"Backstreets" is a song by Bruce Springsteen from the album Born to Run, which was released in 1975. In the original vinyl release, it concludes side one of the record.
"Backstreets" begins with a minute-long instrumental introduction that features pianist Roy Bittan and organist Danny Federici, with only occasional traces of any other instruments being heard. In his review of Born to Run for Rolling Stone, writer Greil Marcus said:
"Backstreets" ... begins with music so stately, so heartbreaking, that it might be the prelude to a rock & roll version of The Iliad.
The song deals with the relationship between two friends: the narrator and Terry. They are forced to hide their love for each other from others and "hide on the backstreets". In the end, the relationship falls apart. Terry leaves with another man leaving the narrator alone and full of rage, love and sadness.
The gender of the character of "Terry" has long been debated among Springsteen fans. The name Terry can refer to either a male or a female. Proponents of the theory that Terry is male point out that the characters may be "hiding on the backstreets" in order to conceal their homosexuality. Or the song may merely be describing an intense male friendship with no other overtones. Those who believe that Terry is female cite Springsteen's own sexuality as well as the extended "Sad Eyes" performances of the song in which Terry is referred to as female by Springsteen himself.
During the 1978 Darkness Tour, Springsteen would often add a semi-improvised interlude in between the final chorus and the outro. It usually involved Springsteen singing solo accompanied by the piano. The other instruments would then join in as the interlude built to a climax. It elaborated on the story of the protagonist and Terry. It differed from performance to performance but frequently involved the protagonist reminiscing about a good time he and Terry had shared, followed by an emotional condemnation of her subsequent betrayal.
This interlude has become known to Springsteen fans as the "Sad Eyes" interlude (not to be confused with the Springsteen song of the same name) due to frequently occurring lyrics stating that Terry had sad eyes or should dry her tears. It has also been referred to as the "Baby I remember you" or "Little girl don't cry" interlude. Parts of the interlude later materialized in recast form as the song "Drive All Night" on The River album in 1980. The interlude version of "Backstreets" has not been performed live since, however it can be heard on numerous fan bootlegs from that tour.
In 2007, during Springsteen and the E Street Band's Magic Tour, "Backstreets" frequently found its way into the set list, most likely as a tribute to Springsteen's longtime friend, Terry Magovern, who died earlier that year. It also opened the first show in 2008 following the death of longtime band member Danny Federici. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.