Born to Run

With two ambitious but under-selling albums behind him, Springsteen needed a hit for his third, and he knocked it out of the park. A sheer epic fueled by tangible energy, the idealized notion of escape, and the romance of youth, Born to Run scorched earth upon release and remains a career-defining classic.

Released: August 25, 1975
Label: Columbia
Produced By: Bruce Springsteen, Mike Appel, Jon Landau
1 Thunder Road
The screen door slams
Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again
Don't run back inside
darling you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking
That maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty but hey you're all right
Oh and that's all right with me

You can hide 'neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now I'm no hero
That's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night's busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven's waiting on down the tracks
Oh come take my hand
We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road
oh Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late we can make it if we run
Oh Thunder Road, sit tight, take hold
Thunder Road

Well I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back
If you're ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride ain't free
And I know you're lonely
For words that I ain't spoken
But tonight we'll be free
All the promises'll be broken
There were ghosts in the eyes
Of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road
In the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets

They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they're gone on the wind
So Mary climb in
It's a town full of losers
And I'm pulling out of here to win.
Also Appears On
Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition Live 1975–85 In Concert - MTV Plugged In Concert - MTV Plugged Film Greatest Hits (1995) Live in New York City (DVD) The Essential Bruce Springsteen Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75 Live in Barcelona VH-1 Storytellers Greatest Hits (2009) MusiCares Person Of The Year: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen
2 Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Tear drops on the city
Bad Scooter searching for his groove
Seem like the whole world walking pretty
And you can't find the room to move
Well everybody better move over, that's all
I'm running on the bad side
And I got my back to the wall
Tenth Avenue freeze-out, Tenth Avenue freeze-out

I'm stranded in the jungle
Taking all the heat they was giving
The night is dark but the sidewalk's bright
And lined with the light of the living
From a tenement window a transistor blasts
Turn around the corner things got real quiet real fast
She hit me with a Tenth Avenue freeze-out
Tenth Avenue freeze-out
And I'm all alone, I'm all alone
And kid you better get the picture
And I'm on my own, I'm on my own
And I can't go home

When the change was made uptown
And the Big Man joined the band
From the coastline to the city
All the little pretties raise their hands
I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh
When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half
With a Tenth Avenue freeze-out, Tenth Avenue freeze-out
Tenth Avenue freeze-out...
Also Appears On
Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition Live 1975–85 Live in New York City Live in New York City (DVD) Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75
3 Night
You get up every morning at the sound of the bell
You get to work late and the boss man's giving you hell
Till you're out on a midnight run
Losing your heart to a beautiful one
And it feels right as you lock up the house
Turn out the lights and step out into the night

And the world is busting at its seams
And you're just a prisoner of your dreams
Holding on for your life 'cause you work all day
To blow 'em away in the night

The rat traps filled with soul crusaders
The circuits lined and jammed with chromed invaders
And she's so pretty that you're lost in the stars
As you jockey your way through the cars
And sit at the light, as it changes to green
With your faith in your machine off you scream into the night

And you're in love with all the wonder it brings
And every muscle in your body sings as the highway ignites
You work nine to five and somehow you survive till the night
Hell all day they're busting you up on the outside
But tonight you're gonna break on through to the inside
And it'll be right, it'll be right, and it'll be tonight

And you know she will be waiting there
And you'll find her somehow you swear
Somewhere tonight you run sad and free
Until all you can see is the night
Also Appears On
Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition London Calling: Live in Hyde Park Live in Barcelona
4 Backstreets
One soft infested summer me and Terry became friends
Trying in vain to breathe the fire we was born in
Catching rides to the outskirts tying faith between our teeth
Sleeping in that old abandoned beach house getting wasted in the heat
And hiding on the backstreets, hiding on the backstreets
With a love so hard and filled with defeat
Running for our lives at night on them backstreets

Slow dancing in the dark on the beach at Stockton's Wing
Where desperate lovers park we sat with the last of the Duke Street Kings
Huddled in our cars waiting for the bells that ring
In the deep heart of the night to set us loose from everything
to go running on the backstreets, running on the backstreets
We swore we'd live forever on the backstreets we take it together

Endless juke joints and Valentino drag where dancers scraped the tears
Up off the street dressed down in rags running into the darkness
Some hurt bad some really dying at night sometimes it seemed
You could hear the whole damn city crying blame it on the lies that killed us
Blame it on the truth that ran us down you can blame it all on me Terry
It don't matter to me now when the breakdown hit at midnight
There was nothing left to say but I hated him and I hated you when you went away

