Saturday, June 23, 1984

Bruce Springsteen charted with “Born in the U.S.A.”

First posted 11/28/2020.

Born in the U.S.A.

Bruce Springsteen

Writer(s): Bruce Springsteen (see lyrics here)


Released: October 30, 1984


First Charted: June 23, 1984


Peak: 9 US, 8 CB, 10 RR, 8 AR, 5 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.55 US, 0.2 UK, 1.89 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 101.54 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Born in the U.S.A.” is a poignant commentary on the mistreatment of Vietnam veterans after returning home from the war. Two scholars wrote in the journal American Quarterly about how the song’s exploration of “the effect of blind nationalism upon the working class.” WK The song was often misunderstood as patriotic by those “who heard the anthemic chorus but not the bitter verses.” WK The most famous misinterpretation of the song came from then-President Ronald Reagan. While running for a second term, he gave a speech about the hope one could find in the songs of Bruce Springsteen. WK

Springsteen wrote the song in 1981 under the title “Vietnam.” When Paul Schrader sent him a script for a movie called Born in the U.S.A. “about a rock band struggling with life and religion” SF Springsteen changed the title of the song. By the time Schrader made the film in 1987, the title was too associated with Springsteen’s album and the movie, now starring Michael J. Fox, was released as Light of Day. SF Springsteen wrote a new title song for the film.

During the home recordings for his Nebraska album in 1982, he recorded a rough, acoustic demo of the song. However, it was decided that the song didn’t fit the rest of the material and that its melody didn’t match its lyrics. An electric version was recorded with the E Street Band which had the amped-up energy of the version found on the Born in the U.S.A. album. WK

The song hit the mainstream rock chart soon after the album’s release, but wasn’t officially released as a single until October. By that time, Springsteen had already hit the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Dancing in the Dark” and “Cover Me.” “Born in the U.S.A.” became the third of the album’s seven top 10 hits.


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