My Top 1000 Songs #691: Candy's Room

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.] 

Like most suburban kids in the Midwest, my parents used to ship me off to overnight camp each summer. Most years were pretty fun, but summer of '79 was kinda terrible. I ended up in a cabin with kids I didn't know, who'd been friends for a few years and didn't welcome this nerdy, non-athletic interloper--and just as we were all on the edge of adolescence, at a co-ed camp where we were all starting to preen for the girls on the other side of the lake. Not a pleasant situation. (Hey, I wrote a piece about that summer if you're interested.)

One of the few positive memories I have is of this one counselor who was really, really into Bruce Springsteen's Darkness On The Edge Of Town, which had come out the prior summer, playing it whenever we were just lazing about the cabin between activities. The record was pretty divisive. At 12 or 13, we were a little too young to appreciate Bruce, and most of my cabin-mates preferred to crank up their cassettes of REO Speedwagon and Rush and Zeppelin. (And The Knack's "My Sharona." This was the summer of "My Sharona.")

Me, I kinda liked the record (or maybe I just didn't care for REO, Rush, and Zeppelin). I knew Bruce from Born To Run, which I'd checked out of the public library a year before and found decent enough; but this one was a little grittier, lacking the big boomy bombast of BTR. It felt a little more authentic and down to earth.

The song that jumped out at me most at the time was "Candy's Room." I loved how the hushed, nearly spoken-word ballad exploded into an exciting gallop, the band jumping in all around the Boss as the percussion went a little nuts. That blend of quiet intimacy and cabin-shaking thunder captured how I was feeling as I stumbled awkwardly into my teen years, and the lyrics, with their sense of forbidden desire, seemed to reflect my ill-defined longing for those girls we were all competing to impress during afternoon capture-the-flag. I still find it one of Springsteen's most emotionally gripping songs, notwithstanding its associations with an otherwise pretty crappy summer.

Live 1978:
Live 2009: