Bruce Springsteen: Born in the USA demo (1982)

 |   |  1 min read

Bruce Springsteen: Born in the USA demo (1982)

The recent box set The Ties That Bind; The River Collection showed how Bruce Springsteen was so prolific in the period when he was writing what became the double album The River.

Once all those songs poured out -- about 60 in all -- and he'd done 18 months of touring on the back of the album he returned to his home studio trying to re-think what his phenomenal success meant. And what was happening in America at the time.

In his songs to that point he had celebrated the outsiders who had a heroic or survivalist streak, but for his next batch of songs -- which became the folk-framed Nebraska album -- he wrote about the misfits, criminals, those forced by circumstance to live outside the law or the reluctant sinners.

During the writing he realized these songs couldn't effectively be interpreted by the E Street Band so they formed a very solo Springsteen album.

One song however lay around and didn't make Nebraska, but did get taken to the band for a banging treatment later. It became the anthemic Born in the USA which was -- oddly enough -- appropriated by Ronald Reagan's PR people (who clearly only listened to the title line and thought it a paean to patriotism).

In time Springsteen dropped the bellicose version of Born in the USA in favor of how he first conceived it, as a spare and downbeat folk song.

Since 9/11 that is how -- on the rare occasions he has played it -- he sings it.

The original version here appeared on his Tracks collection.

For more one-off, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Bob Dylan: Up to Me (1974)

Bob Dylan: Up to Me (1974)

Never throw anything away, huh? And Bob Dylan's career, with the massive and on-going Bootleg Series, just keeps presenting outtakes, live material, different versions and sometimes many complete... > Read more

Sam Dees: We Always Come Back Strong (1972 demo)

Sam Dees: We Always Come Back Strong (1972 demo)

Southern soul songwriter Sam Dees was best known as the guy who penned hits and album tracks for the likes of Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and many others. But in the late... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

RONNIE, an autobiography by RONNIE WOOD

RONNIE, an autobiography by RONNIE WOOD

This too slight, slightly self-justifying, frequently honest and altogether typically disappointing rock autobiography has taken on much more meaning since its 2008 publication, especially with... > Read more

TARANAKI WOMAD CONSIDERED (2017): Another Womarathon of world music

TARANAKI WOMAD CONSIDERED (2017): Another Womarathon of world music

The best speeches by dignitaries are short and, fortunately, they were when the Taranaki Womad launched last Friday. The most memorable comment – aside from the figure of $104 million... > Read more