Laying here in the dark you're like an angel on my chest
Just another tramp of hearts crying tears of faithlessness
Remember all the movies, Terry, we'd go see
Trying to learn how to walk like heroes we thought we had to be
And after all this time to find we're just like all the rest
Stranded in the park and forced to confess
To hiding on the backstreets, hiding on the backstreets
We swore forever friends on the backstreets until the end
Hiding on the backstreets, hiding on the backstreets
Also Appears On
Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition Live 1975–85 Live in New York City (DVD) Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75
5 Born to Run
In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages on Highway 9
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
'Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Wendy let me in, I wanna be your friend
I want to 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, baby we'll never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
'Cause 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 want to know if love is real

Beyond the Palace hemi powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview 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 out 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 can live with the sadness
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 till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run
Also Appears On
Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition Live 1975–85 Chimes of Freedom Greatest Hits (1995) Live in New York City Live in New York City (DVD) The Essential Bruce Springsteen Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75 London Calling: Live in Hyde Park Live in Barcelona Greatest Hits (2009) MusiCares Person Of The Year: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen Chapter and Verse
6 She's the One
With her killer graces and her secret places
That no boy can fill with her hands on her hips
Oh and that smile on her lips
Because she knows that it kills me
With her soft french cream
Standing in that doorway like a dream
I wish she'd just leave me alone
Because french cream won't soften them boots
And french kisses will not break that heart of stone
With her long hair falling
And her eyes that shine like a midnight sun
Oh-o she's the one, she's the one

That Thunder in your heart
At night when you're kneeling in the dark
It says you're never gonna leave her
But there's this angel in her eyes
That tells such desperate lies
And all you want to do is believe her
And tonight you'll try just one more time
To leave it all behind and to break on through
Oh she can take you, but if she wants to break you
She's gonna find out that ain't so easy to do
And no matter where you sleep tonight or how far you run
Oh-o she's the one, she's the one

Oh-o and just one kiss
She'd fill them long summer nights
With her tenderness that secret pact you made
Back when her love could save you from the bitterness
Oh she's the one, oh she's the one
Oh she's the one, oh she's the one
Oh she's the one, oh she's the one
Also Appears On
Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75 London Calling: Live in Hyde Park Live in Barcelona
7 Meeting Across the River
Hey, Eddie, can you lend me a few bucks
And tonight can you get us a ride
Gotta make it through the tunnel
Got a meeting with a man on the other side

Hey Eddie, this guy, he's the real thing
So if you want to come along
You gotta promise you won't say anything
'Cause this guy don't dance
And the word's been passed this is our last chance

We gotta stay cool tonight, Eddie
'Cause man, we got ourselves out on that line
And if we blow this one
They ain't gonna be looking for just me this time

And all we gotta do is hold up our end
Here stuff this in your pocket
It'll look like you're carrying a friend
And remember, just don't smile
Change your shirt, 'cause tonight we got style

Well Cherry says she's gonna walk
'Cause she found out I took her radio and hocked it
But Eddie, man, she don't understand
That two grand's practically sitting here in my pocket

And tonight's gonna be everything that I said
And when I walk through that door
I'm just gonna throw that money on the bed
She'll see this time I wasn't just talking
Then I'm gonna go out walking

Hey Eddie, can you catch us a ride?
Also Appears On
Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition
8 Jungleland
The rangers had a homecoming in Harlem late last night
And the Magic Rat drove his sleek machine over the Jersey state line
Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge
Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain
The Rat pulls into town rolls up his pants
Together they take a stab at romance and disappear down Flamingo Lane

Well the Maximum Lawman run down Flamingo chasing the Rat and the barefoot girl
And the kids round here look just like shadows always quiet, holding hands
From the churches to the jails tonight all is silence in the world
As we take our stand down in Jungleland

The midnight gang's assembled and picked a rendezvous for the night
They'll meet 'neath that giant Exxon sign that brings this fair city light
Man there's an opera out on the Turnpike
There's a ballet being fought out in the alley
Until the local cops, Cherry Tops, rips this holy night
The street's alive as secret debts are paid
Contacts made, they vanished unseen
Kids flash guitars just like switch-blades hustling for the record machine
The hungry and the hunted explode into rock'n'roll bands
That face off against each other out in the street down in Jungleland

In the parking lot the visionaries dress in the latest rage
Inside the backstreet girls are dancing to the records that the D.J. plays
Lonely-hearted lovers struggle in dark corners
Desperate as the night moves on, just a look and a whisper, and they're gone

Beneath the city two hearts beat
Soul engines running through a night so tender in a bedroom locked
In whispers of soft refusal and then surrender in the tunnels uptown
The Rat's own dream guns him down as shots echo down them hallways in the night
No one watches when the ambulance pulls away
Or as the girl shuts out the bedroom light

Outside the street's on fire in a real death waltz
Between flesh and what's fantasy and the poets down here
Don't write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand but they wind up wounded, not even dead
Tonight in Jungleland
Also Appears On
Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition Live in New York City Live in New York City (DVD) The Essential Bruce Springsteen Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75 London Calling: Live in Hyde Park