Tue . 19 May 2019

One Step Up

one step up bruce springsteen, one step up
"One Step Up" is a song by Bruce Springsteen from his eighth studio album, Tunnel of Love 1987 It was released as the third single from the album, following "Brilliant Disguise" and the title track It reached position #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the United States1 It also reached #2 on the US Album Rock Tracks chart,1 giving Springsteen three straight top two tracks from the album1 The song was only released as a single in America2


  • 1 History
  • 2 Music video
  • 3 Live performances
  • 4 Cover versions
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


Unlike much of the Tunnel of Love album, "One Step Up" was not recorded in Springsteen's home studio Thrill Hill East Rather, it was recorded at A&M Studios in Los Angeles, California3 It was recorded between May and August 19873 Springsteen plays all instruments, and future wife Patti Scialfa provided backing vocals3 No other members of Springsteen's usual backing group, the E Street Band, are present

Like several other songs on the album, the song reflects the impending breakup of the marriage between Springsteen and then-wife Julianne Phillips4 The song's lyrics are poetic, understated, emotional and eloquent4 The song begins by describing a house with a broken furnace and a car that doesn't start, which serve as metaphors for the couple's relationship25 Similar metaphors in the song are a bird that won't sing and church bells that won't ring for a new bride-to-be Although the couple has been together for some time, they haven't learned from their experiences and continue to fight and slam doors5 The lyrics refer to the couple's relationship as their "dirty little war"25 Finally, the singer finds himself at a bar wondering whether to hook up with another woman there, while remembering a dream he had the night before about dancing with his wife, with the dance poignantly echoing the song's title one step up and two steps back The singer is self-aware enough to recognize his share of responsibility for the couple's difficulties, as demonstrated in particular by the line: "When I look at myself I don't see/The man I wanted to be" Dave Marsh describes the song as being "as miserable a cheating song as even Nashville ever knew"6

The music for the song has a bare arrangement, reflecting how personal the song is4 It is a quiet ballad with an ironically reassuring melody5 The backing vocal provides a haunting echo to the Springsteen's lead vocal2 Ironically, given the fact that this is a song about a marriage breaking up, these backing vocals were sung by the woman who would prove to be Springsteen's future wife, Patti Scialfa2

Music videoedit

Like several other videos from the Tunnel of Love album, including "Brilliant Disguise", "Tunnel of Love" and "Tougher Than the Rest", the video for "One Step Up" was directed by Meiert Avis7 The video intersperses scenes of Springsteen singing the song with images reflecting the song's narrative The video was later released on the VHS and DVD Video Anthology / 1978-888

Live performancesedit

Perhaps due to the personal nature of the song, it has rarely been performed live4 The song was a staple on the 1988 Tunnel of Love Express Tour, however, it vanished from the setlists until Springsteen briefly revived the song for some performances on the 2005 Devils & Dust Tour9 On May 6, 2014, the song was performed for the first time in 26 years with the E Street Band on their 2014 High Hopes Tour stop in Houston, Texas

Cover versionsedit

Cover versions of "One Step Up" have been recorded by Clive Gregson and Christine Collister,210 Kenny Chesney, Bad Radio, Martyn Joseph, The Seldom Scene, Paul Cebar and Eddie Vedder, among others


  1. ^ a b c "Bruce Springsteen Chart History" Retrieved 2008-08-16 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Patrick Humphries 1996 Bruce Springsteen p 81 ISBN 0-7119-5304-X 
  3. ^ a b c "Brucebase, On The Tracks: Tunnel of Love" Retrieved 2008-08-16 
  4. ^ a b c d "Allmusic One Step Up" Retrieved 2008-08-16 
  5. ^ a b c d June Skinner Sawyers 2006 Tougher Than the Rest 100 Best Bruce Springsteen Songs pp 117–118 ISBN 978-0-8256-3470-3 
  6. ^ Dave Marsh 1996 Glory Days p xxvii ISBN 1-56025-101-8 
  7. ^ "Meiert Avis" imdb Retrieved 2009-03-29 
  8. ^ "Internet Movie Database - Bruce Springsteen: Video Anthology 1978-1988" Retrieved 2008-08-04 
  9. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Set List Page One Step Up" Retrieved 2008-08-16 
  10. ^ "Allmusic Love is a Strange Hotel" Retrieved 2008-08-16 

External linksedit

  • Lyrics & Audio clips from Brucespringsteennet

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One Step Up

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