Written by Julia Antonson
I hope you are feeling patriotic because today we celebrate the 31 year anniversary of Bruce Springsteen’s release of Born in the USA. As the idealistic face of the American working class, Springsteen’s use of poetic lyrics allowed his album to resonate with today’s modern citizen. Although it is a month until the 4th of July, it is never too early to bring out the red, white, and blue, open the grill, and throw on some burgers (or veggie burgers).
Born in New Jersey (which is in the USA), Bruce Springsteen was inspired to take up music after seeing Elvis Presley on TV at the young age of seven. However starting that early in his life did not give Springsteen an advantage in his career: it would be a long journey until he finally signed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1972. Hopping from venue to venue, Bruce Springsteen had only his band members to support him and his mother through her taking out a loan to pay for his $60 Kent guitar. As time passed, his relatable lyrics in combination with the band’s outlandish performances allowed Springsteen and the E Street Band to gain attention at their 10-show stand at New York’s Bottom Line club and finally break through.
Born in the USA is considered Springsteen’s finest album with its anthemic music and lyrics filled with the American spirit. Each song created a new synthetic movement, which was a style unheard of from the band and allowed this pop-filled album to appeal to mainstream audiences. This in combination with the commercial campaign surrounding the album allowed it to gain its stride in the United States and become the best-selling album on this day in 1985. A reason behind its popularity is partly due to its bitter commentary on Vietnam veterans and how relatable it is to the working class. Lyrics in the album touched upon the American working class and the daily struggles of identity they go through. What is significant about the album is that Bruce Springsteen was able to reach a global audience selling 30 million copies worldwide. One can but wonder if the cover of the album caused the popularity to grow exponentially. As a standard image of the American culture, the backdrop of the American flag with Bruce Springsteen himself serves as a powerful image of what the American spirit is.
Kudos to you Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for your never ending influence on the rock and roll community. It is definitely true that your music has influenced many people’s lives by articulating through your lyrics what the true American reality is. President Obama stated that there are “a handful of people who enter into your lives through their music and tell the American people’s story. Bruce Springsteen is one of those people.” And hey, if you don’t have the President as a fan, then you are not doing it right.