'm Goin' Down". The Razorbacks put out a recording of the composition on their 1995 album Reheated.[36] In 1998, Frank Black and the Catholics included a version on their "Dog Gone" single,[37] and in 2015 on The Complete Recordings.[38] In 2010, a performance by Free Energy was released as a single,[39] and Vampire Weekend included a recording of the song on their iTunes Session;[40] this later also appeared on the TV soundtrack Girls, Vol. 2: All Adventurous Women Do....[41] Also in 2010, the Starlite Singers released a rendition of "I'm Goin' Down" on their tribute album Glory Days (In the Style of Bruce Springsteen).[42] A cover by Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong came out in 2012 as part of his Tim Timebomb and Friends collection.[43] Dessa released a version on her 2013 album Parts of Speech,[44] and the following year, Trampled by Turtles did likewise on Dead Man's Town: A Tribute to Born in the U.S.A.[45] Radio personality Bob Rivers has done a parody cover of the song called "The Dow is Down".[46]

Formats and track listing[edit]

  1. "I'm Goin' Down" – 3:29
  2. "Janey, Don't You Lose Heart" – 3:23
  1. "I'm Goin' Down" – 3:29
  2. "Janey, Don't You Lose Heart" – 3:23
  3. "Held Up Without A Gun" – 1:15

Charts[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
position
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 23[25]
German Charts 61[22]
Italian Charts 29[26]
Swedish Charts 13[22]
US Billboard Hot 100 9[23]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Janey, Don't You Lose Heart" was later released on 12" Single Collection (1985), Tracks (1998), 18 Tracks (1999), and on the 1993 bootleg Solo Acoustic (see Ward).

Footnotes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]