Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Born To Run: Lyrics, Bruce Springsteen

Was waiting in the car outside the East-Side credit union today avoiding the news and listening to classic Rock when 'Born to Run' came on. Reflected how text is obscured when it goes into song even for the Boss. Wanted to understand more about the New Jersey of his artist eyes. Fished the iPhone out of my pocket and searched for the lyrics to confirm, read them and said yep the poetry he wrote is different from the song of the proper laureate of my America. He saw the same things we did. He just took the time to grab a scrap of paper to sketch it down with a pen right then and there and beat the ore out later like a blacksmith melting language until it answered back with the right curves and tings. The words:
In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American Dream.
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
sprung from cages out on highway Nine, chrome-wheeled
fuel injected and steppin' out over the line.

Baby this town rips the bones from your back.
It's a death-trap, it's a suicide rap,
we gotta get out while we're young...
cuz tramps like us, baby we were born to run.

Wendy, let me in. I wanna be your friend--
I wanna guard your dreams and visions.
Just wrap your legs round these velvet rims
and strap your hands across my engines.
Together we could break this trap,
we'll run till we drop, and baby we'll never go back

Will you walk with me out on the wire?
Baby I'm just a scared and lonely rider,
but I gotta find out how it feels.
I want to know if love is wild, girl,
I wanna know if love is real

Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard.
The girls comb their hair in rear-view mirrors and the boys try to look so hard;
the amusement park rises bold and stark. Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist.
I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight in an everlasting kiss.

The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.
Everybody's out on the run tonight but there's no place left to hide.
Together, Wendy, we'll live with the sadness
and I'll love you with all the madness in my soul.

Someday girl I don't know when, we're gonna get to that place
where we really want to go and we'll walk in the sun.
But 'til then, tramps like us, baby we were born to run


Bee said...

The Boss is an understated wordsmith, and tha's a fact.

Take a listen to "The Ghost of Tom Joad", and "Atlantic City" sometime, if you've never listened carefully to the lyrics.

And "Born in the USA" is no more a nationalistic anthem than "You Are My Sunshine" was a happy song.

A. Peasant said...

great song, great album both sides

totally baked in since long before i could begin to understand what he was singing

Bruce said...

a true American original genius. As I told my daughters as he was performing this song at the Super Bowl, if you're an American, you like this song.

From the same masterpiece"One soft infested summer me and Terry became friends

Trying in vain to breathe the fire we was born in..."

MarcLord said...


had Atlantic City up here with commentary awhile back. Great song about the nature of the Mob:

Well they blew up the Chicken Man in Philly last night and they blew up his house too...down on the boardwalk they're gettin ready for a fight gonna see what them Racket boys can do.

MarcLord said...


baked in is the thing. You think you know it because you've heard it so many times but really looking at the lyrics without the music is like walking a route once rather than driving it every day. So much more to see.

MarcLord said...


I really, really wish I could've trusted the American-ness of my youth to have written about it. In the song about Terry there's nothing there to suspect I didn't feel as deeply as he did. But it seemed too mundane or was too presumptuous and that's why he's the master chanticleer and we're not. Glad somebody did it though. ;-)