|Born to Run
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Few albums are as fueled by hope, possibility, and the lure of the open road as Born to Run, a virtual concept album about small-town Jerseyites in search of a better life via hot-rodding out on the turnpike, scoring some small-time hustle, or blowing out of town altogether, either across the river to New York City or west for parts unknown. Songs like "Jungleland," "Thunder Road," "Backstreets," and the title track are epic productions, both sonically and lyrically, borrowing from Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, and West Side Story. When Born to Run was released in 1975, it earned then-unknown Springsteen the rare honor of simultaneous covers on both Time and Newsweek. The attention was warranted then, and it still is now. --Daniel Durchholz
- Show a little faith there's magic in the night...
Not a huge Bruce fan. Moreso because i was born in 1986 and the only songs i ever really heard of him was all of his new stuff, and some of the overplayed songs that came off his "landmark" recording Born In The USA. To me, he hit his stride early with this amazing album. With a song like THUNDER ROAD, how can it not be amazing, the title in itself blows you away. The title track is amazing, as is more or less every other track here. Honestly if you are questioning if getting into Bruce is worth your time, don't bank on Born in the USA to change your mind. Look back at Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town. These are the albums that will move you, and my guess is that the songs on USA already make you sick and if they don't listen to classic rock radio for a day or two and then they will. Just my opinion...more info
- better than greatest
If instead they'd titled this CD "Greatest Hits," I'd have no real argument with that. Not to downplay many other great songs and albums by the Boss, I just don't know of any other collections by him, or any other artist for that matter, that feature such a solid lineup of songs. Maybe you're thinking this is just more hype from a fanatical Jerseyite, and maybe you're partially right. I am a transplant here though, with no special homegrown state pride. Listening to this collection does somehow make living here seem here a little bit special though, which is saying quite a lot for Springsteen, the CD, and a place like this....more info
- Thirty years old and still running...
In 1975 Bruce Springsteen sat in relative obscurity. On the east coast, he and his band had reached local legendary status for nightly shows lasting longer than "Titanic". But the first two albums didn't capture the public's imagination at the time. It's hard to believe in retrospect, but the sales of 1973's "Greetings from Asbury Park NJ" and "The Wild The Innocent And the E Street Shuffle" were embarassingly low (in his revelatory Rolling Stone review of this album, Greil Marcus called them "you have to see them live" albums). With his career in the balance (he may not have survived another commerical flop) the classic "Born to Run" appeared. And thus begins the story familiar to millions of fans.
So what happened? What changed on "Born to Run"? For one thing, this album doesn't try to only capture the band's famous live sound. It was recorded with the recording studio in mind. In other words, Springsteen left the live sound to the clubs and theaters and starting thinking about recording for an audience that hadn't, or couldn't, experience the live shows at the time. Overdubs and studio tricks abounded to create the sound that still feels full and new today. Apparently the title track contains a dozen or so guitar tracks. Springsteen had discovered the studio (and finally given the budget to do so). And soon the public would discover him. 1975 changed everything for Springsteen and the E-Street Band.
Springteen's main appeal lies in his passion and "Born to Run" contains it in droves. From the opening piano rolls of "Thunder Road" to Springsteen's explosive "from the diaphragm with a catapult" vocals, past the stunning "Night", "Backstreets", the title track, and the sprawling fantastic closer "Jungleland" the album never lets up. Mostly for its raw uninhibited passion it remains one of the best classic rock albums ever recorded.
Thematically, the album speaks of dark shadowy streets, fast cars that offer redemption, and a sense of homelessness and lives with shaky foundations on the balance. Though the album has sold millions, its lyrics reverberate anything but a "popular" or "happy go lucky" view of the world. It explores a murkier side of life that Springsteen has made all his own. More of this perspective would emerge on the follow up albums "Darkness on the Edge of Town", "The River", and "Nebraska". The ride begins here (and to some extent on his previous albums) and some thirty years later it's still a ride well worth getting on....more info
Why doesn't anyone ever mention "Night"? All I read about are "Thunder Road," "Backstreets," "Born to Run," and "Jungleland." Sure, they're all great songs--but I would definitely put "Night" with them. I heard Springsteen perform "Night" in concert and it was awesome. IMHO, the best song about everyday life since the Beatles' "A Day in the Life."...more info
- DOWN TO 4.5 STARS?
