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.
"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.
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.
|1984||Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart||1|
|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|
|1984||"No Surrender"||Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||29|
|1984||"Bobby Jean"||Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||36|