Youngstown, Ohio was once an essential part of America’s steel manufacturing network. In the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, the decline of the American steel industry devastated the economy of Youngstown. Revitalization projects over the last couple of decades have had mixed results.
In his ballad about the town, Springsteen traces the lineage of the steel industry in Youngstown from James and Daniel Heaton building the first blast furnace for ore in 1803 to the present day in which the “world’s changed” and the narrator has grown disillusioned and angry “Once I made you rich enough, rich enough to forget my name.”
Like nearly every other community around the globe, Youngstown has been devastated by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
When I die I don’t want no part of heaven
I would not do heaven’s work well
I pray the devil comes and takes me
To stand in the fiery furnaces of hell