Bruce Springsteen Doesnt deserve this. And this album in particular. There is no other album as epic as this one. Every song is a masterpiece. You should not go through life without hearing the title song and "Thunder Road". One thing that bugs the heck out of me is its down to 4.5 stars due to all the ignorant people who review Bruce's political views. You people forgot this is a free country? You people reviewing his political views are just as ignorant sounding as those people you claim are "Anti-American". How is Bruce anti-american exactly? Just because he disagrees with Goerge Bush's actions doesnt make him a criminal or anything. It's ok, it's free country. Say anything you want about the president and the war on Iraq. Unfortuantly you ignorant people dont realize this. That's why people out there in other countries look at america as evil.
As far as this album and the MUSIC. This album is just fantastic. I am dissapointed to see this album going from 5 stars - where it should be - to 4.5 stars. If you Bruce fans agree with me, show it by clicking on the Helpful button. So we finally can get the review back to 5 stars....more info
- Just like I remember it
One of the best rock albums ever! The Boss is fresh, with the cockyness of youth....more info
- "...They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets..."
Having been an impressionable fifteen year old when BORN TO RUN first ran, it's hard, thirty two (!) years later to adequately measure the impact this album had. The changes it wrought in the young people who first heard it were very nearly on the cellular level (that's biology, not telephony, you 21st century yahoos!). The only reason that BORN TO RUN did not acquire near biblical status amongst my immediate peers was because Springsteen was a Jerseyite, not a Long Islander (that's "Lawn Guylander" to you, man), and while bopping back forties in the schoolyard at night and choking down red-pack Marlboros by the handful, we still managed to sneer a bit at "B.S.", that yokel from the swamplands that stretched "from the coastline to The City."
Of course, even the sneeringest, the most Billy Joelic, Good Ratsish, and Twisted Sisterite of us couldn't deny that Springsteen had created a work of aural cinematography with BORN TO RUN. Virtually every song is not only memorable but visceral in a way that rock albums have not been for so long since then. Sure, those New Jersey people obviously lived in hog pens and drank budget beer, but just like us, they dreamed of taking Dad's old Musclecar ("Hemipowered drones") on a 120 MPH rip down Route 80 toward the setting sun. Go West, young man. Go West.
And yet, there's more here than wish fulfillment. There's real depth. When Bruce sings of the "skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets," he unconsciously echoes Allen Ginsberg in 'Sunflower Sutra': "Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pipe. 'Look at the sunflower,' he said." Springsteen gave us our own flowering in the sun.
BORN TO RUN spoke so loudly and meaningfully because it spoke so universally. Trapped in seemingly dead-end suburban small towns (just within sight of the New York skyline, but oh, so far away) we wanted so desperately to run, we dreamed of hearing that long, mournful train whistle blow, we wanted Dylan's vision of the soul in BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, but we also wanted the brash unrestrained energy of Bruce S. on a hot, neon-encrusted night.
A Shaman with a guitar, he gave us visions: "...She dances across the porch as the radio plays." The blonde wore Wayfarers. Her name was Wendy. Or Mary. Or maybe it didn't matter as long as "her eyes shone like the Midnight Sun. She was the one." ...more info
- THE musical poet
If ever there was proof that Springsteen was a poet then look no further. This album was written back when I was a mere 4 years old and I have yet to find lyrics that move me as much as this WHOLE album still does to this day. This was only the fourth BOSS album I purchased but is a benchmark for anyone new to his music. I have not yet been fortunate to experience the man live (I must be jinxed as he always sells out before I get a look in), however, his singular poetry and insite into the the thoughts and feelings of the everyday man (upto this very day) continue to move, inspire and provoke that which moves us most deeply.
If you haven't had the priveledge, introduce yourself to (and find out why they call him) THE BOSS!!!...more info
- Great music... an instant classic.
I have always been a fan of Bruce Springsteen and just listening to his great music once again reminds me of what an amazing musician he is. I reccomend this alblum to fans of rock n roll and Bruce himself....more info
- Born to run my review
Born to run changrd rock for the better. thuderroad ts the anthem for a generation. shestheone meeting night born to run are all legendary tenth avenue freezeout is entretaining. the highlights aer backstreets with emotional vocal heavy guitar and piano. jungleland is the high light with the best sax solo epic guitar and piano. this is one of the greatest it deserves its fame and praise. when we needed it Bruce came thru on here and Darkness on the edge of town....more info
- The best CD in thirty years? At least in the top ten!
"Born to Run" is Bruce Springsteen's masterpiece, much like T.S. Elliot's "Wasteland", Marilyn Monroe's "Some Like it Hot", F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby", and Picasso's "Guernica" it speaks of time and place and yet remains timeless and universal. It is hard to believe that it is now 30 years old, yet retaining the power of any masterpiece, which is the power to speak across time and space to address the human experience while remaining true to its art form, in this case popular music.
