The Ghost of Tom Joad

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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. The album was released on November 21, 1995, through Columbia Records. The album was recorded and mixed at Thrill Hill West, Springsteen's home studio in Los Angeles, California.

Following the 1995 studio reunion with the E Street Band and the release of Greatest Hits, Springsteen's writing activity increased significantly. He wrote and recorded the album between March and September 1995. The album consists of seven solo tracks and five band tracks.

The Ghost of Tom Joad debuted at number 11 on the US Billboard 200 chart, with 107,000 copies sold in its first week.[1] The album won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

Reception and composition[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[2]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[3]
The Guardian4/5 stars[4]
Houston Chronicle4/5 stars[5]
Los Angeles Times4/4 stars[6]
NME9/10[7]
Pitchfork7.6/10[8]
Q4/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[10]
USA Today3.5/4 stars[11]

The Ghost of Tom Joad received mostly favorable reviews. 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."[10] However, it reached only number 11 on the Billboard 200, breaking a string of eight consecutive Top 5 studio albums in the United States for Springsteen.[12]

The album is mainly backed by acoustic guitar work and the lyrics on most tracks are a somber reflection of life in the mid-1990s in America and Mexico.[13] 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.[13] This spawned a film version starring Henry Fonda, which in turn inspired folk singer Woody Guthrie to pen "The Ballad of Tom Joad".[13]

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.[13]

Track listing[edit]

All songs are written by Bruce Springsteen.

  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.[14]

  • "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[15].

Musicians

Technical

  • Toby Scott – engineer
  • Greg Goldman – recording assistant
  • Terry Magovern – research
  • Sandra Choron – art direction
  • Eric Dinyer – cover art
  • Pam Springsteen – interior photographs

Charts[edit]

Chart (1995) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[16] 27
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[17] 13
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[18] 14
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[19] 1
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[20] 17
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[21] 7
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[22] 22
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[23] 47
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[24] 4
Scottish Albums (OCC)[25] 30
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[26] 3
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 8
UK Albums (OCC)[28] 16
US Billboard 200[29] 11

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1996) Position
German Albums Chart[30] 85

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[31] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[32] Gold 25,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[33] Gold 100,000*
France (SNEP)[34] Gold 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[35] Gold 50,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[36] Gold 25,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[37] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[38] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[39] Gold 500,000^
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[40] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Deming, Mark. "The Ghost of Tom Joad – Bruce Springsteen". AllMusic. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  3. ^ Browne, David (November 24, 1995). "The Ghost of Tom Joad". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 16, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  4. ^ Sweeting, Adam (November 24, 1995). "Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost of Tom Joad (Columbia)". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Selvin, Joel (November 19, 1995). "Springsteen, the Storyteller". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  6. ^ Hilburn, Robert (November 19, 1995). "The Return to Desolate Highway". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  7. ^ "Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost of Tom Joad". NME. November 18, 1995. p. 46.
  8. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (May 19, 2018). "Bruce Springsteen / The E Street Band: The Album Collection Vol. 2, 1987–1996". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  9. ^ "Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost of Tom Joad". Q. No. 162. March 2000. p. 124.
  10. ^ a b Gilmore, Mikal (December 28, 1995). "The Ghost Of Tom Joad". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  11. ^ Gundersen, Edna (November 20, 1995). "Springsteen's stark vision of 'Tom Joad'". USA Today.
  12. ^ "Bruce Springsteen – Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ http://brucebase.wikispaces.com/The+Ghost+Of+Tom+Joad+-+Studio+Sessions
  15. ^ "Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost Of Tom Joad". Discogs. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  17. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  18. ^ "Ultratop.be – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  19. ^ "Listen – Danmarks Officielle Hitliste – Udarbejdet af AIM Nielsen for IFPI Danmark – Uge 47". Ekstra Bladet (in Danish). Copenhagen. 1995-11-26.
  20. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  21. ^ "Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  22. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  23. ^ "Charts.nz – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  24. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  25. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  26. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  27. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  28. ^ "Bruce Springsteen | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  29. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  30. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  31. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2008 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  32. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  33. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  34. ^ "French album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  35. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Music Canada. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  36. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  37. ^ 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.
  38. ^ "British album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 5, 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type The Ghost of Tom Joad in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  39. ^ "American album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 5, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  40. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1996". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 5, 2019.