Spin #64 : Bruce Springsteen : Born To Run
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #64
Lately, I have been learning a lot in the new job and finding less time to write about our record collection. It was the first time in a long time (barring physical injury) that I had missed a Sunday spin and I feel bad about it. That is because I enjoy this so much and it feels a part of me, seeing as this week is our 64th Spin! I may not be able to do the podcast as much as we want or keep up with the weekly spins, but I will try to keep this going. I feel at the moment that we have taken a side step in life, in order to move forward and it isn't easy but life isn't easy.
I remember getting this copy of 'Born to Run' by Bruce Springsteen from the flip bins at Frank's Wild Years in my old home town of Thirroul. It would have been a couple of years ago now because I remember spinning this whilst renting with Night Kat Kiz at Jannali (way before kids). The reason I can't forget this album is because we were packing up to move to our unit at the time and I'd taken my whole record collection to my parents place for safe keeping. I don't completely understand the reason why I only kept 'Born to Run', but that was the ONLY record I had left to play. I clean better when I have a bit of music playing and I was slowly getting into Bruce Springsteen's music for the first time during that moment in my life. It must have been subconsciously that I decided to give this album the time it deserves and by the end of the move, I had made a mental note of the things I loved most about Springsteen's album.
I don't like it when the sun is out but the winds are really strong. It always gives our old house a test. I much prefer a sunny winters day, not too hot or cold and zero to minimal wind. For that reason, I am spinning 'Born to Run' in our front room so we can sit by the window in the filtered sun light. The turntable we are using is an Audio Technica (AT-LP60XBT) and the speaker is a Marshall Woburn II (who still haven't been in touch for me to test out their new Woburn III - how rude).
ALBUMS OF NOTE (1975): The Basement Tapes - Bob Dylan & The Band, Horses - Patti Smith, Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd, Between the Lines - Janis Ian, Blood on the Tracks - Bob Dylan, Zuma - Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac, Sabotage - Black Sabbath, Toys in the Attic - Aerosmith, Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin, Diamond & Rust - Joan Baez, One of these Nights - The Eagles, Dressed to Kill - KISS, Welcome to My Nightmare - Alice Cooper, A Night at the Opera - Queen, Fly By Night - RUSH, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy - Elton John, Richie Blackmore's Rainbow - Rainbow
Image : Clarence Clemons & Bruce Springsteen
I know that a couple of you are massive fans of everything 'The Boss' puts out so if you have a copy of 'Born to Run', please place the record on your turntable now as we get ready to.....#dropthestylus
Here we go with the first song, on quite arguably, Springsteen's most important album. It's not my absolute favourite but it's close. That song is called, 'THUNDER ROAD' and I'm following along with the printed lyrics in the gatefold on my original 1975 pressing from Columbia. I wish more artists took the time to create a finished product - posters, lyrics etc. Don't get me wrong, there are quite a lot of artists that go above and beyond with what they include within the LP these days but occasionally you get the artists who don't care. Some bands don't put track listing on the jacket at all or include any inserts or poly static bags to help protect the LP after it has left the pressing plant. There was a lot of pressure on the shoulders of Springsteen from the record label after two albums they deemed commercial flops. I don't know why they were regarded as failures because his first two albums are awesome. I can relate with Springsteen a little bit on 'Born to Run' because I am embarking on a change and pressure filled moment also. Anyway, how good is the harmonica and piano that starts off this one and the storytelling of Springsteen! Between him, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison - some of the very best at spinning a yarn within song.
It was my lovely wife's birthday during the week and I made sure that she had a relaxing moment after some pretty tough days at work herself. I think she had fun and wasn't expecting the chocolate filled Pinata! Something to make her laugh, the children would enjoy and also get some of that stress and frustration out on a colourfully decorated cardboard donkey. Thank you to my family for helping me out with the birthday cake too, it was lovely. Our daughter (Q) has had a rough start to the week too but is in the middle of growing and cutting some teeth so I can't blame her grumpiness.
I like the increase in tempo as the song progresses and feels like they were slowly putting their foot down on the accelerator on this one. "Hey what else can we do now? Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair".
The ending of this song introduces the terrific saxophone playing of Clarence Clemons (who features on the album jacket with Springsteen).
Next up is one of the singles released from the album called, 'TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT'. If the first song was bringing you up to speed then this one lets you put on your boogie shoes and mellow out a bit. A very different sound and you will find yourself bopping along to the drum beat of Max M. Weinberg. The horn arrangement throughout this one creates a larger dynamic and would sound very wholesome live. The horns were arranged by Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt, who you might know from his work. The bassline work of Garry Tallent (yes that is his name) keeps this song chugging along and I can see why this was selected as a single. To be honest, any song on this album could have been chosen as a single as they all have that commercial success shine to them.
