Billy Roberts - Hey Joe

First performance: 30/09/1967


Bruce covered the song at least 2 times :
1968-09-28 Off Broad Street Coffee House, Red Bank, NJ (Early)
Two shows, double bill, with Bruce Springsteen headlining and performing solo/acoustic and a folk group called The Founders opening. Some of the titles from the setlist are covers - "If I Needed Someone" is a Beatles tune, "Hey Joe" was covered by several artists in the mid-late 60s (most famously by Jimi Hendrix) and "Wayfaring Stranger" is a traditional song. "Fly Against The Wind" and "It's Too Late" are titles Brucebase has been unable to match to any artists of the period. The remaining three, "The Earth Is Broken", "Carnival Song" and "Troubadour", are known 1967-68 songs titles by singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, a favorite of Springsteen's at the time. The mentioned 9 song setlist emanates from an alleged 83 minute audience recording of Springsteen performing solo and live, sometime in 1968. The audio is not specifically linked to this show, details have been placed here merely as a logical reference point. A private collector claims to have this audio in their collection (obtained many, many years ago). The sound quality is alleged to be quite good. Brucebase was informed of the audio several years ago and was provided with basic details of titles/running time by the actual collector who claims to have it. However Brucebase has been unable to listen to even snippets of the audio and, as such, we cannot verify that the claim is genuine. Intriguingly however, one of the song titles provided, "Inside The Castle Walls" has subsequently turned out to be a verified Springsteen composition from this era.The existence of this composition only became known in 2005, which lends some credence (but not compelling proof) to the claim the audio is real.
Bruce covered the song in september 1967 with the Castiles at the band’s second gig in the 'left foot' in Freehold. Bruce takes the lead vocal on this song. Only 26 minutes of the band’s 60-minute performance exists on the original master tape. The tape inclused San Fransiscan nights. Keep in mind that only a small amount of setlists of the early years has surfaced, so it may have been played a lot more. One show, double bill, with The Castiles headlining. This was The Castiles' final appearance at The Left Foot. Although having only opened in September 1967, The Left Foot’s popularity dropped dramatically in March 1968 when the larger, trendier Freehold Hullabaloo club opened nearby. The Left Foot closed for good in April 1968.  The 13-song mentioned setlist represents The Castiles’ complete performance at this show, in the correct song sequence. 


"Hey Joe" is an American popular song from the 1960s that has become a rock standard and has been performed in many musical styles by hundreds of different artists."Hey Joe" tells the story of a man who is on the run and planning to head to Mexico after shooting his unfaithful wife. The song was registered for copyright in the United States in 1962 by Billy Roberts. However, diverse credits and claims have led to confusion about the song's authorship.The earliest known commercial recording of the song is the late-1965 single by the Los Angeles garage band the Leaves; the band then re-recorded the track and released it in 1966 as a follow-up single which became a hit. The best-known version is the Jimi Hendrix Experience's 1966 recording.The song title is sometimes given as "Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go?" or similar variations.
Billy Roberts

Bruce on the artist


Hey Joe
Uh, where you goin' with that gun in your hand?
Hey Joe
I said where you goin' with that gun in your hand?

I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady
You know, I caught her messin' around with another man, yeah
I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady
You know I caught her messin' around with another man
Huh, and that ain't too cool

Uh, Hey Joe
I heard you shoot your woman down, you shot her down, now
Hey Joe
I said I heard you shoot your old lady down
You shot her down to the ground... yeah

Yes I did, I shot her
You know I caught her messin' round, messin' round town
Uh-yes I did, I shot her
You know, I caught my old lady messin' around town
And I gave her the gun
I shot her

Ah...Hey Joe, alright
Shot her one more time again, baby

Ah, dig it
Ah, ... Ooo, alright

Hey Joe, said now
Uh-where you gonna run to now?
Where you gonna run to?
Hey Joe, I said
Where you gonna run to now?
Where you, where you gonna go?
Well, dig it!

I'm goin' way down south
Way down to Mexico way
I'm goin' way down south
Way down where I can be free
Ain't no one gonna find me

Ain't no hangman gonna
He ain't gonna put a rope around me
You better believe it right now! I gotta go now
Hey, hey Joe
You better run on down
Goodbye everybody
Hey, hey-hey Joe, uhh
Run on down!