As Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s reunion tour was winding down in the summer of 2000, he debuted a new song, “Further On (Up the Road),” that could be seen as a way of reassuring his fans that the reunion was not a one-time thing. “I’ll meet you further on, up the road,” he sang repeatedly, in the song’s chorus.
In a way, though, the song is a gritty anthem about persevering in the face of life’s threats and challenges (“Where the road is dark and … the gun is cocked and …. the miles are marked in blood and gold”). And so it fit perfectly on Springsteen’s 2002 album The Rising.
The singer seems to be on intimate terms with death: “Got on my dead man’s suit and my smiling skull ring.” The song even has a line, “One sunny morning, we’ll rise I know/And I’ll meet you further on up the road,” that makes it sound as if it was written after the album’s theme and title was determined.
Johnny Cash, who died in 2003, was one of the song’s fans. He recorded a version of it that was released on his posthumous 2006 album American V: A Hundred Highways. You can listen to it below.
Background facts: “Further On (Up the Road)” is from Springsteen’s 2002 album The Rising. According to Brucebase, he performed it 80 times in concert between 2000 and 2014.
On each of the 70 days leading up to Bruce Springsteen’s 70th birthday (on Sept. 23, 2019), NJArts.net will do a post on one of The Boss’ best songs of the last 30 years. We’re starting with No. 70 and working our way up. For more on the project, click here.
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence, though, depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $10, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJ Arts Daily to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.