When I read the title of the third song, 'NIGHT' I instantly thought of a different sounding track to what starts playing. It is very upbeat with the piano and in parts reminds me a bit of something Meatloaf would have included on his albums. I like the lyrics of, "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". It is over in a flash and we move along to the last song on Side A.
Once the sadness and softer beat of 'BACKSTREETS' starts, I can feel myself relaxing again and giving into the warm sound of vinyl. This would be my favourite track on the album so far because of that introduction. The house is a bit colder today, due to it snowing somewhere west of us and this song would go perfectly with a cuppa and rugged up under a blanket. Not many artists do this, but on the back of the record jacket they have included who plays what instrument for every song. Sometimes they put it on an insert in really small writing but I can't remember another album doing this from our record collection. Do you have any that list the track listing and the musicians on the back of the jacket? The piano playing of Roy Bittan is quite nice and I like the fact that the whole album was originally composed on piano first. Our son (K) has been growing up so fast lately and I managed to sew his GKR patch on his karate clothes in time for his Friday class. He has been a handful of times now and seems to really enjoy it once he has become comfortable with the class. I think it helps when the Sensei comes across and gets him involved. For a while after the class, he is very focused and you can tell he is absorbing a lot of what they teach (even though he is only 4 years old). As I was thinking about karate, the stylus moves to the deadwax and returns to the cradle, telling me to flip LP over for Side 2.
What have you thought so far of this album? Let us know on our social pages or in the comments at the bottom of this page. The title track leads us off on Side 2 and is the most played song live by Springsteen. 'BORN TO RUN' took a while to write and perfect according to Springsteen. He got to a point where he was hesitant to release it and I'm so glad that he did. I have his autobiography and have been reading it in pieces over the years but I think I will have to give it the time it deserves and finish it. It is so uplifting when you think Springsteen was able to 'Run' after all the pressure he had piling up with this album and it gives hope to everyone who is going through tough times. Keep moving forward and keep believing in yourself. I like the lyrics of, "The highways 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".
Take a breath after that megahit.......wow. The sounds of 'SHE'S THE ONE' start off a bit slower as the harpsichord and organ are used to great effect on this one. I like how Springsteen's vocals change throughout the album and he has so much emotion behind his words. I haven't heard a lot of Springsteen's later catalogue other than 'Western Stars' and 'Letter to You' (both of which I will have to add to our collection). I know he had some different sounding albums in the late '80s and '90s but I want to give them all a try. Imagine if he held back 'Born to Run' after constant criticism and never progressed beyond the first two albums. We wouldn't have some of the biggest songs known in the music world and definitely wouldn't have "The Boss". I read somewhere that he received that nickname because after gigs, he would be the one distributing all the money evenly throughout the musicians. This one ends with Springsteen yelling some "Heys" and the band jamming.
I really do like this next song called, 'MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER' because as you listen you start building the images in your mind. Springsteen invites us along with his meeting of a man called Eddie (not the mascot from Iron Maiden) and the piano and sax fit so well with the vocals. One of the sadder songs on the album musically but it ends with Springsteen saying, "Hey Eddie, can you catch us a ride?". It works well too with the final song on the album called, 'JUNGLELAND'. I'd love to hear this album played live and will have to look up when Springsteen is playing in Australia next. Apparently he puts on quite a show and gives fans their money's worth (3 hours or so !). This is the longest song on the album and is one to really grab the lyrics and follow along or even close your eyes and soak it all in. "The midnight gang's assembled and picked a rendezvous for the night. They'll meet 'neath the 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". Just for the ending alone, this one almost became my favourite track. Spoken word towards the end and it really feels like Springsteen and the band really left everything out on the studio floor. Springsteen took chances to get where he is and that to me is very motivational.
As the stylus moves across the deadwax and returns back to the cradle, I manage to take a moment to take it that incredible album. No matter how many times I have listened to this one, it always feels like time goes really really fast. I hope to put out a Spin and MWSP each and every week, but be patient with us please as we adapt to different jobs. Thanks for taking the time to read our Spin on this cold, wintery Sunday and I'll catch you next week (hopefully) for something a little left field for us.
“Nature has given us all the pieces required to achieve exceptional wellness and health, but has left it to us to put these pieces together" - Diane McLaren
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people nicknamed 'The Boss' and be Kind to your Wax!
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, JOHN LANDAU & MIKE APPEL
SPEED PLAYED AT
THE WILD, THE INNOCENT & THE E STREET SHUFFLE (1973)
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN (1978)
THE RIVER (1980)
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP, GATEFOLD SLEEP WITH PRINTED LYRICS AND POLY STATIC BAGS. FIRST PRESSING 1975!
"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. They set us loose of everything to go running on the backstreets" ~ Backstreets - Side A
LP / SIDE
TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT
BORN TO RUN
SHE'S THE ONE
MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER
Clarence and Springsteen jamming live in the '70s