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Wild Billy's Circus Story

Wild Billy's Circus Story is the fourth song on The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. It describes a panoply of circus people, including the fat woman ("Big Mama"), the fire-eater (who's "lyin' in a pool of sweat, a victim of the heat wave") and more. None of the characters get more than a line or two of description, characterizing them as dysfunctional, and bored in spite of the apparent freakishness. The titular character, Billy, is not introduced until the very end when the "circus boss" whispers to him "hey son, do you wanna try the big top?/Nebraska's the next stop."

First Line

"The machinist climbs his
ferris wheel like a brave"