On the 12th anniversary of September 11, original Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora released a new song, "Engine 19," which he co-wrote with Elton John's longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin.
"With deepest compassion, Bernie Taupin and I wrote this song dedicated to victims families and heroes of 9/11," Sambora tweeted.
"Engine 19" is a simple piano and guitar ballad that sounds like an Elton John song conveyed through the American working man's pride of Bruce Springsteen. The number starts with delicate, arpeggiated piano chords that establish a reflective mood before the melody becomes more fleshed out and the vocals begin. The lyrics aren't about the men and women who lost their lives on 9/11. Instead, Sambora and Taupin tell the story of a family of New York firemen through the eyes of one of the brothers.
The most poignant part of the song is its catchy chorus: "We're boys from New York doing our job/There's times we get hurt, there's those that we've lost/In the fire and the smoke from the roof caving in/When there's one less comes out from Engine 19."
Another passage of the song celebrates the camaraderie of the team and the simple pleasures they enjoy when they’re not working. "We go 'round the corner on Friday to this little old neighborhood bar/Drink us some beers and shoot pool/Turn in a game or play cards."
In addition to depicting the heroism and all-for-one, one-for-all spirit of New York firefighters, "Engine 19" touches on the horrors they face on the job. "I'll admit when the summers get brutal I see twisted steel in my dreams/And I hear the crack of old timber and I know there's a hell that I've seen."
But in the end, the narrator of "Engine 19" concludes the he and his brothers are doing a job that needs to be done, so they continue to suit up each day and face whatever awaits them. "The boys from New York get on back up/And out of the shields in the ashes and dust/Every inch of that ladder, every man on this team/They all ride out together with Engine 19."
Tragically, the night Sambora released "Engine 19," more than 400 firefighters were called to battle a blaze that broke out in Seaside, New Jersey and destroyed the boardwalk that had been rebuilt after it was demolished by Hurricane Sandy. "Man I feel so bad for the people in my home state down in Seaside," Sambora tweeted. "Once again you are in my heart and prayers."