Factory (1978) – Bruce Springsteen

In November last year, I wrote in the article Independance Day, ‘I didn’t really understand it back then but listening to it now (Independence Day); Springsteen is alluding to his father’s life. It reminds me of what he sings about in Factory from the record Darkness on the Edge of Town‘. Some of what I consider Springsteen’s most underrated tracks feature on that record. I always enjoyed hearing his low melancholic voice which is present on Factory, Something in the Night and Racing in the Street – my three favourite songs from the record.

[Verse 1]
Early in the morning factory whistle blows
Man rises from bed and puts on his clothes
Man takes his lunch, walks out in the morning light
It’s the working, the working, just the working life

[Verse 2]
Through the mansions of fear, through the mansions of pain
I see my daddy walking through them factory gates in the rain
Factory takes his hearing, factory gives him life
The working, the working, just the working life

Springsteen said in 2010 about the Darkness record:

The record was of its time. We had the late -’70s recession, punk music had just come out, times were tough for a lot of the people I knew. And so, I veered away from great bar band music or great singles music and veered towards music that I felt would speak of people’s life experiences.

Darkness on the Edge of Town was a big departure from his previous theatrical and up-vibe Born to Run record and today’s track Factory seems to epitomize Springsteen’s remarks about the record’s solemn and personal nature specifically regarding the father-son relationship. When writing the album’s songs, Springsteen was influenced by numerous outside sources, particularly works that focused on themes of individuals confronted by outside forces that resonated with the singer-songwriter; these included the John Steinbeck novels The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and country artists such as Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie.

Factory provides commentary on the repetitive aspects of the working life, depicting a factory-worker father, whose life is consumed by his job, but works to provide for his family. A partial tribute to Springsteen’s father, Springsteen said the song asks the question: “How do we honor the life that our brothers or sisters and parents lived?” Musically, Factory is a rock and country-influenced ballad.

1. Darkness on the Edge of Town – Wikipedia

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
8 comments on “Factory (1978) – Bruce Springsteen
  1. I love the album, the artist, the man. I enjoyed reading about the backstory. Thanks!

    • It’s a great album, but the songs that were most popular didn’t really do it for me like Darkness and Badlands. I can understand why they were eaten up especially delivered live. I’m glad you like the article Cindy. Your feedback means a lot! Cheers.

  2. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Great album and artist…of course you know I know that. I haven’t heard this one in quite some time. Love this album… he was on a hot streak that ended…to me with Tunnel Of Love a decade later.

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