Rolling Stone - 12/11/03, p.116Ranked #85
in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time"
Rolling Stone - 11/89Ranked #6
in Rolling Stone's "100 Best Albums Of The Eighties" survey.
CMJ - 1/5/04, p.14Ranked #7
in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1984"
Q (Magazine) - p.120
"BORN IN THE USA was nothing less than a phenomenon, drawing in a mainstream audience..."
Personnel: Bruce Springsteen (vocals, guitar); Steve Van Zandt (acoustic guitar, mandolin, background vocals); Clarence Clemons (saxophone, percussion, background vocals); Danny Federici (piano, organ, glockenspiel); Roy Bittan (piano, synthesizer, background vocals); Garry Tallent (bass, background vocals); Max Weinberg (drums, background vocals); La Bamba, Ruth Jackson (background vocals).
Producers: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Steve Van Zandt.
Recorded at The Power Station and The Hit Factory, New York, New York.
Personnel: Bruce Springsteen (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Steven Van Zandt (vocals, guitar, mandolin); Steve VanZandt (acoustic guitar, mandolin); Richie Rosenberg (trombone); La Bamba, Ruth Jackson (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Bob Clearmountain.
Recording information: HIt Factory (01/1982-03/1984); Power Station (01/1982-03/1984); The Hit Factory, New York, NY (01/1982-03/1984).
Photographer: Annie Leibovitz.
It's almost hard to believe now that for the first decade of his career Bruce Springsteen was a gigantic cult artist; a musician who could sell a couple of million records and fill hockey rinks, but who was was no more likely than Elvis Costello to get airplay on pop radio.
BORN IN THE USA was the album on which he flexed his muscles (literally) and changed all that. With song titles and choruses that seemed to reflect all that was good and strong in America, belying songs that were about everything that was going wrong, BORN IN THE USA was one of those cultural events that resonated with just about everybody--from both Republican and Democratic politicians, to Vietnam veterans (the title-track was a brutal account of a vet's homecoming), to social critics who found layers of meaning in these tales of disillusioned America, to dance-music DJs who found palpable beats in the dark passions of "Dancing In The Dark" and "Cover Me," to fist-raising pop fans who turned seven of these songs into top-10 singles and kept BORN IN THE USA in a year-long battle for the top spot on the album chart. It was as if no other album mattered that year.
Musically, BORN IN THE USA was as lean and muscular as Springsteen himself, trading in the E Street Band's over-the-top saxophone-and-piano sound of old for a sleeker, forward-driving guitar-and-synthesizer feel (foreshadowing a future in which long-time sax sidekick Clarence Clemons would be gone, and mild-mannered pianist/synth-player Roy Bittan would emerge as a full-blown collaborator). Continuing in the vein of NEBRASKA, the songs were plainspoken, folk-derived tunes, although this time they leapt into big, sing-along choruses. And, seemingly, the whole world sang along.