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Born to Run
Studio album by Bruce Springsteen
Released August 25, 1975
Recorded Record Plant, New York
914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, New York
1974–1975
Genre Rock
Length 39:26
Label Columbia
Producer Bruce Springsteen, Mike Appel, Jon Landau
Professional reviews
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band chronology
The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
(1973)
Born to Run
(1975)
Darkness on the Edge of Town
(1978)

Born to Run is the third album by the American rock singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was released on August 25, 1975 through Columbia Records. It captured the heaviness of Springsteen's earlier releases while displaying a more diverse range of influences.

Born to Run was a critical and commercial success and became Springsteen's breakthrough album. It peaked at number three on the Billboard 200, eventually selling six million copies in the US by the year 2000. Two singles were released from the album: "Born to Run" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out", the first helped Springsteen to reach mainstream popularity. The tracks "Thunder Road" and "Jungleland" became staples of album-oriented rock radio and Springsteen concert high points. The album has been placed on several "best ever" lists and is listed in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of historic recordings.

On November 14, 2005, a "30th Anniversary" remaster of the album was released as a box set including two DVDs: a production diary film and a concert movie. Being ranked number 18 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, it is widely considered his magnum opus, although Born in the U.S.A. also received as much critical acclaim and as much success.

Contents

History

Springsteen began work on the album after touring in support of its previous album, The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle, released in 1973. Given an enormous budget in a last-ditch effort at a commercially viable record, Springsteen became bogged down in the recording process while striving for a wall of sound production. But, fed by the release of an early mix of "Born to Run" to progressive rock radio, anticipation built toward the album's release. All in all the album took more than 14 months to record, with six months alone spent on the song "Born to Run" itself. During this time Springsteen battled with anger and frustration over the album, saying he heard "sounds in [his] head" that he could not explain to the others in the studio. During the process, Springsteen brought in Jon Landau to help with production. This was the beginning of the breakup of Springsteen's relationship with producer and manager Mike Appel, after which Landau assumed both roles.

Once released, Born to Run was a breakthrough hit and catapulted his career from a northeast regional act to an acclaimed national and worldwide recording artist. This was his first album to feature pianist Roy Bittan and drummer Max Weinberg (although David Sancious and Ernest "Boom" Carter played the piano and drums, respectively, on the title track). Born to Run was released to overwhelming critical acclaim which swiftly spiralled into hype. While his previous two albums, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, received good reviews, popular success had been scarce; Born to Run cemented Springsteen's reputation among critics and established his first mainstream fanbase.

The album is noted for its use of introductions to set the tone of each song (all of the record was composed on piano, not guitar), and for the Phil Spector-like "Wall of Sound" arrangements and production. Indeed, Springsteen has said that he wanted "Born to Run" to sound like "Roy Orbison singing Bob Dylan, produced by Spector." Most of the tracks were first recorded with a core rhythm section band comprising Springsteen, Weinberg, Bittan, and bassist Garry Tallent, with other members' contributions then added on.[1]

Original version of album cover with "graffiti" font.

In terms of the original LP's sequencing, Springsteen eventually adopted a "four corners" approach, as the songs beginning each side ("Thunder Road", "Born to Run") were uplifting odes to escape, while the songs ending each side ("Backstreets", "Jungleland") were sad epics of loss, betrayal, and defeat (Originally, he had planned to begin and end the album with alternative versions of "Thunder Road".)

Also, original pressings have "Meeting Across the River" billed as "The Heist." The original album cover has the title printed in a graffiti style font. These copies are very rare and considered to be the "holy grail" for Springsteen collectors.

