Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, "Born To Run" (1975)

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You could make an argument that words have been maxed out for “Born To Run,” that everything has been said and there’s nothing new to be gleaned. Yeah well, people have notoriously small imaginations too, so we’ll just have to ignore that.

In concert, I’ve heard Bruce play this song more than any other, most obviously because he plays it every night. There are some folks out there who say that he should drop it from the set list. I complete disagree, for several reasons. Firstly, I really hate the idea of somebody attending their first E Street show and not hearing it. Sorry, that just seems wrong. Perhaps more important, this is one of those Springsteen tracks that is more than a song. It’s the history of E Street, the lives of every single person in the room, the history of rock music. It’s all of that and more. When they launch into it, it doesn’t feel to me like they’re playing a song. No, it feels like “Born To Run” has entered the room. Or maybe it was already there waiting to assert itself.

I remember that segment on 60 Minutes where they asked Roy and Steve if they ever go tired of playing “Born To Run.” Bittan brought up a quote from Tony Bennett about whether he felt the same way about “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.” Roy quoted the singer as saying “It gave me the keys to the world.” Bennett’s been asked that many times, so I went and dug up a great interview at Pop Culture Classics. There, Bennett’s initial response was “That’s like asking, ‘Do you ever get tired of making love?’” He then goes on to reiterate that it gave him the keys to the world and that “It’s as fresh as the first day I recorded it…”

Same goes for “Born To Run.” The song hasn’t changed, we have. If you’re tired of it, maybe there are other issues you need to work out.

Up next: “She’s The One”

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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