Just a quick trip from New York to New Jersey now in my favourite songs countdown, to run till we drop with Bruce Springsteen and assorted tramps, courtesy of 1975’s monumental “Born To Run”.
Although I am somewhat of a Bruce Springsteen agnostic, “Born To Run” stands out as one of the most electrifying rock records ever created. I’ve seen a quote from Springsteen that “Born To Run” was “my shot at the title. A 24 year old kid aiming at ‘the greatest rock n roll record ever’” and that’s always sounded like a perfect summary to me. Recorded over 6 months and striving for an epic “wall of sound” production, “Born To Run” lives up to its lofty expectations. From the initial pounding drumbeats and guitar motif, then overlaid with outrageously Americana lyrics such as being “sprung from cages out on Highway 9, chrome wheeled, fuel injected and stepping out over the line”, “Born To Run” builds an intoxicating world that non US natives may not fully understand, but sure does sound exciting.
And “Born To Run” just drips with excitement, its storytelling and ever spiralling musical accompaniments gloriously building and building throughout – the instrumental break near the end which then explodes into the count of “1234” followed by the genius nonsense that “the highway’s jammed with broken heroes, on a last chance power drive” is as thrilling as rock gets. This song has real personal resonance for me too, as the first song that I played while setting off in a convertible on a road trip from Austin during a long USA adventure, which I originally blogged about here; a really strong and powerful memory of pure elation and joy to this day.
Finally, I mentioned that I was somewhat Springsteen agnostic which I think is due to the feeling that for me, “Born To Run” seems to tower over all of his other songs to such a huge extent. With hindsight, I can now say that I was just waiting for a band that had dozens of such anthemically exuberant tunes – and then The Hold Steady came along; more on them in due course, which won’t be surprising to those who know me well musically…
VIDEOS AND OTHER STUFF
- “Born To Run” video on YouTube
- “Born To Run” live at Hammersmith Odeon, 1975
- Other great Bruce Springsteen songs that just missed out include: Thunder Road, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Streets Of Philadelphia.
- “Born To Run” is featured on my 379 to 50: 1 to 25 Spotify playlist
- Also featured on my 379: Rock Spotify playlist
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