Bruce Springsteen

The Wrestler

Over the years, the Boss has been very selective about his contributions to motion picture soundtracks. I can only count three off the top of my head: “Streets of Philadelphia” (from the Philadelphia soundtrack), “Dead Man Walking” (from the Dead Man Walking soundtrack), and “Secret Garden” (from the Jerry Maguire soundtrack). Film director Jonathan Demme asked Bruce for “Philadelphia”. I’m assuming Tim Robbins or Sean Penn asked for a contribution to Dead Man Walking; and I’m not sure about Jerry Maguire, but director Cameron Crowe has a way of compiling some outstanding soundtracks. I’m sure he heard “Secret Garden” on Bruce’s Greatest Hits compilation and asked for it to be used in the film.

Darren Aronofsky’s new film, The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, features a new contribution from the Boss: “The Wrestler”. It’s a slow acoustic tune that reminds me of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” with some of its lyrics.

Have you ever seen a scarecrow filled with nothing but dust and wheat?
If you’ve ever seen that scarecrow then you’ve seen me
Have you ever seen a one-armed man punching at nothing but the breeze?
If you’ve ever seen a one-armed man then you’ve seen me

Reminds me a little of Bruce’s quote in “Tom Joad” from The Grapes of Wrath

Now Tom said “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beatin’ a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there’s a fight ‘gainst the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me Mom I’ll be there
Wherever there’s somebody fightin’ for a place to stand
Or decent job or a helpin’ hand
Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free
Look in their eyes Mom you’ll see me.”

If I was in college, I’d write a paper about the contrasts and similarities between Tom Joad and The Wrestler. But suffice it to say, the character in the “The Wrestler” is a signature Boss character – a man beat down, hanging on to life by a thread, only to rise again. I’ve only listened to the song a few times, and I’ve already managed to make comparisons to other songs, but I know it will grow on me like they always do, and forge an identity of its own.

It turns out Mickey Rourke reached out to Bruce…

In an interview with Uncut, Mickey Rourke stated, “I wrote Bruce a letter, because we’ve known each other over twenty years, and he knows what I used to be, or whatever. Where I went. What I’d been reduced to. I told him how I felt lucky now and didn’t have to end up being this guy, being Randy (character from The Wrestler). A while later I got a call in the middle of the night: he said he’d written a little song, for nothing. It’s fucking beautiful, right? I was honored he took the time, because he’s a busy cat. I mean, I’m so goddam proud of this magical movie and to have Bruce’s input… ain’t nobody in Hollywood with all their millions can just ring the man and he’ll do a song, y’know?”

Spoken like only Mickey Rourke can.

I can’t remember the last adult movie I’ve gone to the theater to see, but I’m going to make some time over the holidays for this one. Here’s the whole song on YouTube…

The single is now available on iTunes. Click little Mickey down there to check it out and buy.

The song will also show up on Bruce’s new album, Working on a Dream, due January 27th.

Check out the trailer for The Wrestler here. It premieres in NYC and L.A. today (Dec. 17th), with a wider release coming soon. Find out when the movie will open near you.


  • Anonymous

    Although it’s barely known, there is another Bruce’s song included in the soundtrack of “Limbo”: “Lift me up” (The Essential, disk 3). I love this song, even if I had to listen to it a few times before I could appreciate the value of his falsetto. Now I think the song wouldn’t do without it.

    And I think that “Missing” was included in the soundtrack of “The crossing guard”, with Sean Penn.

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