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Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

"Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" was the second song on Bruce Springsteen's breakthrough album Born to Run.

The song loosely tells the story of the formation of the E Street Band. The song's protagonist, "Bad Scooter," is a pseudonym for Springsteen himself (as indicated by the initials they share). In the third verse, Bad Scooter is saved by "the Big Man" (Clarence Clemons, the band's saxophonist). After his name is sung, Clemons lets loose a big note on his sax.

The song is upbeat, possibly the most so on the album, with a strong horn section (led by Clemons) and Roy Bittan's consistent piano chords keeping the rhythm. As stated by Springsteen in the Wings for Wheels documentary, the idea for the composition of the horn intro was Steven Van Zandt's. Despite all of this, the single was a chart dud, getting no higher than #83 on the Billboard Hot 100. One suspicion for the poor showing on the charts is that the lyrics are difficult to understand, even by rock standards. People who heard it and liked it didn't know the name of the song.

However, it has always had a following on album-oriented rock radio and amongst Springsteen's fan base, and has been a regular in Springsteen's concert tours.

Live performance history

Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out has been heard on nearly all of Springsteen's concerts and tours (though it was not included in The Rising Tour or some of his other tours), it appeared throughout the whole of the Born to Run tours, even once on the 1978 Tour; all the way through till Tunnel of Love Express Tour, even during the "Other Band" Tour, Clarence Clemons appeared all the time for his saxophone part. Later appearing on the 1999-2000 Reunion Tour with the Miami Horns appearing four times throughout the concerts. Retired for the next eight years until returning on the Magic Tour.

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