Lyric of the Week: JERSEY SHORE BABY
This is the story of a love affair
Of passion and despair
with that lazy crazy place
The holy city the holy land oh Lord have mercy
Jerusalem New Jersey
to me it’s no disgrace
Who’s that child sitting in the stroller
A junior rock’n’roller
in front of daddy’s hotel
Ridin’ across the sky suspended from a cable
Mixing bowl cradle
Well folks met folks and the seeds of love were sown
Paradise found now for the time it could be home
In the wild turbulence the seeds were scattered and blown
But what’s been planted must grow
Thus did the Jersey Shore Baby
I once shared a playpen with an inner lake angel baby
And maybe just maybe
she rubbed off on me
And when thirteen came around there came the magical weekend
Off the lovers’ deep end
between I and she
I found the secret to life on a lucky charm imprinter
And I shattered to splinters
all I used to be
From neb-nerd to cool no longer a pushover
The old way was over
and I felt so free
I made this town mine I made it all my own
Dreamland high above all the mundanities of home
I had stumbled upon Eden but my flight fell like a stone
Into open ended exile thrown
Orphaned Jersey Shore Baby
A simpler time in the not too distant past
When the cars were fast
and the love was in bloom
A more innocent age when the buildings were standing
Life wasn’t so demanding
and the bust was a boom
Maybe one day I can end this dispersion
With no more diversion
keeping me from my one true love
Well it’s no time to bitch it’s time to get moving
About time to start proving
these dreams made flesh and blood
And though what we grew up with in our generation
May have fallen into disintegration
But I’m marshaling forces to turn desolation
Into paradise by the sea, I’m the Jersey Shore
Rebuild the scenery, I’m the Jersey Shore
Well come waltz with me
I’m the Jersey Shore Baby
©1991, 2002, 2007, 2015, 2018, 2021, 2022 The Hesh Inc.
This is the title song and leadoff track of the second album in my Soul In Exile magnum opus, Soul In Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby.
I wrote it in 1989, when I was a graphic design student at the Art Institute of Boston. I was seriously missing the Jersey Shore while living up in the City of Beans, and also wondering why my life was not moving in the direction I had hoped it would and wanted it to. So one day, rather than go to Color Theory class (sorry Prof. Fertitta), I sequestered myself in the "privacy booth" in the student lounge and wrote this song.
I imagined it already as the first in a series of songs about me and my relationship to the beach and the ocean, which quickly became a projected album of songs about my relationship with the Shore. Not about any specific person there, mind you - there are people that populate these songs, and this song, but they are really incidental.
Soon enough, my life in the self-proclaimed hub of the universe crumbled, along with my fallback career as a graphic designer, so I put whatever money I had where my mouth was and I moved to the Shore, making good on something I had wanted to do for 12 years. Finally, I was a local, and within a year of my arrival, I put together my first American band, Freedom Is Priceless, and among the crop of original songs we began rehearsing was an early version of this song. We recorded it at Wild Sound Studios in Asbury Park as part of a three-song demo.
It became a mainstay of the band's repertoire for the next several years, and we played it at all of our gigs, even those not at the Jersey Shore. I would introduce it as a "semiautobiographical tale" about the place the band was from.
Freedom Is Priceless broke up after about three years of trying to make it work. I moved to Philadelphia and got involved with a long series of cover bands that continued even after I moved back to the Shore. I didn't play much original music, except during small solo gigs in coffeehouses and people's houses. But I never gave up on the idea of recording this as the Opening Statement of the Great Magnum Opus.
I finally did that in 2002, recording it at Retromedia in Red Bank, NJ. The album, Soul In Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby, came out five years later, in July 2007, after I moved from NJ to LA and back again. In a perfect world, it would have been the first single, and it would have been all over the radio in the summer of 2007. But the world is seldom perfect.
However, while hunkered down at home in North Jersey during the Covid-19 era, I decided that it is time to remix and remaster the Soul In Exile opus so that I can put it in front of newer and hopefully wider audiences, with "Jersey Shore Baby" as the first single. I released this radio-edited single in November 2021, with "Feel Alive Tonight," from Soul In Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby, as its "B side."
The full album version appears on the newest album to date, Soul In Exile Redux, released on January 28, 2022.