Born to Run
Released on September 1, 1975
01. Thunder Road
02. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
05. Born To Run
06. She's The One
07. Meeting Across The River
At first, it was the album nobody wanted. Columbia was not too excited about a third
record from Bruce Springsteen, they were busy promoting new releases from their well
established and best-selling acts such as Chicago, Barbara Streisand, and Paul Simon.
Springsteen's last two records and two singles had sold less than 90,000 copies in
total. This third album would make or break his career in the music business.
"Here comes the third album, and I guess everybody's excited about it. My time has come, but I'm not going to count on it. I don't count on nothing. I stopped doing that a long time ago. Anything that happens now is icing on the cake."
Everything rested on success the third album. If it was a bomb, he'd lose his record contract. By this time, Springsteen was still trying to escape the "new Dylan" tag. However, he now had a reputation for playing fantastic and unique live shows. Fans wanted an album that captured more of the essence of those amazing live shows. Both of the previous albums were not up to the live show standards.
The recording of Born to Run started in August of 1974. At that time all Springsteen had was the title track, which was going down well at concerts. There was a lot of pressure at the time - especially from the record company. The recording sessions dragged into early 1975, two members of the original E Street band were gone (Vini Lopez was fired and David Sancious left for a solo career), and production costs for Born to Run had gone over $50,000. Springsteen was consumed by the sound he wanted to have on the record. He fell asleep at mixing sessions, threw a master tape out of a hotel window, and at one point he wanted just to scrap the whole thing and release a live album.
"I hated it. I couldn't stand to listen to it." Landau, in the end, convinced Bruce to release the album.
Once released, Born to Run became one of the key albums of the decade. It wasn't perfect, but it projected an epic grandeur which rock 'n' roll had been missing for many years. Springsteen took everyday characters, occurrences and locations and spun them into myths which the majority of America could relate to. Springsteen had delivered - really delivered - and fans were blown away.
Columbia was also extremely impressed and then spent an additional $100,000 to $150,00 on promoting Born to Run (at the time this was unheard-of). But it was money well spent for them once the media frenzy began. Springsteen's celebrity reached an all-time high when he became the first non-political figure to be on the covers on both Time and Newsweek magazines.
Some of Springsteen's greatest work is on Born to Run: Thunder Road, Backstreets, Jungleland, and, of course, the title track. This music is Springsteen's hallmark: the intense infatuations, the detailed locations, the concept of loyalty and liberation, the street gangs, and then the cars. Though Born to Run only made it to number 23 on the American charts in 1975, many rock 'n' roll fans and critics vote the track as one of the greatest songs of all time. One critic wrote in 1996, "No where in rock is there a count-in as uplifting as Springsteen's manic charge into the final verse after Clarence's solo."