Sunday, August 6, 2017

"Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  2123
Date:  11/10/1984
Debut:  52
Peak:  9
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  On the heels of two Top 10 singles (one gold, one platinum) from his album Born in the U.S.A., Springsteen released this title-track as the third single. The anthem moved up both the Rock and Pop charts and peaked within a spot of each other (#8 Rock/#9 Pop). The single would also go gold giving Springsteen a third certified record in a row. The album had already spent four weeks at #1 and might have returned to the top at this point, but it was blocked by another mega-hit LP, Prince's Purple Rain. However, early in '85 the album would regain some momentum and return to the top of the chart for three weeks. In doing so, it would go on to become 1985's top charting album.

ReduxReview:  All it takes it about two seconds to recognize this song. The keys and that huge snare sound are unmistakable. From there it just gets better. What's really amazing is that Springsteen and the band created a heap of magic from two chords. It builds until Springsteen finally howls and then just as it seems like the band is just gonna go off the rails and crash, he brings them around again for a final faded outro. Tie all this into the damning lyrics and shouted chorus and you get a masterpiece for the ages. It's four minutes of brilliance that goes way beyond just being a song.


Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) This song had a long history. Springsteen first wrote the song back in 1981. Film director Paul Schrader wanted a song to go with a screenplay he wrote and Springsteen offered up this song. Unfortunately, the film didn't get made until much later (see below). The song sat around until Springsteen tried to give it an acoustic treatment for his Nebraska album. That didn't work and the song was set aside again. In early '82, Springsteen and the E Street Band did a spontaneous arrangement of the song in the studio and recorded the song. The second take of the song would end up being the first song recorded for the album. Apparently, it had an extended jam-session coda of which eight minutes were trimmed to make it shorter and more commercial.  2) Schrader eventually made the film he wanted to do and still got a Springsteen song out of it. In 1986 he wrote and directed Light of Day, which starred Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett. Still needing a song, Springsteen wrote the title-track for the film. Joan Jett would record it and perform it in the film. It would be issued as a single and reach #13 Rock/#33 Pop.  3) This song has been misinterpreted by so many folks over the years. The song is about the poor treatment of Vietnam veterans after they returned home from the war. However, the biting commentary in the verses often got overshadowed by the fist-pumping, arena-rockin' chorus, which made people think it was a big pro-American pride song.


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