Album: Born To Run


When Born to Run was released in 1975, it was the perfect counterpoint to the disco craze that had overwhelmed the music world. Springsteen showed that great rock and roll still ruled the day. Uploaded by

Like a volcano, the early albums of Bruce Springsteen caused the earth to shake, and some impressive fire to pour out. But the entire rock and roll landscape was transformed when Born to Run erupted onto the scene. At the same time that pop music was experiencing the impact of disco, Springsteen reminded everyone of what great rock and roll was all about.

If you’ve ready anything about Springsteen, you know he’s a control freak in the recording studio. Like many great artists, he had a sound in his head that he was desperately trying to capture on tape. The band obliterated the budget allotted for recording, and kept going because it still wasn’t right.  Fourteen months went into the recording, six months alone on the song “Born to Run.” Springsteen told Dave Marsh, “The album became a monster. It just ate up everyone’s life.”

Clearly, though, they got it right. Both Time and Newsweek put Springsteen on their covers, and the album received critical raves. Though it peaked at number 3 on the album chart, no question lingered about whether Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band had the chops to handle success. Look at these amazing tracks:

Side 1: “Thunder Road” * “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” * “Night” * “Backstreets”

Side 2: “Born to Run” * “She’s the One” * “Meeting Across the River” * “Jungleland”

In the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, Born to Run came in at number 18.

7 responses to “Album: Born To Run

  1. I am a non-American who has recently discovered Bruce. Still studying hard to catch up! Do check my Springsteen blog at

  2. Sorry, that’s my personal blog! The correct address is

  3. It is interesting to note that Springsteen originally intended the track sequence of BTR to add up to a concept album that collectively follows its characters throughout the course of a day, and the finished album still conveys that sort of feel. This album makes a dramatic shift from the more innocent and introverted street poet of the first two albums to a more gritty, realistic perspective where moments of romanticism yield to characters who are facing the loss of their youth.
    The reasons why BTR is a great record and continues to stand the test of time are many: its poignancy; it’s exhilarating rhythmic energy that alternated between a Phil Spector wall of sound, to roller rink piano, Buddy Holly rhythms and Bo Diddley beats that contrasts with the tales of kids born to run but lose anyway. But, most of all, the nighthawk poetry overflowing with images and metaphors that attain a kind of universality about the search for answers and the struggle to maintain faith and hope while desperately trying to escape to something better and catch the runaway American dream.
    For many, hearing these songs is like hearing your own life in music, even if you never grew up in working class New Jersey.

  4. Pingback: ‘Dave Marsh-Ing My Mellow: The Rolling Stone Record Guide and the Creation Of The Canon’ by Randall Roberts. « We Who Are About To Die

  5. John McQuillen

    In the foreword to the Clarence Clemons autobiography “Big Man Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales”, Bruce Springsteen wrote: “The story I have told throughout my work life I could not have told as well without Clarence. When you look at just the cover of ‘Born to Run,’ you see a charming photo, a good album cover, but when you open it up and see Clarence and me together, the album begins to work its magic. Who are these guys? Where did they come from? What is the joke they are sharing? A friendship and narrative steeped in the complicated history of America begins to form and there is music already in the air.”

    The spirit shall always remain in the night. RIP Big Man, and thank you for 40 years of thrills and chills.

  6. Robin Chalkley

    John, are you reading my mind? It wasn’t a half hour ago that I thought, “I ought to get in touch with John and see if he would add a eulogy to Clarence Clemons to his post. (For visitors who don’t know, John was the guest writer for the Bruce Springsteen post ( back during this blog’s very first month. Thanks for this moving and fitting tribute…

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