Bruce Springsteen - "Born in the U.S.A."

The title track, "Born in the U.S.A." is one of Springsteen's best known songs. Many have misinterpreted the song as a simple nationalistic anthem, while in reality, it cast a shameful eye on how America treated its Vietnam veterans. In spite of this, many politicians (notably including Ronald Reagan) have used the song without permission in their campaigns.

The fact that the song is so often misinterpreted is probably due to the fact that is an anthemic rocker. Which it wasn’t at the beginning…

"Born in the U.S.A." was the first song Springsteen wrote for the album that would have the same name (his 7th). But he first recorded it on January 3, 1982 on a tape that became his album "Nebraska" later that year (his 6th album). The original version of the song had the same "no frills vibe" as the songs on the "Nebraska" album, and could have been an acoustic protest song. But Springsteen didn't really consider "Nebraska" an album. He released it without hardly any embellisment or elaboration- an uncharacteristic move for the Boss - and held back just a few songs, including "Born in the U.S.A.," for further experimentation. In his notes to his manager Jon Landau, he said he wanted to flesh out "Born in the U.S.A." with the full band.

It happened a few months later. Springsteen was jamming alone with a riff, and when the band turned up they joined in and the song came together very quickly. Springsteen : "I said, 'Roy [Bittan, synth player], get this riff !'. He just pulled out that sound on the synthesizer [the opening fanfare]. We played it two times and our second take is the record". Springsteen also instructed drummer Max Weinberg to keep the drums going after the vocal was finished. He did, and the band improvised the end of the song in the studio.

Springsteen : "At the same time I recorded "Nebraska", I was recording the album "Born In The U.S.A." in the studio in New York, so I had these two extremely different recording experiences going". Many people feel that "Born in the U.S.A." [the song] would have been better understood if it had appeared on the acoustic-driven album "Nebraska". But would we still be talking about the song today ?

Available on the album "Born In The U.S.A."