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|
|Producer(s)||Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt|
|Bruce Springsteen singles chronology|
"I'm Goin' Down" was recorded in May 1982 during the first wave of Born in the U.S.A. sessions. The track went on and off and back on the short list to make the album, finally bumping "Pink Cadillac" out of a place and into the B-side queue.
There was some controversy surrounding the release of yet another single from the album, which had been out for well over a year at that point. Cliff Bernstein, manager of Def Leppard and Dokken, said "I think a sixth single is a little bit of overkill."
During a concert in 2008, Springsteen commented on the song: "This is a song that almost didn't make the Born in the U.S.A. record; it was this or 'Pink Cadillac'... We've played this a few times, it's good for a laugh, and probably one of my most insightful songs about men and women". And after performing the song in a 2009 concert he commented that the song was "...a forgotten masterpiece".
- I'm Goin' Down - 3:29
- Janey, Don't You Lose Heart - 3:23
The B-side of the single, "Janey, Don't You Lose Heart" is a mid-tempo outtake from the latter stages of the Born in the U.S.A. recording sessions. It has often been rumored that the song was written for or about Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks, although neither Springsteen or Nicks have confirmed this. In 1985 E Street Band newcomer Nils Lofgren made his first recorded appearance with Springsteen, by overdubbing a backing vocal onto the 1983 track (and in doing so replacing those of Steven Van Zandt on the recording. The Van Zandt version also ran nearly a minute longer, with a long instrumental coda on the end that was later scrubbed from the official release). Many years later "Janey" would surface on the box set Tracks.
Live performance history
One of the least-performed Springsteen songs, "I'm Goin' Down" was irregularly played in the 1984 first leg of the Born in the U.S.A. Tour, then played not at all for a long stretch, then revived during the final summer 1985 leg, usually alternating with "Darlington County" in the set list.
After that tour, "I'm Goin' Down" disappeared from sight completely for almost two decades, until it made three appearances in 2003 during The Rising Tour. Indeed "I'm Goin' Down" was largely forgotten not only by the general rock and pop audience but by the Bruce faithful as well, who have seen in preference several non-single tracks from Born in the U.S.A., such as "Working on the Highway", "Bobby Jean", and "No Surrender", became standard parts of the Springsteen repertoire. The song has only been played 57 times live, as of the end of his Working on a Dream Tour, making it the least performed song of the whole Born in the U.S.A. album. It was performed only seven times outside the United States, in a concert in Barcelona in 2008 during the Magic Tour, thrice during the Working on a Dream Tour, and a further three times during the Wrecking Ball Tour in 2012. On October 21, 2012, a Hamilton, Ontario fan requested I'm Goin' Down, saying he'd recently been dumped by his girlfriend. Bruce consoled the fan with a hug, and obliged the request. The request and performance are featured in the documentary Springsteen & I, which explores the connection between Springsteen and his fans.
By the mid-late 2000s, there was a modicum of renewed interest in the song, with Frank Black recording it on the 2006 compilation Snake Oil and in early 2008 Kid Harpoon and Florence and the Machine doing a cover of the song. Most recently, Free Energy has covered the song on a tour-only split 7". In late 2010, Vampire Weekend performed a live version of the song in Vancouver. "I'm Goin' Down" is also included on their "iTunes session". In 2012 Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong recorded the track as part of his Tim Timebomb and Friends collection. A cover of the song appears on Dessa's record, Parts of Speech, released in 2013.
- Marsh, Glory Days, p. 178.
- Marsh, Glory Days, p. 363.
- "2008 Setlists". Backstreets.com. Retrieved 2012-02-24.