'Born In The U.S.A.' - Bruce Springsteen


Writer: Bruce Springsteen

Producers: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, and Steve Van Zandt

Recorded: Spring 1983 at the Power Station in New York City

Released: June 17th, 1984

Players: Bruce Springsteen -- vocals, guitar
Steve Van Zandt -- guitar
Garry Tallent -- bass
Max Weinberg -- keyboards
Danny Federici -- keyboards
Clarence Clemons -- percussion
Max Weinberg -- drums
Album: Born In The U.S.A (Columbia, 1984)

The title track from Born In The U.S.A. was the album's second single and peaked at Number Nine on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song began life in 1981 when filmmaker Paul Schrader sent Bruce Springsteen a script titled Born In The U.S.A., for what later became the Michael J. Fox/Joan Jett movie Light Of Day. Springsteen had recently read Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic's memoir Born On The 4th Of July and had also played a benefit for the Vietnam Veterans of America in Los Angeles.

Springsteen noted, "The sound of 'Born In The U.S.A.' was martial, modal, and straight ahead. The lyrics dealt with the problems Vietnam vets faced when they came back home after fighting in 'the only war that America had ever lost.' In order to understand the song's intent, you needed to invest a certain amount of time and effort to absorb both the music and the words."

"Born In The U.S.A." actually became one of Springsteen's most misunderstood songs, with many listeners -- along with politicians, including then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan -- embracing it as patriotic anthem. Still, Springsteen explained, "On the album, 'Born In The U.S.A.' was in its most powerful presentation. If I tried to undercut or change the music, I believe I would have had a record that might have been more easily understood, but not as good."

Springsteen recorded the first version of "Born In The U.S.A." in January 1982 for his solo album Nebraska, but he wasn't happy with it. He brought it out for the full-band sessions for the Born In The U.S.A. album and wound up using the third take, which they recorded live in the studio. Drummer Max Weinberg said cutting the song was "the greatest single experience I've ever had recording."