When Bruce Springsteen’s first two albums had been released to critical acclaim but were considered to have been commercial failures, the artist went back into the studio to try and create a breakthrough album.
What finally emerged from these sessions was one of the best rock albums in music history. It would top the English charts and ultimately sell over six million copies in the United States. Born To Run would be added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2003. Rolling Stone Magazine would name it the 18th greatest album of all time.
Born To Run is an album whose songs are connected and fused into one long and brilliant epic. The stories of escape, romance, loss, and desperation spoke to a generation and the one that followed. There was little mysticism or obscure lyrics, but rather the songs contained realistic visions of American youth.
Roy Bittan’s piano introduction to “Thunder Road” begins a fusion of the emotional and spiritual in a present day sense. This is Springsteen’s ode to a girl “who aint' a beauty but she’s all right.” The song has a sweep and an energy that was unique in modern rock ‘n’ roll.
The title song, “Born To Run” is a rock song in the purest sense. It is an anthem filled with energy and attitude while telling a story of escape and rebellion. Rolling Stone Magazine named it the 21st greatest song of all time. The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame honored it as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock ‘n’ roll.
“Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” was the song that exposed me to Springsteen back in 1975. It has almost a rhythm & blues feel. It is a joyful tune with brass and guitar out front. This song made me a believer and I remember quickly buying his first two releases and every studio album since. I was not alone.
The album closer is the spectacular and memorable “Jungleland.” This nine minute plus epic of hope and despair is almost cinematic in scope with well thought out characters that are brought to life via a driving guitar and the smoothness of Clarence Clemons saxophone.
The above songs are only half of the album. “Backstreets” lulls the listener for an instant. There are drums, piano and then a blast off. “Meeting Across The River” is a short story that Springsteen was so good at telling. “She’s The One” is a simple, sensitive song of the eternal longing for love. “Night” features some brilliant piano and sax as it talks about freedom in the night only to return to the real world at daylight.
Born To Run is a journey for the rock ‘n’ roll faithful which offers hope at the end. It remains as relevant now as in 1975.