There are few works of art that have raw power, the power to amaze and transfix. Like Soutine's famous paintings of raw carcases of beef flesh, "Born to Run" hits in the gut and in the heart. The Amazon 5 star rating does not apply to some works of art, and "Born to Run" is one of those works.
Springsteen sings of a New Jersey wasteland, in which blue collar expectations are tempered with the optimism of youth, fueled by lust and the desire to reinvent our lives.
Springsteen was not one of these poets, "Born to Run" is as honest a stand as exists in American music history.
- One of the best albums ever....
First, let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a rabid fan of Springsteen's body of work post "Born to Run". That said, I was 15 years old when I had the opportunity to see a 1977 Springsteen concert, and that show still stands as one of my favorite concerts of all time. Born to Run was played almost in its entirety, and immediately became a part of my vinyl collection immediately afterwards.
I consider the lyrics on this album to be at a level only achieved by a very elite group (Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks", ironically also released in 1975, is very comparable).
Ignore political views (remember, if we sanctioned music based on politics or other hot topics of the day, I am not sure there would be much left) and add this to your collection. It will survive the test of time and will outlive all of us.
I came back from Vietnam, a young and confused kid and my sister told me that she had heard this new group, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Shuffle. My response was that any group with that moniker would never make it. So I guess that's how much I knew. But then, "Born to Run" was released.
The individual songs are, like a great book, seamless. True, an overused word. But accurate nonetheless.
And Bruce stays true to his title although I think sometimes it's more about freedom. I've thought about this for awhile and I think that some albums . . . Four Way Street, Allman Brothers: Live at Fillmore East, are meant to be live. And some are better in the studio. "Born to Run" is in the latter group.
I don't know which track stands out. I'll be listening to 106.7 in Detroit and Thunder Road comes on and I say, 'that's it!' A couple of weeks later I'm in Chicago visiting my son and listening to XRT on 93.1 and Jungleland comes on. And I say, 'that's it!'
This is a remarkable album about a remarkable band. I listen to Jungleland, Meeting across the River, Thunder Road and Born to Run and all I can think about is hope. Hope for us all. Hope for ourselves. 5 stars. Larry Scantlebury...more info
- A masterpiece that was hard to top.
It's easy to forget how good this album is or take it for granted. When I first heard it in 1975, I was swept away with Bruce's cinematic approach and intensity. The Phil Spector-like production values and lyrical visions of tough luck kids on fast cars or motorcycles wanting out of the dreary overcast Jersey landscape, looking across the river to New York, hoping for a better life is poignant. He captures the characters and the moods very well. This is a unifying theme thoughout most blue-collar neighborhoods in America. It was a very romantic view of young America with a mix of doo-wop, hustlers, rock and roll, and West Side Story images. This is without a doubt..ONE OF THE TEN BEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME! Unfortunately, when you hit 75 home runs with a .450 average for one season, everyone expects the same again and again. In my estimation, I've always been waiting for another Born To Run, but that would be impossible. 1978's Darkness, was a shadow of that. 1984's Born In The USA came close. It's the Orson Welles syndrome, after Citizen Kane...how can you top that! Well, if Bruce never recorded another note after Born to Run, he would have still made rock history. Every song is a Rolls Royce in production, melody and lyrical values. When you create a masterpiece...what can you do for an encore?...more info
- America's Original Working Class Dog.
Sure this is not Bruce Springsteen's first great album, he released two other albums before it and all of his early albums were great, but none of them define him as well as this one. One thing that is enjoyable about Springsteen's music is that he was the very opposite of the glam rock phenomena that was over taking the world in the early 70s. He rarely wrote about the glamorous life of being rich and famous and instead wrote from the level of a middle-class man trying to be heard in the world. In the process he creates a wide range of colorful characters and stories that range from teenagers trying to break free to darker subjects such as crime and punishment.
It starts with the album opener, "Thunder Road", a classic, "I wanna break free from life on the farm", type of story. The piano riff at the beginning creates a very humble and simple atmosphere that leads into the yearning verses of love, hope, and ambition for a better life. And thats only track one.
We continue on through the road of everyday hardships with songs such as the light-hearted, "10th avenue freeze-out", the anthemic, "Backstreets", and the title track. The track, "Born To Run", was a major achievement in songwriting. The guitar and piano riff along with the hopeful lyrics really convey the sense of cruising down the highway, away from all your troubles and worries. "She's The One", starts out as an emotional ballad before exploding into an anthemic rocker. We're treated to the whimsical and darkness of, "Meeting Across The River", before venturing into the albums final and longest piece, "Jungleland". The lightness and hope of the album all comes to an end in the dark and horrifying finale of this song. A Bonnie and Clyde type tale that ends violently but hardly inappropriately.
