Jersey Girl (5:08)

Cover of Bounced Checks

From Bounced Checks and 10 other releases

“Jersey Girl” is a song composed and originally sung by American singer-songwriter Tom Waits from his 1980 album Heartattack and Vine. It subsequently became best known in a live version by Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s.

Waits wrote the song with his future wife Kathleen Brennan, who had been living in New Jersey.[1] It’s one of Waits’ most tender songs, and captures a feeling of romantic longing despite its somewhat gritty details:

Down the shore everything’s alright,
You with your baby, on a Saturday night …

Don’t you know that all my dreams come true —
When I’m walkin’ down the street with you

Sing sha la la la la la, sha la la la …
I’m in love with a Jersey girl.
Waits would state in a 1980 interview that, “I never thought I would catch myself saying ‘sha la la’ in a song … This is my first experiment with ‘sha la la.’” Waits’ recording includes drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, and glockenspiel, in an arrangement that captures the feeling of the seashore by way of “Under The Boardwalk” or “Spanish Harlem”.

Rock writer Stephen Holden saw echoes of Springsteen in “Jersey Girl” even before Springsteen ever performed it, and, writing for Rolling Stone, said that the song’s “eager romanticism becomes warped in the caldron of what’s left of Waits’ voice,” en route to “morbid pathos”.

The song is also included on Waits’ compilation albums Bounced Checks (1981), Anthology of Tom Waits (1985), and Used Songs, 1973-1980 (2001). Waits also included a quiet performance of it during his 1999 appearance on VH1 Storytellers.


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I got no time for the corner boys
Down in the street making all that noise
Or the girls out on the avenue
'Cause tonight I wanna be with you

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • Rezzo64

    Makes Heartattack and Vine that much more worth it.

    17 Aug 9:54pm Reply
  • bohemian_chic

    ღ YES ღ

    15 Jun 5:56pm Reply
  • johannez1

    His voice sounds so absolutely passionate and yearning on this one.

    13 Jul 2013 Reply
  • danielanalq1

    love this song, so powerfull <3

    31 May 2013 Reply
  • CidaDuarteF


    28 May 2012 Reply
  • JuniorMcCartney

    Sing sha la la la la la la.

    6 Dec 2011 Reply
  • nightclubjitter

    my favourite song?

    8 Nov 2011 Reply
  • crazedbard

    Ah, I guess I could forgive myself for thinking Springsteen originally wrote it... but after hearing the original... no words. That golden voice.

    19 Jul 2011 Reply
  • crystaltrips

    We have Bruce's cover version to thank for a lot of the creative freedom that Tom enjoyed once the royalties came in. $$$

    30 Jun 2010 Reply
  • Flying_Colours

    It reminded me of Springsteen before I even knew he did a famous cover of it.

    14 Jun 2010 Reply
  • Spakss


    31 Mar 2010 Reply
  • tomwaitsfan1

    i dont want no whores on 8th avenue,cause tonight i'm gonna be with you

    7 Dec 2009 Reply
  • gladsad89

    My late mother was a huge Tom Waits fan so I grew up listening to his music and she always told me the story of when she first became aware of Mr. Waits. She was watching "Saturday Night Live" on TV in the 70's and she saw him perform this. She was hooked from the first line...

    8 Nov 2009 Reply
  • gorefan72

    the covers are good because waits wrote a damn good song, but no one can sing it with the pain of love that waits can. one of my all time favorites of his.

    25 Oct 2009 Reply
  • hanginchili


    2 Oct 2009 Reply
  • watthead

    A girl in NJ broke my heart in 2003.

    13 Sep 2009 Reply
  • mikekharris

    TW version is not a cover - its the original ejits!

    25 Aug 2009 Reply
  • yaniv297

    Waits does it better then Bruce. I love both, though

    22 Jul 2009 Reply
  • lucky1306

    Best Cover I Can Think About !!

    20 Jul 2009 Reply
  • rippolino

    There is also a very great "Pale Saints" cover of this song. Never thought it was Waits original..

    16 Jul 2009 Reply
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