June 4: Bruce Springsteen released “Born in the U.S.A.” in 1984

Bruce Springsteen 1984

Imperceptible though the movement has been to many sensitive young people, Springsteen has evolved. In fact, this apparent retrenchment is his most rhythmically propulsive, vocally incisive, lyrically balanced, and commercially undeniable album. Even his compulsive studio habits work for him: the aural vibrancy of the thing reminds me like nothing in years that what teenagers loved about rock and roll wasn’t that it was catchy or even vibrant but that it just plain sounded good.
-Robert Christgau (robertchristgau.com)

But more than anything else, Born in the U.S.A. marked the first time that Springsteen’s characters really seemed to relish the fight and to have something to fight for. They were not defeated (“No Surrender”), and they had friendship (“Bobby Jean”) and family (“My Hometown”) to defend. The restless hero of “Dancing in the Dark” even pledged himself in the face of futility, and for Springsteen, that was a step. The “romantic young boys” of his first two albums, chastened by “the working life” encountered on his third, fourth, and fifth albums and having faced the despair of his sixth, were still alive on this, his seventh, with their sense of humor and their determination intact. Born in the U.S.A.was their apotheosis, the place where they renewed their commitment and where Springsteen remembered that he was a rock & roll star, which is how a vastly increased public was happy to treat him.
-William Ruhlmann (allmusic.com)

Born down in a dead mans town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
End up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A., born in the U.S.A.

Born in the USA – Live 1985:

Wikipedia:

Released June 4, 1984
Recorded January 1982 – March 1984
Studio The Power Station and The Hit Factory in New York City
Genre Rock and roll, heartland rock, pop
Length 46:57
Label Columbia
Producer Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt

Born in the U.S.A. is the seventh studio album by American rock singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was released on June 4, 1984, by Columbia Records. It was written by Springsteen and recorded with his E Street Band and producersChuck Plotkin and Jon Landau at The Power Station and The Hit Factory in New York City.

When Born in the U.S.A. was first released, it was met with positive reviews and massive commercial success. It produced seven top-10 hit singles and was promoted with a worldwide concert tour by Springsteen. Born in the U.S.A. became his most commercially successful album and one of the highest-selling records ever, having sold 30 million copies by 2012. It has also been cited by critics as one of the greatest albums of all time.

Cover Me – Paris 1985:

Critical reception

Born in the U.S.A. received positive reviews from critics.

  • In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Dave Marsh called it Springsteen’s most accessible listen since Born to Run (1975) and said that he knew how to incorporate “technopop elements without succumbing to the genre’s banalities”.
  • The magazine’s Debby Miller wrote that Springsteen has set songs that were as well thought-out as Nebraska to more sophisticated production and spirited music, and that the four story-driven songs that end each side of the album give it an “extraordinary depth” because of his world-beating lyrics.
  • Robert Hilburn from the Los Angeles Times felt that, with the album’s “richer” musical settings, Springsteen had succeeded in articulating his message to a wider audience. 
  • John Swenson of Saturday Review credited him for showing a more disciplined writing style than on his previous albums and for “championing traditional rock values at a time when few newer bands show interest in such a direction”. 
  • Writing in The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said Springsteen improved upon his previous work by eschewing dejected themes of nostalgia and losers in favor of tougher lyrics, a sense of humor, and an upbeat worldview more honest than the one-dimensional politics of Nebraska. He added that the record’s vibrant music “reminds me like nothing in years that what teenagers loved about rock and roll wasn’t that it was catchy or even rhythmic but that it just plain sounded good”. 
  • Born in the U.S.A. was voted the best album of the year in The Village Voices annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1984. 
  • Christgau, the poll’s creator, also ranked it number one on his list, in 1990 he named it the ninth-best album of the 1980s.
  • Greg Kot, writing in the Chicago Tribune, later called it “an 11-million-selling record with a conscience”. 
  • AllMusic’s William Ruhlmann interpreted the album as an apotheosis for Springsteen’s reoccurring characters from his past albums and said that Born in the U.S.A. “marked the first time that Springsteen’s characters really seemed to relish the fight and to have something to fight for”. 
  • Richard Williams was more critical in a retrospective review for Q magazine, writing that Springsteen had exaggerated his usual characters and themes in a deliberate attempt at commercial success. Williams added: “The decision by someone who grew up in the ’60s to exploit the American flag on the cover and to bury the anti-war message of Born In The USA beneath an impenetrable layer of clenched-fist bombast … was, in the era of Reagan and welfare cuts, downright irresponsible.”
  • In 1987, Born in the U.S.A. was voted the fifth greatest album rock album of all time in Paul Gambaccini’s poll of 81 critics, writers, and radio broadcasters. 
  • In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Born in the U.S.A. number 85 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and in 2013, it was named the 428th greatest album in a similar list published by NME.

Downbound Train – Milton Keynes 1993 :

Track listing

All songs written by Bruce Springsteen.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. Born in the U.S.A. 4:40
2. Cover Me 3:27
3. Darlington County 4:48
4. Working on the Highway 3:13
5. Downbound Train 3:35
6. I’m on Fire 2:40
Side two
No. Title Length
7. No Surrender 4:00
8. Bobby Jean 3:48
9. I’m Goin’ Down 3:29
10. Glory Days 4:15
11. Dancing in the Dark 4:04
12. My Hometown

Bobby Jean – Paris 1985:

Personnel

Musicians

  • Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, lead guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Roy Bittan – piano, synthesizer, background vocals
  • Clarence Clemons – saxophone, percussion, background vocals
  • Danny Federici – organ, glockenspiel, piano on “Born in the U.S.A.”
  • Garry Tallent – bass guitar, background vocals
  • Steven Van Zandt – acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmony vocals
  • Max Weinberg – drums, background vocals
  • Richie “La Bamba” Rosenberg – background vocals on “Cover Me” and “No Surrender”
  • Ruth Davis – background vocals on “My Hometown”

Production

  • Bob Clearmountain – mixing
  • John Davenport – assistant engineer
  • Jeff Hendrickson – assistant engineer
  • Andrea Klein – art direction, design, cover design
  • Bruce Lampcov – assistant engineer
  • Annie Leibovitz – photography
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Bill Scheniman – engineer
  • Toby Scott – engineer
  • Billy Straus – assistant engineer
  • Zoe Yanakis – assistant engineer

My Hometown – Official:

Full Album @ Spotify:

-Egil