This Day In Rock History: Bruce Springsteen releases Born to Run

borntorunWith his third studio album, Bruce Springsteen wanted to do something big.

Springsteen hadn’t achieved international stardom yet, and there was a feeling that his third album could have been make-or-break for the 25-year old singer. Rather than make another another calmer, understated album like his second release The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, Springsteen decided to go all in on his third album, Born to Run.

“I wanted to make the greatest rock record that I’d ever heard, and I wanted it to sound enormous and I wanted it to grab you by your throat and insist that you take that ride, insist that you pay attention, not to just the music, but just to life, to feeling alive, to being alive,” Springsteen said, in a 2005 interview published today for the first time at Rolling Stone.

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It’s arguable whether or not Born to Run is even the best Bruce Springsteen album, but at the very least it’s close, and it’s definitely one of the more famous albums in rock history. Born to Run is a bombastic, full-throttle, Bruce-at-his-fullest album, one where Springsteen left it all out on the field, so to speak.

40 years later, it’s still a terrific listen. The title track and “Thunder Road” are widely regarded as two of the great songs in the history of rock music, but the rest of the album is chock full of Bruce at his best as well, with the epics “Jungleland” and “Backstreets,” and rip-roaring rockers like “She’s the One” and “Night.” If you like to hear the sound of a band going all-out, Born to Run is the album for you.

Maybe after all these years “Thunder Road” remains the highlight on the album. It sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the album and remains an example of Springsteen’s most iconic songwriting and storytelling.

The screen door slams
Mary’s dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that’s me and I want you only
Don’t turn me home again
I just can’t face myself alone again
Don’t run back inside
Darling you know just what I’m here for
So you’re scared and you’re thinking
That maybe we ain’t that young anymore
Show a little faith there’s magic in the night
You ain’t a beauty but hey you’re alright
Oh and that’s alright with me

The album hit the streets 40 years ago today. And 40 years later, it’s still worth celebrating, and it’s still a must-listen for any rock fan who hasn’t heard it.

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