My blog friends over at AutoTunes have a post today that has been rattling around my brain all day–so I’m up at 3 AM to compose this response. thegirlontheswing writes: ” ‘Born to Run’ has got to be in serious consideration for Best Rock Song EVER. I mean honestly — can there be any argument about that?”
Well, certainly no argument here. But what I find most interesting is how the post details the song’s ability to create a sense of reverie in the listener–compelling you to scream along to the lyrics whether riding alone in your car or packed together with other acolytes in the Church of Bruce at a concert.
While Bruce would never write in this style again, the Born To Run album is the finest example of the belief in the rock ‘n’ roll life force–that music can actually change your life. The three years between this album and the subsequent release of “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” saw Bruce legally enjoined from working with his producer of choice (Jon Landau) and engaged in a protracted legal battle to retain the rights to his own songs and escape his slave labor contract with his original manager.
It is no wonder that his music never again was so epic and romantic, and instead became centered on real characters and the struggles of everyday life. No less powerful, but different.
For my money, I’d put Thunder Road up for the title of Greatest Rock Song Ever, just because of the poetry of the lyrics: “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.”
Of course, I think it’s the music and the artistry of the E Street Band that makes Born To Run such a romantic epic. The lyrics are almost as dark on Born To Run as on Darkness, but the wall of sound production sweeps you along, so the prospect of saying something like “I want to die with you Wendy/ on the streets tonight/ in an everlasting kiss—huuuuhhh!” sounds like a reasonable choice to make, not a reason to call 911.
That all being said, I became a Bruce fanatic the moment I slit the cellophane on my first copy of “Darkness.” Born To Run was ok, but my high school ears, attuned to Aerosmith, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd, thought Bruce a tad soft. But when I dropped the needle anywhere on Darkness I was bowled over–even the quiet songs pack a punch because they detail such desperation. And the rockers pummel you. Try not pumping your fist and screaming yourself hoarse to the lyrics of “Adam Raised A Cain.”
Just some thoughts that couldn’t wait ’til morning . . . Maybe now I can get some sleep! Tramps like us, baby we were born to roll in to work late tomorrow (later today!)