Bruce Springsteen’s first two albums were critical smashes but they didn’t reach a mainstream audience. Even ‘Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),’ which has become a concert and classic rock radio staple, was ignored at the time.
But in 1975, all that changed with the release of Born to Run. Springsteen’s third album put him on the map, reaching #3 on the Billboard charts and quickly going Gold (it has since sold more than 6 million copies). Columbia Records promoted Springsteen and the album heavily, calling him “the future of rock-n-roll,” much to his chagrin.
It’s hard to argue with the description, however. Springsteen’s blend of Bob Dylan’s poetic sensibility with a muscular rock/jazz sound that could shake an arena did signal a new direction for rock music. You can hear the influence of Born to Run in many of today’s popular bands (Arcade Fire probably wouldn’t exist without early Springsteen).
Born to Run is considered by many to be Springsteen’s finest album, in large part because it features three of his most iconic songs — the title track, ‘Thunder Road’ and ‘Jungleland.’
The truth is, the album could consist solely of today’s SOTD, ‘Born to Run,’ and still be an all-time classic. This song should be ranked right up there with Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ as the signature rock songs of the modern era. It is stirring as poetry and soul-shaking as laid down on record. Truly one of the defining moments of American music history.
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected
and steppin’ out over the line
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
Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs ’round these velvet rims
and strap your hands across my engines
Together we could break this trap
We’ll run till we drop, baby we’ll never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
‘Cause baby I’m just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta find out how it feels
I want to know if love is wild
girl I want to know if love is real
Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss
The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody’s out on the run tonight
but there’s no place left to hide
Together Wendy we’ll live with the sadness
I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don’t know when
we’re gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go
and we’ll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run
Agree with all you have said. The lyrics of this song are simply extraordinary (and good use of metaphor in the second verse:)).
one of the best (and one of my very favorite) rock songs ever written. this song was my gateway to rock and roll.
So well said. Yes, this song is iconic, and it’s hard to argue with its status as one of those essential rock and roll songs.