• The Hesh

Lyric of the Week: CAN’T HOLD ON ANYMORE

Updated: Sep 29

Atonement’s over it’s Saturday night, the hard heavy day is over

The girls change their clothes and each one of them knows that it’s time to play night rover

The streets are full of hungry wolves muscling in on the action

Shot straight from yeshivas they roam the boulevard but they can’t get no satisfaction

The crowd at Richie’s, they all part as the Marlboro Madman flies

Esther doesn’t give a second look, she’s surrounded by all the guys

She hears the Madman’s roar but she doesn’t care no more ‘cause she knows she’s what he really wanted

Madman lights his cigarette and takes to the air to flee his past that’s haunted

The high school boys with joys, they jam the counter for a snatch

But all they get their hands on is nothing they could match

I try to tell them they ought to go for a bigger catch

But they look at me and say “Boy you’re in a sorry state

That snatch was up for grabs but you came a bit too late

Now just sit there in the corner and all you do is wait”

What more is there to do?

‘Cause I lost my chance with the girls from the high school

I’m too old to mess with them in the street

They say “Look at the big beautiful world, you fool

There’s more pretty women there you’d like to meet”

Well I guess I’m just a low-profile dude

But tonight I’ve captured the mood

Now the pack rats and black hats off of Joo-Dah-Eesm way

They leave sheltered haven and come into town in spite of what the rabbis say

The jeopardy is double should they run into trouble but no one seems to care

‘Cause all that’s really on their minds is to go out and see what’s there

They get off the bus where they see the crowd and the driver asks them “What’s the rush?”

Our South African lion, he just answers back “Ten days of sneeze-raps is just too much”

Heads turn as they walk down the street, for no one expected them here

I look out the door, take my feet off the floor, shrug my shoulders and go back to my beer

General Mike moves up and tries to act real tough

But he’s shot down by the Grease Man who really struts his stuff

The princess on the rails she screams ‘cause she just can’t get enough

Debbie pulls out her broadsword to keep away the boys

She moves like Monroe in an apron and produces perfect poise

She slips into the back room to seek respite from all the noise

And lets out her frustration too

Sweet Debbie don’t cry, they don’t need you

They don’t want any more than your pretty face

I never told you anything but my feelings are true

All I’m waiting for is the right time and place

Don’t give up hope on your last day

‘Cause I’m here to take you away

Well, Hound Dog told me that if I need a bride

Hey Debbie, you’re the right one for me

I lean against the bar, look at you from afar, and wish that I had you here with me

I know you’ve barely seen my face before

And you wouldn’t know me from a stranger

Just let go, drop your sword, climb in, shut the door

I’ve come to chase away the danger

Way down on Ben-Yehuda, John and Izzy jam up a storm

Their electric guitars, they stop all the cars, the music makes them all feel warm

At the foot of the hill on Zion Square, the old O.Y. gang sets up an AA gun

I ask them what the big shpiel’s all about, they say “that Madman’s gonna bite the big one”

Well, that Marlboro Madman starts shooting terror in the night

His eagle eyes shine living hell as he’s sweeping through the heights

He lets out a savage rebel yell that sends them running from the lights

The O.Y. boys open fire as he starts his dive bomb run

His mouth’s eternal cigarette flicks its ash back at the gun

There’s his distress call, a fireball, and then the whole thing’s done

I look back there and say “That’s nothing new”

‘Cause the old days are over, can’t hold on anymore

No more “Yeshiva’s not kosher” ‘cause I’m getting old

I wanna fly and find my nesting place down on the Jersey shore

Leave my history behind and have a hand to hold

There’s still hope for me on my last day

‘Cause together, Debbie, we’ll find our way

©2016 The Hesh Inc.

The late, great Richie's, where all the Americans hung out.

I wrote this song in September 1983, shortly after my return to Israel from my post-graduation summer trip to the US; I had bought Greetings From Asbury Park on that trip, and I was very much under its spell. As a result, the song is another of my egregious Boss-isms, artlessly stealing from such songs as "Growin' Up," "Does This Bus Stop at 82nd St.," "For You," and "Your Love" (as performed by Gary US Bonds), with Toto's "St. George and the Dragon" thrown in for good measure.

It is a highly stylized and fantasized look at the Jerusalem nightlife as lived by English-speaking teenage residents and students doing their post–high-school year abroad (now commonly called the "gap year"). The 1983-1984 school year was that in which my Stateside peers had arrived in Israel for their gap year, and thus I set about the business of describing the scene as it happened, with some comic-book embellishments.

The scene is set on the "triangle" formed by King George St., Jaffa Road, and the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall in downtown Jerusalem the night after Yom Kippur ends, wherein a series of car-less American Graffiti scenarios ensue. The characters are actual people; the girl called by name is someone who just about all the guys on King George fell for at the beginning of that year. (Unfortunately she got seriously taken for a ride by some malevolent guys, to the point where the police got involved, and then she and the guys left the country—not together—and were never heard from since.)

The song was played many times on the piano by me, more often than not performing for the four walls, either in my parents' living room, my friends' houses, on occasion in deserted hotel lobbies after midnight, and once (I believe) in a small club in Jerusalem, but never with a band before a paying audience. No recording exists, but periodically I entertain a fantasy of recording all my obvious Bruce-isms in one album, with a local NJ Shore Boss tribute act (in lieu of the actual E Street Band) backing me up. One of these days, that may just happen.

#Jerusalem #Israel #nightlife #YomKippur

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