“Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” by Bruce Springsteen


“Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” came out in 1973 as part of the B-side of Bruce Springsteen’s second album. The studio recording is more than seven minutes long and the song never charted. For the next ten years, the Boss closed pretty much every show with it. That’s how a man begins to resent his audience, surely. For me, the story in this song isn’t told in the voice of Bruce. I always imagined that it was an aging drag queen initiating a younger one, dropping the knowledge and providing some loving support in the face of worried, conservative parents. Sloppy Sue and Big Bones Billy work at the night club. Jack the Rabbit and Weak Knees Willy are johns. “And Rosalita, hump a little higher / Senorita, don’t spit in my fire / I don’t need another lover, not for hire / Rosalita, you’re my stoned esquire.” Come out, indeed.

-Megan Volpert

DSC00186_sizedMegan Volpert is the author of seven books on communication and popular culture, including two Lambda Literary Award finalists. She has been teaching high school English in Atlanta for a decade and was 2014 Teacher of the Year. She edited the American Library Association-honored anthology This assignment is so gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching. Predictably, and can be found online at http://www.meganvolpert.com.

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