The Ghost of Tom Joad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Ghost of Tom Joad
The Ghost of Tom Joad.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 21, 1995
RecordedMarch–September 1995
StudioThrill Hill Recording
GenreFolk, folk rock
Length50:16
LabelColumbia
ProducerBruce Springsteen, Chuck Plotkin
Bruce Springsteen chronology
Greatest Hits
(1995)
The Ghost of Tom Joad
(1995)
Blood Brothers
(1996)
Singles from The Ghost of Tom Joad
  1. "The Ghost of Tom Joad"
    Released: November 21, 1995

The Ghost of Tom Joad is the eleventh studio album, and the second acoustic album, by American recording artist Bruce Springsteen, released on November 21, 1995, by Columbia Records. It reached the Top Ten in two countries, and the Top Twenty in five more, including No. 11 in the United States, his first studio album to fail to reach the US Top Ten in over two decades. It won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

Composition[edit]

Springsteen wrote and recorded the album between March and September, 1995, at Thrill Hill West, his home studio in Los Angeles, California. Following that year's studio reunion with the E Street Band and the release of Greatest Hits, Springsteen's writing activity had increased significantly, resulting in this album, which consists of seven solo tracks and five band tracks.

Most tracks are backed by acoustic guitar work and the lyrics are generally a somber reflection of life in the mid-1990s in America and Mexico.[1] The character of Tom Joad entered the American consciousness in John Steinbeck’s 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath, set against the economic hardships of the Great Depression.[1] This spawned a film version starring Henry Fonda, which in turn inspired folk singer Woody Guthrie to pen "The Ballad of Tom Joad".[1]

Springsteen was also influenced by Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson's 1985 study of homelessness, Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass.[2] The album's release was followed by Springsteen's solo acoustic Ghost of Tom Joad Tour, which ran from 1995 to 1997 and took place in mostly small venues.[1]

Release[edit]

The Ghost of Tom Joad debuted at number eleven on the US Billboard 200 chart, with 107,000 copies sold in its first week.[3] However, it broke a string of eight consecutive Top 5 studio albums in the United States for Springsteen.[4] The album won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[5]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[6]
The Guardian[7]
Houston Chronicle[8]
Los Angeles Times[9]
NME9/10[10]
Pitchfork7.6/10[11]
Q[12]
Rolling Stone[13]
USA Today[14]

The Ghost of Tom Joad received mostly favorable reviews, but also drew some sharp criticism. Mikal Gilmore of Rolling Stone called it "Springsteen's best album in ten years," and considered it "among the bravest work that anyone has given us this decade."[13] He characterised it as Springsteen's "first overtly social statement since Born in the U.S.A.", and as having "an obvious kinship with Spingsteen’s 1982 masterwork, Nebraska", the artist's first acoustic album. Bill Wyman of The Chicago Reader expressed disappointment that "Springsteen can be so literal that it's hard to appreciate some of the record's subtleties." He criticized the album for being "stolidly depoppified to ensure that no one will derive actual pleasure from it."[15]

In The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for the year's best albums, The Ghost of Tom Joad placed at No. 8.[16] Robert Christgau, the poll's creator, simultaneously commended and criticized the album for being "the most courageous and the most depressing of the year," pointing out that Springsteen was the only artist in the poll's Top 40 "to directly address the war on the poor (and, increasingly, what is called the middle class) that is now the political agenda of the industrialized world." He also took aim at what he said was Springsteen's choice "to muffle his songs, so that only those who really want to hear their despair will bother trying." Christgau lamented that the "tunes, arrangements, and mysteriously praised 'phrasing' aren’t just forbiddingly minimal — often they’re rather careless", and dubbed the album "a bore".[17]

Track listing[edit]

All songs are written by Bruce Springsteen.

