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Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Born to Run"

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run (1976)

"Roy Orbison, singing Bob Dylan, produced by [Phil] Spector."

You don't often hear glockenspiel in a Rock song, but when you are trying to make a wall of sound, I guess you use a lot of instruments building it. This was the breakout song of the breakout album for one of Rock's most enduring legends. The previous two albums had failed to attract too much attention outside of the North Atlantic fan base, and this was pretty much the bands last chance as far as Columbia Records was concerned. That's one side of the story. On the other side, Springsteen and his producers were given a lot of time and money to put this together. The quote above the video is actually Bruce himself on what he wanted the album to sound like. A big voice, singing meaningful lyrics over a wall of sound.

The song is slower than I remember. that's not a slight against it, it's just that in my head the song is faster. We kick off with a drum beat, then really quickly start layering piano, organs, guitars, bass, saxophones, and the previously mentioned glockenspiel. I love the false fade out ending (I clearly have a preference for that particular trick) at 3:00 before we get counted back in. I love the fact that we get a sax solo (presumably from "The Big Man") and I love the guitar piano and bass at 2:38 doing a kind of country train feel thing. I'm surprised that trying to get a wall of sound feel they didn't go with any background singers. Near the end, Bruce has got a really slight delay thing on his vocals so he's 'kinda' backing himself, but there are no back up singers. Honestly though, the weirdest part of this whole recording to me is that the drums are not Max Weinberg. He's the drummer for every other song on the album, but not this one.

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