Bruce Springsteen pays tribute to late bandmates in second ‘Letter to You’ single, ‘Ghosts’

springsteen ghosts

Bruce Springsteen in the video for “Ghosts.”

Bruce Springsteen’s second single from his upcoming Letter to You album has been released. You can watch it below.

Recorded with the E Street Band, “Ghosts” has an assertive beat, a rich full-band sound and an arena-ready singalong segment as it nears its end. It is, in part, a tribute to Springsteen’s first band, The Castiles, who were together from 1965 to 1968, and specifically the band’s leader, singer-guitarist George Theiss.

“I shoulder your Les Paul and finger the fretboard/I make my vows to those who’ve come before,” sings Springsteen.

The song’s title presumably refers to the fact that Theiss and the band’s other members, and some E Street Band members as well, are no longer alive.

“ ‘Ghosts’ is about the beauty and joy of being in a band, and the pain of losing one another to illness and time,” Springsteen has said. ” ‘Ghosts’ tries to speak to the spirit of the music itself, something none of us owns but can only discover and share together. In the E Street Band, it resides in our collective soul, powered by the heart.”

The video includes images of The Castiles, as well as of Springsteen and the E Street Band in action over the years. Images of the late E Street Band members Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici are shown as well, to emphasize that the the theme of the song extends to them as well.

When Theiss died in 2018, Springsteen became the last surviving member of The Castiles. “You can’t think about it without thinking of your own mortality,” Springsteen said in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. “Most of the guys in the band died young for one reason or another, and so it really kind of came down to George and myself.”

The Castiles in 1966: From left, Frank Marziotti, Bruce Springsteen, George Theiss, Paul Popkin and Vinnie Manniello.

Here are the song’s lyrics:

I hear the sound of your guitar
Comin’ in from the mystic far
The stone and the gravel in your voice
Come in my dreams and I rejoice

It’s just your ghost
Moving through the night
Your spirit filled with light
I need, need you by my side
Your love and I’m alive

I’m alive and I can feel the blood shiver in my bones
I’m alive and I’m out here on my own
I’m alive and I’m coming’ home
Yeah I’m comin’ home

The old buckskin jacket you always wore
Hangs on the back of my bedroom door
The boots and the spurs you used to ride
Click down the hall but never arrive

It’s just your ghost
Moving through the night
Your spirit filled with light
I need, need you by my side
Your love and I’m alive

I’m alive, I can feel the blood shiver in my bones
I’m alive and I’m out here on my own
I’m alive and I’m coming’ home

Your old Fender Twin from Johnny’s Music downtown
Still set on 10 to burn this house down
Count the band in then kick into overdrive
By the end of the set we leave no one alive

Ghosts runnin’ through the night
Our spirits filled with light

I need
Need you by my side
Your love and I’m alive

I shoulder your Les Paul and finger the fretboard
I make my vows to those who’ve come before
I turn up the volume, let the spirits be my guide
Meet you brother and sister on the other side

I’m alive
I can feel the blood shiver in my bones
I’m alive and I’m out here on my own
I’m alive and I’m comin’ home
Yeah I’m comin’ home

The title track of Letter to You came out as a single on Sept. 10; the album will be released on Oct. 23.

To purchase “Ghosts,” visit brucespringsteen.lnk.to/GhostsAW.

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