On this day in 1984 Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A” was released. The album would become a monster- easily the biggest selling album of Bruce Springsteen’s career. It would take him from arenas to stadiums. Springsteen had seven hit singles on this album reach the Billboard Top 10 in America.
Bruce Springsteen up until this point in his career was a rock star, a performer who had a big loyal audience. He had a great reputation for giving his all in concert- concerts that were marathon in length. This album took him from a performer with a big loyal fan base to being the biggest rock star in the world. A lot of new fans joined the crowd. I have always wondered how many of those fans are still with him? This album was an oddity. Springsteen had always been and remains an album artist. With this album he was all over Top 40 radio.
Some people turned away at this point. My preacher friend Dale in the 1980’s turned against Springsteen with this album and against U2 a few years later when “The Joshua Tree” exploded and they became the ‘biggest band in the world.”
When this album came out I liked it. As it was played to death on the radio and you couldn’t avoid it, I got sick of it but it was a great album, there is no denying that. I don’t think I’d put it on the Bruce Springsteen Mount Rushmore of Greatest Albums- but it is a 5 star album. I will generally listen to it a couple times a year and enjoy it.
My favorite songs on this album are two that were not singles, “Bobby Jean” and “No Surrender.” Maybe these songs are my favorites because they weren’t played to death on the radio. “Bobby Jean” is a song about friendship and I’ve always thought it was a song Bruce had written about his great friend and E-Street Band guitarist- Little Stephen Van Zandt, who around this time was leaving the band to go on his own– “now there ain’t nobody nowhere nohow, gonna ever understand me the way you did.” The version of “No Surrender” on this album I like but my favorite version is the slower, more bleak version that is on the big Live album that Bruce released.
The album had amazing staying power. It was released before the mid-way point in 1984 but would stay high on the charts for some time. In 1985 it stayed in the Top 10 the entire year. By 2012 “Born In The U.S.A.” had sold 12 million copies.