In virtually every conceivable way, Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen’s breakthrough third album, was both a reflexive and prophetic metaphor about Springsteen’s confidence, creative restiveness, and career trajectory. With seemingly insurmountable amounts of pressure from media and the label, Springsteen was intent on escaping the hype that began to peg him as the “next big thing in Rock ‘n’ Roll” in the mid-’70s. After holing away in the studio for 14 months—skittishly avoiding the press as comparisons to Bob Dylan and others began to caustically eat away him—Springsteen ultimately solidified his status as the very thing he was uncomfortable with after Born To Run captured the imagination of an entire generation that was exhausted from protracted disillusionment with American life.
The track “Born To Run”, which was the first song on the B-side of the album, painted a very precise yet universal picture of youthful passion and discontentment with the American Dream. There is something so poignant and sad and important about the idea of young people finally having agency but choosing to use this new power to flee, forever on the move. With the help of the E-Street band—which had just added drummer Max Weinberg—this composition sounded bigger, tighter, and more galvanizing than many of the tracks that had populated Springsteen’s previous two albums. After what must have an excruciating six months in the studio, “Born To Run”, ultimately took flight, and up toward the ether went Springsteen’s career as well. From this point forward, he would go on to release some of the most quintessential American classics in music history. All it took was solid pace, a unified vision, and an iconic support network (see above image of Springsteen literally leaning on Clarence Clemons).
What is your favorite cut off of Born To Run? Is it the title track? Is it “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”? We wanna know!