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Born in the U.S.A.

Born in the U.S.A. is the seventh studio album by Bruce Springsteen, released in 1984 (see 1984 in music).

In contrast to his previous album, the critical favorite Nebraska, Born in the U.S.A. featured anthemic, radio-friendly arrangements and 1980s production incorporating Springsteen's first use of synthesizers. The album reached #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart for the week ending July 7, 1984, where it remained for four weeks. It regained the top spot on the chart for three more weeks starting with the week ending January 19, 1985 and stayed on the chart for 139 weeks. It spawned a record-tying seven Top 10 hit singles in the United States, and is by far the best-selling album of Springsteen's career with over 15 million copies sold in the U.S. alone. It was also a critical success, being voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics poll. In 1989, it was rated #6 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.

Born in the U.S.A. became the first compact disc manufactured in the United States for commercial release, when CBS Records opened its CD manufacturing plant in Terre Haute, Indiana in September 1984. Discs previously had been imported from Japan.

History

"Dancing in the Dark" was Springsteen's biggest hit single, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. (It was kept out of the top spot by Prince's "When Doves Cry".) The song featured up-tempo synthesizer riffs and noticeable syncopation, both a first for Springsteen. A dance-oriented remix was even made for it, by Arthur Baker. Springsteen pulls a young, short-haired Courteney Cox onstage in a Brian De Palma-directed music video for the track. The video helped launch the actress's career.

"Cover Me" was a dance track originally intended for Donna Summer. "My Hometown" is based on 1960s racial and economic tensions in Springsteen's hometown of Freehold. "No Surrender" and "Bobby Jean" reflected in part the departure of Steven Van Zandt from The E Street Band.

In all there were seven top 10 hit singles from this album, tying the record for most Top Ten singles from an album also held by Michael Jackson's Thriller and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814.

The title track, "Born in the U.S.A.", a stinging tale of the hardships suffered by returning Vietnam veterans, is one of Springsteen's best known songs, and has accumulated a considerable amount of folklore. The song's anthemic feel (and the music video, which featured scenes of waving flags and pastoral American communities reminiscent of a political campaign ad) led to widespread misinterpretation of the track's meaning. (A darker, acoustic version of the song appears on the Springsteen collection "Tracks," and is sometimes performed live.) Springsteen was praised by President Reagan as a great patriot; several days later at a concert, Springsteen introduced the track "Johnny 99" (about a laid-off factory worker who kills a store clerk and is sentenced to 99 years) by saying that he didn't think Reagan had heard this song.

The album was followed by the massive Born in the U.S.A. Tour.

In 2004, Senator John Kerry used "No Surrender" as his campaign theme song during his 2004 presidential campaign. Springsteen performed the song at several Kerry rallies during the campaign.

Track listing

All songs written by Bruce Springsteen

Side one

  1. "Born in the U.S.A." – 4:39
  2. "Cover Me" – 3:27
  3. "Darlington County" – 4:48
  4. "Working on the Highway" – 3:11
  5. "Downbound Train" – 3:35
  6. "I'm on Fire" – 2:37

Side two

  1. "No Surrender" – 4:00
  2. "Bobby Jean" – 3:46
  3. "I'm Goin' Down" – 3:29
  4. "Glory Days" – 4:15
  5. "Dancing in the Dark" – 4:00
  6. "My Hometown" – 4:34

Personnel

The E Street Band

Additional musicians

  • Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg – background vocals on "Cover Me" and "No Surrender"
  • Ruth Davis, married to Bruce Jackson, the sound engineer – background vocals on "My Hometown"

Production

  • Bob Clearmountain – mixing
  • John Davenport – assistant engineer
  • Jeff Hendrickson – assistant engineer
  • Andrea Klein – art direction, design, cover design
  • Bruce Lampcov – assistant engineer
  • Annie Leibovitzphotography
  • Bob Ludwigmastering
  • Bill Scheniman – engineer
  • Toby Scott – engineer
  • Billy Straus – assistant engineer
  • Zoe Yanakis – assistant engineer

Charts

Album

Year Chart Position
1984 Billboard 200 1
1984 Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart 1

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1984 "Dancing in the Dark" Hot Dance Music/Club Play 7
1984 "Dancing in the Dark" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
1984 "Dancing in the Dark" The Billboard Hot 100 2
1984 "Cover Me" Hot Dance Music/Club Play 11
1984 "Cover Me" Mainstream Rock Tracks 3
1984 "Cover Me" The Billboard Hot 100 7
1984 "Born in the U.S.A." Mainstream Rock Tracks 8
1984 "Born in the U.S.A." The Billboard Hot 100 9
1985 "I'm on Fire" Adult Contemporary 6
1985 "I'm on Fire" Mainstream Rock Tracks 4
1985 "I'm on Fire" The Billboard Hot 100 6
1985 "Glory Days" Mainstream Rock Tracks 3
1985 "Glory Days" The Billboard Hot 100 5
1985 "I'm Goin' Down" Mainstream Rock Tracks 9
1985 "I'm Goin' Down" The Billboard Hot 100 9
1985 "My Hometown" Adult Contemporary 1
1985 "My Hometown" Mainstream Rock Tracks 6
1985 "My Hometown" The Billboard Hot 100 6

Non-single tracks

Year Single Chart Position
1984 "No Surrender" Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 29
1984 "Bobby Jean" Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 36

References

External links

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