Adam Raised A Cain


Note: Finally, in 1977, the sequel to John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" has come. It is not a book or a movie, it is a track on "Darkness On the Edge of Town" called "Adam Raised A Cain", starring Doug and Bruce Springsteen. Blowing the other song about his dad, "Factory", out of the water, "Daddy Raised A Cain" is the kind of song only rock and roll allows us to express. This song is about some dark feelings in a father-son relationship, which is not unique in itself. The third verse is the boiling point of the song, "In the Bible, Cain slew Abel but East of Eden, mama, he was cast, you're born into this life paying for the sins of somebody else's past, Daddy worked his whole life for nothing but the pain, now he walks these empty rooms looking for something to blame." This is a pretty dark picture to paint for the whole world about your father. But things can always be worse. In verse 2, things warm up when Bruce encounters his mother, "In the darkness of your room your mother calls you by your true name, you remember the faces, the places, the names". However, in the earlier versions of the song, which were watered down for the final album release, Bruce said, "in the darkness of your own room your mother calls you by your true name, She knows you didn't come back to join their little games." Not friendly at all! Then comes Verse 3, "Daddy worked his whole life for nothing but the pain, now he haunts these empty rooms rattling these chains." In Factory, "Somebody's gonna get hurt tonight", now daddy just turned into a werewolf upstairs!"

Bruce had total control over his music at the time this was recorded, and he could have used either version. He had the record company and Jon Landau giving him advice, but Bruce would never allow anyone but himself make this decision. Nobody thought Darkness was an album that Springsteen was making compromises on to increase sales. Many times in his career, lyrics were violent and emotional, then like any adult, he thought things over, and used a different combination of words to express his feelings. That's likely all that happened here.

It is said that Springsteen and the Band started working on this song as far back as August, but that rumor came from the Lost Masters III liner notes, which said tracks 1-5 were all from August 1977. Track 5, "Prove It All Night" was first cut September 12, 1977, track 3, Factory, was not even called "Factory" until 1978, and the first take of V1 "Daddy Raised A Cain", according to studio logs, was on November 9, 1977, and work was not resumed again until December 15, 1977. The Darkness album take, only separated by lyrical differences, could have been cut on the same day if Bruce had both sets of lyrics prepared, but since we are missing all the practice takes, and left with two finished products, December 15, 1977, seems like a reasonable date for the base take. Three consecutive days were spent mixing and editing, on February 15, 16 and 17, 1978, so it also seems most reasonable that Daddy Raised A Cain became Adam Raised A Cain with a few overdubs in February 1978.

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