No.TitleLength
1."The Ghost of Tom Joad"4:23
2."Straight Time"3:25
3."Highway 29"3:39
4."Youngstown"3:52
5."Sinaloa Cowboys"3:51
6."The Line"5:14
7."Balboa Park"3:19
8."Dry Lightning"3:30
9."The New Timer"5:45
10."Across the Border"5:24
11."Galveston Bay"5:04
12."My Best Was Never Good Enough"2:00

Unreleased outtakes[edit]

Twelve of the 22 songs recorded during the album's sessions made the final cut while "Dead Man Walkin'" was released on the soundtrack for the movie Dead Man Walking and later on The Essential Bruce Springsteen and "Brothers Under the Bridge" was released on Tracks. "I'm Turning Into Elvis" and "It's the Little Things That Count" remain unreleased; however, they were performed live while "Idiot's Delight" and "I'm Not Sleeping" were also performed live and along with "1945" and "Cheap Motel" were co-written with Joe Grushecky, who recorded the four songs for his 1997 album Coming Home.[18]

  • "Cynthia"
  • "Tiger Rose"
  • "I'm Turning Into Elvis"
  • "It's the Little Things That Count"
  • "Idiot's Delight"
  • "I'm Not Sleeping"
  • "1945"
  • "Cheap Motel"

Personnel[edit]

Credits as listed in the album liner notes.[19]

Musicians

Technical

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Certifications and sales for The Ghost of Tom Joad
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[38] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[39] Gold 25,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[40] Gold 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[41] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[42] Gold 100,000*
Italy 200,000[43]
Norway (IFPI Norway)[44] Gold 25,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[45] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[46] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[47] Gold 500,000^
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[48] Platinum 1,000,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Symynkywicz, Jeffery B. (2008). The Gospel According to Bruce Springsteen: Rock and Redemption, from Asbury Park to Magic. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-23169-1. p. 122.
  2. ^ "Faces of the Forsaken". Hartford Courant. September 18, 1996. p. 45. Retrieved October 19, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ JERRY CROWE and ROBERT HILBURN (November 30, 1995). "Something to Twist and Shout About : Pop music: Beatles' album sells more than 855,000 copies its first week--the third highest ever--and initial figures are believed to be a revenue record". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ "Bruce Springsteen – Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  5. ^ Deming, Mark. "The Ghost of Tom Joad – Bruce Springsteen". AllMusic. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  6. ^ Browne, David (November 24, 1995). "The Ghost of Tom Joad". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 16, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  7. ^ Sweeting, Adam (November 24, 1995). "Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost of Tom Joad (Columbia)". The Guardian.
  8. ^ Selvin, Joel (November 19, 1995). "Springsteen, the Storyteller". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  9. ^ Hilburn, Robert (November 19, 1995). "The Return to Desolate Highway". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  10. ^ "Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost of Tom Joad". NME. November 18, 1995. p. 46.
  11. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (May 19, 2018). "Bruce Springsteen / The E Street Band: The Album Collection Vol. 2, 1987–1996". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  12. ^ "Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost of Tom Joad". Q. No. 162. March 2000. p. 124.
  13. ^ a b Gilmore, Mikal (December 28, 1995). "The Ghost Of Tom Joad". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  14. ^ Gundersen, Edna (November 20, 1995). "Springsteen's stark vision of 'Tom Joad'". USA Today.
  15. ^ Wyman, Bill (1995-11-30). "Theater Critic's Choice: Bruce Springsteen". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  16. ^ "The 1995 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. February 20, 1996. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 20, 1996). "Lost in the Soundscape". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  18. ^ "Brucebase - the Ghost of Tom Joad - Studio Sessions". Archived from the original on 2015-02-13. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  19. ^ "Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost Of Tom Joad". Discogs. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  20. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  21. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  23. ^ "Listen – Danmarks Officielle Hitliste – Udarbejdet af AIM Nielsen for IFPI Danmark – Uge 47". Ekstra Bladet (in Danish). Copenhagen. November 26, 1995.
  24. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  25. ^ "Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  26. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  27. ^ "History" (in Italian). FIMI. Retrieved May 31, 2022. Search "The Ghost of Tom Joad" as a "Titolo" then click "Classifiche".
  28. ^ "Charts.nz – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  29. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  30. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  31. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  32. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  33. ^ "Bruce Springsteen | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  34. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  35. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  36. ^ "End of Year Album Chart Top 100 – 1995". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  37. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 1996". Billboard. 2 January 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  38. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2008 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  39. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  40. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  41. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Music Canada. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  42. ^ "French album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  43. ^ "Springsteen a Sanremo con "furore"". La Stampa (in Italian). February 9, 1996. p. 25. Retrieved March 5, 2021. il suo nuovo album ha venduto in pochi mesi 200 mila copie, mentre i critici, nelannuade referendum del mensile musica e dischi.
  44. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  45. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (PDF) (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. p. 942. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  46. ^ "British album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  47. ^ "American album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – Ghost of Tom Joad". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  48. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1996". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 5, 2019.

External links[edit]