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The Heart of Rock and Soul

Dave Marsh, 1989

24 BORN TO RUN, Bruce Springsteen
Produced by Bruce Springsteen and Mike Appel: written by Bruce Springsteen
Columbia 10209 - 1975
Billboard: #23

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Springsteen once said that after he'd come up with this maelstrom, he walked around for the next few days wondering where he'd stolen it from. Which makes sense because "Born to Run" has the audible ambition of recapitulating the first twenty-some years of rock and roll's public history, fusing a seven-layer Duane Eddy guitar lick with Dylanesque lyrics, Roy Orbison vocal histrionics, Spectorian production effects, Stones-style rhythm section, King Curtis sax break, and subterranean references to half-forgotten one-shot hits from "Little Star" to "Mountain of Love." Critic Greil Marcus once described it as "a '57 Chevy running on melted-down Crystals records," and only the part about the car was metaphor.
Celebrated as Springsteen is for his lyrics, it's the music that makes "Born to Run. " The lyrics are still remarkable, sketching a philosophy of determined outward rebellion, a desire to move, a sense of goals and purpose that skirt the edges of the larger-than-life. But this hopeful abandon is tempered by an equally powerful melancholy; the future seems so bright largely because the present's so dismal. Truth to tell, Springsteen seems most vibrant when depicting the kids cruising the Jersey strip: "The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors and the boys try to look so hard . . . Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist."
From bar to bar. this old crate may need a tune-up, and its pre-determined destination isn't necessarily where you want to live. But once in a while, you at least ought to spend the night and see the sights.

Bruce Springsteen - Born to run - the lyrics
In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream
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
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From "The Heart of Rock and Soul, The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made", by Dave Marsh, 1989.
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