Posts Tagged ‘Born To Run’

At number 14 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters is Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen is one of my favourite songwriters, I would rank him in my personal top 10. I first came across Springsteen in the late 1970s, when I became aware of his 1975 song “Born to Run”, and bought the album Born to Run on the strength of liking this song.

Springsteen was born in 1949 and grew up in a working class home in New Jersey. His father was mainly unemployed, and this poor upbringing coloured much of his music throughout his career; many of his songs deal with despair and desperation. Springsteen’s first album was the 1973 Greetings From Asbury Park N.J. (Asbury Park is a city in New Jersey and located on the Jersey shore. It is part of the New York City metropolitan area).

The first track on this debut album, “Blinded by the Light”, was released as a single, but failed to make any impact on the charts. It was later covered by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, who had a number 1 hit with  it in 1977. I remember this song in 1977, but at the time I had no idea that it was written by Bruce Springsteen; I had no idea who Springsteen was until about 1979.


At number 14 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Bruce Springsteen.

At number 14 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Bruce Springsteen.

Springsteen’s breakthrough album was his third, Born to Run, which was released in 1975. This album opens with the incredibly energetic song “Born to Run”, one of the great rock anthems of all-time. This song was released as a single in August 1975 and was Springsteen’s first single to be released worldwide. Its chart success was modest, but it has since gone on to be considered one of the greatest songs of all time, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it at 21 in their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, I blogged about it here.

After Born to Run, Springsteen went on to have a string of hit albums and singles, including “Hungry Heart”, “The River” (which I blogged about here), “Dancing in the Dark” (one of his biggest hits), “Born in the U.S.A” (one of his best known songs) and “Streets of Philadelphia”.

The song which I have decided to share today is his 1994 hit “Streets of Philadelphia”. This poignant song was written for the movie Philadelphia, a movie starring Tom Hanks, who won an Oscar for his performance of a lawyer who contracts HIV and is fired from his job. It illustrates beautifully Springsteen’s songwriting skills, both with its wonderful lyrics but also its haunting melody.

I was bruised and battered, I couldn’t tell what I felt.
I was unrecognizable to myself.
Saw my reflection in a window and didn’t know my own face.
Oh brother are you gonna leave me wastin’ away
On the streets of Philadelphia.

I walked the avenue, ’til my legs felt like stone,
I heard the voices of friends, vanished and gone,
At night I could hear the blood in my veins,
It was just as black and whispering as the rain,
On the streets of Philadelphia.

Ain’t no angel gonna greet me.
It’s just you and I my friend.
And my clothes don’t fit me no more,
I walked a thousand miles
Just to slip this skin.

Night has fallen, I’m lyin’ awake,
I can feel myself fading away,
So receive me brother with your faithless kiss,
Or will we leave each other alone like this
On the streets of Philadelphia.

Here is the official vide of this wonderful song. Enjoy!

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Last week I blogged about Bruce Springsteen’s album “Born to Run”, number 18 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest albums. Today I thought I would post this wonderfully poignant song “The River”, which came out on Springsteen’s 1980 album of the same name. It so typifies the wonderful way Springsteen is able to encapsulate the hopelessness felt by so many in the town he grew up in in, Freehold Borough, New Jersey.


I come from down in the valley where mister when you’re young
They bring you up to do like your daddy done.
Me and Mary we met in high school when she was just seventeen
We’d drive out of this valley down to where the fields were green.

We’d go down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride

Then I got Mary pregnant and man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat.
We went down to the courthouse and the Judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle
No flowers, no wedding dress

That night we went down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh oh down to the river we did ride

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown company
But lately there ain’t been much work on account of the economy.
Now all them things that seemed so important
Well mister they vanished right into the air
Now I just act like I don’t remember, Mary acts like she don’t care.

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir.
At night on them banks I’d lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take

Now those memories come back to haunt me, they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true? Or is it something worse?
That sends me down to the river
Though I know the river is dry
Down to the river, my baby and I
Oh down to the river we ride


Which is your favourite Bruce Springsteen song?

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At number 18 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest albums is “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen.


This was the first Bruce Springsteen album I ever owned. And the story behind my owning it is quite funny. I had bought it as a Christmas present for my then girlfriend, Christmas 1981. But just before Christmas she ran off with another boy, dumped me for him. So I kept the album, and I have to say I think I got the best of the deal, as it is still an album I listen to and like.

The title track, which is also the opening track, has to be one of the best rock songs ever. It is Springsteen at his best. After this album I became quite a fan of Springsteen, and own 5 or 6 of his albums including “Darkness on the edge of town”, “The River”, “Born in the USA” and even “Nebraska”. I saw him live in Wembley Stadium in 1987, and it is one of the best concerts I have ever attended, he played for well over 2 hours and gave all he had to the performance.

If you haven’t heard this album I highly recommend it.

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