Bruce Springsteen was hailed as a savior to Classic Rock-n-Roll, steering away from both the more complex prog-rock and the fast punk-rock of the 70s. Springsteen would go into darker subject matter on his follow-up ,"Darkness On The Edge Of Town", and he would return to being anthemic on his hit, "Born In The USA", but this is the album that got him moving and it will always be remembered as one of his greatess achievements....more info
- born to run for years
This has become Bruce Springsteen's most popular album, and for good reason- the songwriting is very good this time around, and immediately enjoyable for most people. This is one of those albums that people listen to and remember exactly where they were when they first heard these songs.
Some of these songs blow me away completely and make me fully aware just how talented the Boss is, such as "She's the One" and "Jungleland". Love those tunes.
Classic rock radio actually doesn't play those songs as much as you'd think- instead they choose to stick with the title track and "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" and ignore pretty much the rest of the album. Of course that's wrong, but we can't do anything about it.
My only complaint is that Bruce was obviously going for some kind of deliberate loud and explosive bombastic sound while making these songs, and sometimes that's a turn off to me personally because the songs end up sounding like some kind of stage show. Bruce Springsteen is no Abba!
Other than that, the quality of the songwriting is very good. And you know, I've never noticed it before, but Bruce's voice resembles Elvis Presley a little bit when he lets it shake. That's pretty cool. ...more info
- I'm Pulling Out of Here to Win
If you haven't heard BORN TO RUN, please God go down to your local record store right now and pick up a copy, because this I'm not exaggerating when I say that this just may be the greatest record of all time.
The Great American Novel is the book, better than any other, that perfectly embodies the essence of America and American life - its hardship, its joy, its defeat, its triumph. You can think of BORN TO RUN then as the Great American Album. It is the culmination of the teen operas of Phil Spector, the rock n' roll fervour of Little Richard, the yearning loneliness of Roy Orbison, the incandescent soul of James Brown, the brilliantly surreal narratives of Bob Dylan, the streetlife drama of West Side Story, and then some. To speak of individual tracks is like focusing on a single figure in a great mural. Because as staggeringly powerful as the the crescendo of "Thunder Road" is; as much hope and raw energy are contained in simply the opening chords of "Born to Run"; as tragic as the heartbroken lovers of "Backstreets" are - BORN TO RUN is an entity unto itself, the place where the hunger of youth, the lure of the open road, the dream of a better life somewhere beyond the horizon, all the anguish and passion and promise of a final, desperate night, explode into glorious, all-consuming flame. Quite simply, this is what rock is all about.
I first discovered BORN TO RUN just before Christmas 2005, and I was enthralled from the very beginning. But this last year my circumstances conspired to transform it from merely an awe-inspiring record to something more. Much more. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be there when this wonderful, amazing, awe-inspiring THING first came out, or, Heaven forbid, to actually hear these songs performed live by the man himself. Few rock records can approach BORN TO RUN; even fewer can equal it; but I have yet to hear one that can actually top it. Honest to God, it doesn't get any better than this....more info
- Still a gem after thirty years
Since Rock & Roll began, there have been a few key turning points in it's history. Certian points, like the release of Elvis Presley's "Thats Alright Mama", or The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show brought about huge changes in musical thought and attitude. Bruce Springsteen accomplished no less than this when he released "Born To Run" in '75. Reving up the engine with his first two LP's. His third album had the perfect fuel mixture and torque to race into Rock & Roll legend. Bruce combined all his influences. Chuck Berry's rebellious rock with descriptive lyrics, the introspective songs of the 60's and the ever growing anthem rock of the 70's. Story telling may not have been a new art form, but this was our story he is telling. In "Thunder Road" he writes "riding out to case the promised land" and i felt myself wanting to go! As a teenager at the right age, i really did have "barefoot girls sitting on the hood of a dodge (actually a Ford, same concept though). But words are just poetry by themselves. Bruce formed a band (including himself) thats rocks as talented and as hard as his lyric are moving. I recommend his other classics like "Darkness" and The River" to get the full compliment of his Rock & Roll range and heart. But to me, with "Born To Run", Bruce Springsteen put himself in some pretty good musical company, and influenced my heart for good.
- An Absolute Rock Classic; Springsteen Hits The Highway
After his first two album sold very poorly this would become his make or brake sessions. Springsteen could hardly pay his band anymore and his legendary scruffy look of the time had more to do with him not being able to buy new clothes than carefull image building. The music press were raving about him. Both Rolling Stone and Time magazine featured article with him on the cover. The sales not on par with the hype. Not everybody was confident he could make it at the time, even in his innercircle. After recording the Rock & Roll classic Born to Run his drummer and keyboard player left the band. The Born to Run sessions found Springsteen plagued by insecurity but determinate to hit big. He stripped down his writing creating songs that had a cinematic quality to them. The opening lyrics of the album continue to be some of the most vivid songwriting in history of Rock.