Release and reception

The album's release was accompanied by a $250,000 promotional campaign by Columbia directed at both consumers and the music industry, making good use of Landau's "I saw rock 'n' roll's future—and its name is Bruce Springsteen" quote. With much publicity, Born to Run vaulted into the top 10 in its second week on the charts and soon went Gold. Time and Newsweek magazines put Springsteen on the cover in the same week (October 27, 1975) – in Time, Jay Cocks praised Springsteen, while the Newsweek article took a cynical look at the "next Dylan" hype that haunted Springsteen until his breakthrough. The question of hype became a story in itself as critics began wondering if Springsteen was for real or the product of record company promotion.[2][3]

Upset with Columbia's promotion department, Springsteen said the decision to label him as the "future of rock was a very big mistake and I would like to strangle the guy who thought that up." When Springsteen arrived for his first UK concert at the Hammersmith Odeon, he personally tore down the "Finally the world is ready for Bruce Springsteen" posters in the lobby and ordered that the buttons with "I have seen the future of rock 'n' roll at the Hammersmith Odeon" printed on them not be given out. Now fearing the hype might backfire, Columbia suspended all press interviews with Springsteen. When the hype died down, sales tapered off and the album was off the chart after 29 weeks. But the album had established a solid national fan base for Springsteen which he would build on with each subsequent release.

The album debuted on the Billboard album chart on September 13, 1975 at #84. The following week it made an impressive increase entering the top 10 at #8, then spent two weeks at #4, and finally, during the weeks of October 11 and October 18, Born to Run reached its peak position of #3.

Born to Run continued to be a strong catalog seller through the years, re-entering the Billboard chart in late 1980 after The River was released, and again after the blockbuster success of Born in the U.S.A., spending most of 1985 on the chart. It was certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1986, the first year in which pre-1976 releases were eligible for platinum and multi-platinum awards.

In 1987, Born to Run was ranked #8 on Rolling Stone's "100 Best Albums of the Last Twenty Years" and in 2003, Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" ranked Born to Run at number 18.[4] In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the 27th-greatest album of all time,[5] and in 2003, it was ranked as the most popular album in the first Zagat Survey Music Guide.[6]

Born to Run is listed in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of historic recordings.[7]

In December 2005, U.S. Representative Frank Pallone (who represents Asbury Park) and 21 co-sponsors sponsored H.Res. 628, "Congratulating Bruce Springsteen of New Jersey on the 30th anniversary of his masterpiece record album 'Born to Run', and commending him on a career that has touched the lives of millions of Americans." In general, resolutions honoring native sons are passed with a simple voice vote. This bill, however, was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and died there. [8]

Live performance

Songs from Born To Run were performed live as early as mid-1974 and by 1975, all had made their way into his shows and (with the rare exception of "Meeting Across The River") continued to be a regular staple of Springsteen concerts on subsequent tours through 2009. Springsteen and the E Street Band performed Born to Run in its entirety and in order for the first time at a benefit performance at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ on May 7, 2008. It was again performed at their September 20, 2009 show at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois[9] as well as at two of the five shows at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on September 30 and October 8, 2009, and at several other cities on the Fall, 2009 tour.

Album cover

Cover of the Sesame Street album Born to Add, one of many imitations of the Springsteen cover pose. The album features tracks by "Bruce Stringbean and the S. Street Band"

The cover art of Born to Run is one of rock music's most popular and iconic images.[10] It was taken by Eric Meola, who shot 900 frames in his three-hour session.[10] These photos have been compiled in Born to Run: The Unseen Photos.[10]

The photo shows Springsteen holding an electric guitar, a cross between a Fender Telecaster (body and pickups) and a Fender Esquire (neck), while leaning against saxophonist Clarence Clemons.[10] After he plugged in an amp and started to play, he casually leaned on Clemons.[10] That image became famous as the cover art. "Other things happened," says Meola, "but when we saw the contact sheets, that one just sort of popped.[10] Instantly, we knew that was the shot." Ultra-thin lettering graced the mass-produced version: an unusual touch then; a design classic since.[10]

The Springsteen and Clemons cover pose has been imitated often, from Cheap Trick on the album Next Position Please, to Tom and Ray Magliozzi on the cover of the Car Talk compilation Born Not to Run: More Disrespectful Car Songs, to Kevin & Kell on a Sunday strip entitled "Born to Migrate" featuring Kevin Dewclaw as Bruce with a carrot and Kell Dewclaw as Clarence with a pile of bones, to Bert and the Cookie Monster on the cover of the Sesame Street album Born to Add.[10]

