Of course, I was aware of the runaway smash Born in the U.S.A. (1984) from its radio and MTV airplay, but I had no concept of his prior work or his importance to the rock music landscape. And this album missed my radar entirely until years later.
Looking back, I realize Tunnel of Love must have been viewed as a long-awaited follow-up to Born in the U.S.A. and saddled with the burden of those expectations.
Perhaps Springsteen saw that coming, and deliberately delivered a more personal, introspective and musically somber collection. Or maybe his marriage just fell apart at an opportune time.
Whatever the reason, Tunnel of Love was a brilliant departure for Springsteen, and a mature, moving collection of songs about heartbreak and disappointment.
Today’s song, the opener, is stylistically and thematically much different from the rest of the album. A little Trojan horse ushering you into an album full of beautiful sadness and regret.
I got the fortunes of heaven in diamonds and gold
I got all the bonds, baby, that the bank could hold
I got houses ‘cross the country, honey, end to end
And everybody, buddy, wants to be my friend
Well I got all the riches, baby, any man ever knew
But the only thing I ain’t got, honey, I ain’t got you
I got a house full of Rembrandt and priceless art
And all the little girls, they wanna tear me apart
When I walk down the street, people stop and stare
Well, you’d think I might be thrilled, but baby, I don’t care
‘Cause I got more good luck, honey, than old King Farouk
But the only thing I ain’t got, baby, I ain’t got you
I got a big diamond watch sittin’ on my wrist
I try to tempt you, baby, but you just resist
I made a deal with the devil, babe, I won’t deny
Until I got you in my arms, I can’t be satisfied
I got a pound of caviar sitting home on ice
I got a fancy foreign car that rides like paradise
I got a hundred pretty women knockin’ down my door
And folks wanna kiss me I ain’t even seen before
I been around the world and all across the seven seas
Been paid a king’s ransom for doin’ what comes naturally
But I’m still the biggest fool, honey, this world ever knew
‘Cause the only thing I ain’t got, baby, I ain’t got you