"The screen door slams
Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again"
The Album finds Springsteen trying to find everything he's ever loved in R&R and cramp it into one album. He puts layer on layer. Trying to recreate the Phil Spector sound he loves. He keeps scratching away at the words in an attempt to equal the mini opera's of Orbison. His guitar scream as uninhibited as Chuck Berry's and the horns shout Sweet "Stax" Soul Music at you. This record has to be everything R&R symbolizes, not only to Springsteen but to us all.. "Kids flash guitars just like switch-blades hustling for the record machine, The hungry and the hunted explode into rock'n'roll bands, That face off against each other out in the street down in Jungleland", as Springsteen realizes the competition is big.
Born to Run marks a important turning point in Springsteen's career. Although much of the album still deals with his experiences in New Jersey, it's the first album we find Springsteen looking out on the road to the rest of America. "When the change was made uptown And the Big Man joined the band, From the coastline to the city, All the little pretties raise their hands" Springsteen sings in 10th avenue. Here he's still the punk with a R&R dream getting his band together. But by the time we get to Born to Run he realizes the confinements of the Jersey shore. "Baby this town rips the bones from your back, It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap, We gotta get out while we're young, 'Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run" he screams, he's ready to go for broke. "the poets down here
Don't write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be" he rants in Jungle Land as he realizes R&R should be more, lager than life. And that's just what he's about to become....more info
- Bravo Bruce, Bravo
I discovered Mr.Springsteen when I was just 7 years old, with his publication of The Rising, and have gone to every one of his concerts since then.
Take it from an experienced Bruce fan, This is probably his best album ever to hit the shelves. From the beggining of the harmonica introduction of Thunder Road to the anguished yell at the end of Jungleland this album is one of the best I've ever heard.
He follows it right up with the Darkness on the Edge of Town album, another one of my fav's. If you are new to Bruce I suggest you start with this album, then go to something more recent, like Born in the U.S.A. or, Lucky Town, and Finally go to someting that just came out within the last 5 years, like The Rising, or Devils and Dust.
Anyway this is one of my favorite albums of all time and, If you are a serious music lover, it's a crime that you don't have this album....more info
- Loud and proud
Nearly as big and bold sounding as the distinguished pedigree would suggest, yet in all its rugged glory, somehow falls short of intended power for me, as Springsteen howls through a few brilliantly transcending, but some musically similar ideas in an overall semi-contrived, but potently rawer approach. ...more info
- Wings For Wheels: Springsteen grabs at the brass ring, and falls ever-so-slightly short.
A monolith of 70's music, this is Springsteen's attempt at summarizing everything that was good and pure about the previous two decades of American rock 'n' roll. "Thunder Road" alone spikes a tap deep into half a century of post-war American folk and teenage mythology, with its casual references to Roy Orbison, Robert Mitchum films, prom-night fantasies, country porches, dusty beach roads and adolescent "Leader of the Pack" ghosts.
It's a very calculated album, though, and I confess that this premeditation hurts it when compared to the more spontaneous "noble savage" vibe of The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle. Some of the music on here is actually rather generic for Springsteen during this era: "Night" is Boss-by-the-numbers, seemingly written as a means to a conceptual end, and "She's The One" fails to deliver on the promise of its Bo Diddley necromancy. (Try to check it out live, however...the performances from Springsteen's 1978 tour, with "Mona" interpolated, finally pull it off.)
As proof of how naked and daring Springsteen's stylized ambitions were on Born To Run, realize that "Jungleland" -- with its star-crossed "Magic Rat" and "Barefoot Girl," musical gangs full of kids who "flash guitars just like switchblades," and midnight shoot-out leaving the hero dead while the Girl mourns -- is nothing more than a goofy 1974 rewrite of that hoary Broadway chestnut West Side Story.
And as proof of how well he managed to pull all this off?...well, why don't you just admit that most of y'all have been hearing this song for more than 30 years now without making that connection. Pretty good job, I'd say. But still, Born To Run is too consciously artifical in its construction to rank as Bruce's best. On later albums, the seams, joints and bolts of his assembly didn't show nearly as much. On earlier ones, the act of creation was more organic. I can't remotely conceive of anyone being disappointed if they buy this album (for god's sake please do it...it's much more than just the two radio hits), but it's not his finest work....more info