We Take Care of Our Own

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"We Take Care of Our Own"
Single by Bruce Springsteen
from the album Wrecking Ball
ReleasedJanuary 19, 2012
FormatDigital download
GenreRock, cowpunk, alternative rock
Songwriter(s)Bruce Springsteen
Producer(s)Ron Aniello, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau (executive prod.)
Bruce Springsteen singles chronology
"The Wrestler"
"We Take Care of Our Own"
"Rocky Ground"
Music video
"We Take Care of Our Own" on YouTube

"We Take Care of Our Own" is a song written and recorded by American musician Bruce Springsteen. It is the first single from his album, Wrecking Ball. The single was released for download through amazon.com and iTunes on January 18, 2012.[1] The song made its live debut on February 12, 2012, at the 54th Grammy Awards. This song was played throughout Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign and after his victory speech at his headquarters in Chicago. Sales of the song rose 409% following Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention.[2]

The song was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.[3]

Rolling Stone named the song the 32nd best song of 2012.[4] Music critic Robert Christgau named it the best single of 2012.[5]

Lyrics and music[edit]

The song is an up-tempo rocker which resembles the sound of the younger bands Springsteen has recently taken under his wing, such as Arcade Fire and The Gaslight Anthem.

The lyrics express Springsteen's frustration that—after several years of economic hard times—people are less willing to help each other. The song begins:[6]

I've been stumblin' on good hearts turned to stone
The road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone.

The narrator asks where he can find merciful hearts or work to set his hands and soul free and makes references to Hurricane Katrina.[6] However, the refrain strikes a more optimistic (or ironic depending on listener interpretation) note that "Wherever this flag is flown/We take care of our own."[6][7] NPR's Ann Powers describes the song as "a bitter anthem" and states that on this song, as with "Born in the U.S.A.," "Glory Days", and 2008's "Girls in Their Summer Clothes," "Springsteen brings out big emotions and then demands we drop the delusions that often accompany them."[8] In the second official video, the first few repetitions of the lines, "Wherever this flag's flown," do not appear with an image of the American flag, but with an image of Springsteen standing with his right hand (the one with which he picks his guitar) raised, perhaps indicating that he is making a personal statement as well as a general one.

Music videos[edit]

Springsteen was spotted in New Jersey on January 13, 2012, filming what was believed to be a new music video. On January 19, 2012, the date the single was released, Springsteen's official website released a music video for the song containing various black and white images of Springsteen interspersed with text of the song's lyrics.

On February 10, 2012, a second official music video premiered, this time featuring Bruce performing in abandoned buildings and on rooftops in an urban setting. Various images of working class Americans are shown as lyrics flash by. As Springsteen sings the song's emotional resolution ("Wherever this flag is flown/We take care of our own"), the image transforms from black and white to color, climaxing as Springsteen joins a crowd of everyday Americans walking together in daylight, in unison.

Filming locations/production[edit]

The video was filmed in and around Asbury Park, including the roof of the Savoy Theatre and inside of Frank’s Deli.[9]



Chart (2012) Peak
Denmark Airplay (Tracklisten)[11] 12
Ireland (IRMA)[12] 41
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[13] 34
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[14] 14
UK Singles Chart[15] 111
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[16] 6
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[17] 11
US Rock Songs (Billboard)[18] 43


  1. ^ Andy Greene. "Bruce Springsteen Releasing New Single Tomorrow | Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  2. ^ http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/retail/president-obama-s-dnc-speech-boosts-bruce-1007948182.story?imw=Y
  3. ^ http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/12/06/bruce-springsteen-nabs-three-grammy-nominations-springsteen-gets-two-more-2/
  4. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/50-best-songs-of-2012-20121205/bruce-springsteen-we-take-care-of-our-own-19691231
  5. ^ http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/pnj/deans12.php
  6. ^ a b c Fricke, D. (January 19, 2012). "We Take Care of Our Own". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  7. ^ Volmers, E. (January 20, 2012). "We Take Care of Our Own: Will it be deja vu for Bruce Springsteen?". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  8. ^ Powers, A. "'We Take Care Of Our Own': Springsteen's New Wave Of Social Protest". NPR. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  9. ^ http://thebplot.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/springsteen-takes-care-of-his-own-franks-deli-featured-in-new-video/
  10. ^ http://www.bosstimeradio.com/blog/2012/01/we-take-care-of-our-own-single-credits/
  11. ^ "Hitlisten.NU – Bruce Springsteen – Redigerer We Take Care of Our Own" (in Danish). Tracklisten.
  12. ^ "Chart Track: Week 04, 2012". Irish Singles Chart.
  13. ^ https://www.billboard.com/music/bruce-springsteen/chart-history/japan-hot-100
  14. ^ PROMUSICAE – Week 3, 2012
  15. ^ "CHART: CLUK Update (28.01.2012 – week 3)". Zobbel.de. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  16. ^ "Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Chart Date: 2012-02-04)" (requires registration). Billboard. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  17. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  18. ^ "Chart Highlights: Bruce Springsteen Bosses His Way Onto Rock Songs". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. January 23, 2012. Retrieved February 5, 2012.

External links[edit]