Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Bruce Springsteen returns to our blog with a live performance of “Ain’t Got You.” In the song, The Boss details all the treasures he’s amassed, including “the fortunes of heaven in diamonds and gold,” but admits that he’ll never be satisfied because he “ain’t got you.”
“Ain’t Got You,” was the opening track to Springsteen’s introspective, autobiographical 1987 album Tunnel of Love. Unlike his previous album Born in the USA, Tunnel of Love opened a window into Springsteen’s personal life, especially his troubled marriage to actress Julianne Phillips.
The song also sparked a battle between Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt, a founding member of Springsteen’s E Street Band, according to a 2012 article in The New Yorker. Van Zandt didn’t think it was appropriate for Springsteen to write a song about his personal wealth.
“I’m, like, ‘What… is this?’” Van Zandt told The New Yorker. “And he’s, like, ‘Well, what do you mean? It’s the truth. It’s just who I am. It’s my life.’”
Van Zandt shot back, “People don’t need you talking about your life… They need you for their lives. That‘s your thing. Giving some logic and reason and sympathy and passion to this cold, fragmented, confusing world – that’s your gift. Explaining their lives to them. Their lives, not yours.”
Despite Van Zandt’s objections, the song — which Springsteen recorded all alone in his home studio — was selected to lead off Tunnel of Love, an album that sold more than three million copies and topped the U.S. Billboard 200 list.
A 1999 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Springsteen has sold more than 65 million albums in the U.S. and 120 million worldwide. He’s won 20 Grammys, an Academy Award and lit up the crowd during the 2009 Super Bowl halftime show.
We hope you enjoy the video of Springsteen’s live performance of “Ain’t Got You.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.
“Ain’t Got You”
Written and performed by Bruce Springsteen.
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 de 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