"4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)", often known just as "Sandy", is a 1973 song by Bruce Springsteen, originally appearing as the second song on his album The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle.
One of the best-known and most praised of his early efforts, the song remains one of his most popular ballads, and has been described as "the perfect musical study of the Jersey Shore boardwalk culture."
The song was also recorded as a 1975 single by The Hollies.
New York hard rock band Kiss later released a single titled Shandi, from their 1980 album Unmasked, with the song title being inspired by Springsteen's Sandy according to Paul Stanley, the only member of Kiss to work on the recording of the song in the studio, although all four members of the group appeared in the song's promotional video clip.
Themes and recording
Set on, as the title suggests, the Fourth of July in Asbury Park, New Jersey, the song is a powerful love ballad, dedicated to one Sandy and describing the depressing atmosphere that threatens to smother the love between the singer and Sandy. Locals include the "stoned-out faces," "switchblade lovers" and "the greasers" who "tramp the streets or get busted for sleeping out on the boardwalk till dawn." The singer is tired of "hangin' in them dusty arcades" and "chasin' the factory girls."
The song begins with the line: "Sandy, the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight." Writer Ariel Swartley views the song's verses as depicting the narrator as something of an "adolescent loser ... [who's] ruining his chances with the girl: he can't stop telling her about the humiliations, about the girls who led him on, about the waitress that got tired of him." Nevertheless, Swartley observes the choruses to be warm, immediate, and portray an irresistibly romantic atmosphere.
Van Morrison's influence can be heard in this song, as "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" closely parallels his romanticization of Belfast in such songs as "Cyprus Avenue" and "Madame George" from the 1968 album, Astral Weeks.
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