Howlin' Wolf - Back Door Man

First performance: 00/09/1968


Bruce covered the song only once: 
1968-09-00 Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ 
Springsteen (along with fellow Earth-band members John Graham and Michael Burke) entered Ocean County College in September 1968. Bruce ended up staying for three semesters, dropping out in December 1969 shortly after his parents moved to California. Earth is believed to have performed several times at Ocean County College during the September to December 1968 period. Springsteen even contributed a piece of poetry to Seascape, the school's Literary Yearbook. The twenty-six mentioned songs are taken from the only known Earth-era repertoire listing. The document is likely to have been created by Springsteen in September or October 1968. The amount of tracks displayed, their sequencing, plus the header and numbering notation by Bruce, all point to this as being an inventory of Earth's live repertoire of 'cover' material. For this reason it is of greater historical significance than an individual gig setlist, particularly in that no Earth audio is circulating. A few of these songs are performance hold-overs from the The Castiles-era. Since Earth was a three-piece band it's hardly surprising that material from both Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience (the era's two premier three-piece bands) are abundantly represented. 
photo credit Billy Smith


"Back Door Man" is a blues song written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Howlin' Wolf in 1960. It was released in 1961 by Chess Records as the B-side to Wolf's "Wang Dang Doodle" . The song is considered a classic of Chicago blues. In Southern culture, the phrase "back-door man" refers to a man having an affair with a married woman, using the back door as an exit before the husband comes home. "When everybody trying to sleep, I'm somewhere making my midnight creep / Every morning the rooster crow, something tell me I got to go / I am a back door man," Wolf sings. The promiscuous "back-door man" is a theme of many blues songs, including those by Charley Patton, Lightnin' Hopkins, Blind Willie McTell and Sara Martin: "every sensible woman got a back-door man," Martin wrote in "Strange Loving Blues" (1925). Led Zeppelin referred to the Dixon song in "Whole Lotta Love" (1969) ("Shake for me girl, I want to be your back-door man") and in "Since I've Been Loving You" (1970) ("You must have one of them new fangled back door men!").

Other cover versions

Bruce on the artist


I am, a back door man
I am, a back door man
Well the, men don't know, but the little girls understand
When everybody's tryin' to sleep
I'm somewhere making my, midnight creep
Yes in the morning, when the rooster crow
Something tell me, I got to go
I am, a back door man
I am, a back door man
Well the, men don't know, but little girls understand
They, take me to the doctor, shot full o' holes
Nurse cried, please save the soul
Killed him for murder, first degree
Judge's wife cried, let the man go free
I am, a back door man
I am, a back door man
Well the, men don't know, but little girls understand
Stand out there, cop's wife cried
Don't take him down, rather be dead
Six feets in the ground
When you come home you can eat, pork and beans
I eats mo' chicken, any man seen
I am, a back door man
I am, a back door man