Track listing

All songs written by Bruce Springsteen

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Side one

  1. "Thunder Road" – 4:49
  2. "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" – 3:11
  3. "Night" – 3:00
  4. "Backstreets" – 6:30

Side two

  1. "Born to Run" – 4:31
  2. "She's the One" – 4:30
  3. "Meeting Across the River" – 3:18
  4. "Jungleland" – 9:34

30th Anniversary Edition

On November 14, 2005, Columbia Records released Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition in box set form. The package included:

  • a remastered CD version of the original album - the CD is all black (including playback side) with the label side replicating the original vinyl disc having four bands (the original LP had four tracks per side) and including a modified red Columbia label listing all 8 tracks
  • the DVD Wings For Wheels, a lengthy documentary on the making of the album, which later won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video
    • with bonus film of three songs recorded live on May 1, 1973 at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles
  • the DVD Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Hammersmith Odeon, London '75, a full-length concert film recorded on November 18, 1975 at the Hammersmith Odeon in London during the brief European portion of their Born to Run tours.

Packages from retailer Best Buy also included:

The box set debuted on the Billboard 200 album chart on December 3, 2005 at number 18 with sales of 53,206 copies.[11] It spent 6 weeks on the chart.

Personnel

The E Street Band

Additional musicians

Production

  • John Berg – album design
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • Andy Engel – album design
  • Bob Ludwig – re-mastering
  • Eric Meola – photography

Engineers

Chart positions

Album

Year Chart Position Notes
1975 US Record World 1 initial release [12]
1975 US Billboard 200 3
1975 UK Album Chart 36
1980 US Billboard 200 66 re-entry
1985 US Billboard 200 101 re-entry
1985 UK Album Chart 17
2005 US Billboard 200 18 Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1975 "Born to Run" US Billboard Hot 100 23
1975 "Born to Run" US Cash Box Top 100 Singles 17
1976 "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" US Billboard Hot 100 83
1976 "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" US Cash Box Top 100 Singles 63

References

  1. ^ Fricke, David (2009-01-21). "The Band on Bruce: Their Springsteen". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/25556603/the_band_on_bruce_their_springsteen/print. Retrieved 2009-02-07.  
  2. ^ Edwards, Henry. "If There Hadn't Been a Bruce Springsteen, Then the Critics Would Have Made Him Up; The Invention Of Bruce Springsteen" New York Times October 5, 1975: 125
  3. ^ Rockwell, John. "The Pop Life; 'Hype' and the Springsteen Case" New York Times October 24, 1975: 34
  4. ^ "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5938174/the_rs_500_greatest_albums_of_all_time/. Retrieved 2007-01-31.  
  5. ^ "The Greatest: 100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll". The Greatest. VH1. http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/the_greatest/62192/episode_wildcard.jhtml?wildcard=/shows/dynamic/includes/wildcards/the_greatest/album_list_full.jhtml&event_id=862772&start=61. Retrieved 2007-01-31.  
  6. ^ Barry A. Jeckell (2003-09-23). "Born To Run' Tops Zagat Music Survey". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1984699#. Retrieved 2007-01-31.  
  7. ^ Sheryl Cannady (2004-03-19). "Librarian of Congress Names 50 New Recordings to the National Recording Registry". The Library Today. The Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2004/04-061.html. Retrieved 2007-01-31.  
  8. ^ Senate Shows the Boss Who's Boss
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "insighteditions - Born to Run". insighteditions.com. http://insighteditions.com/product_info.php?products_id=47. Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  11. ^ Waddell, Ray (2009-01-23). "Bruce Springsteen Prepping 'Darkness' Reissue". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/bruce-springsteen-prepping-darkness-reissue-1003933970.story. Retrieved 2009-01-23.  
  12. ^ http://msdb.hp.infoseek.co.jp/cb&bb/album%20no1/1975.htm

External links


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