Next, we have Bruce Springsteen’s third album, “Born to Run”. With this album, more and more of the “E Street” band comes together, with more presence from “Little” Steven Van Zandt and Max Weinberg, along with continued support from legendary sax player Clarence Clemons. This is a breakout album for Bruce, and I think this will be difficult to top as a collective piece. Well received critically and commercially, this record is rated #21 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
If I had to sum up this album sound in one word, I would use the word “big”. Even the softer songs have a bigger sound, one landmark of the quality of this project. The album opens with two hallmark Springsteen songs, the emotional “Thunder Road” and the celebratory piece “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”. Probably my least favorite song on the album is “Backstreets”, which closes out side one. It’s alright, just a bit long and redundant for my tastes.
Side two opens with the dramatic and explosive title track, which is a great energy builder throughout the track, it is Bruce and the band hitting on all cylinders. The bass runs by Garry Tallent really stand out and it is such a dramatic burst as they build to the finish. From its earliest days, I have always loved this song, even before I had much appreciation for the rest of Springsteen’s work.
“She’s the One” is another big and theatrical song that really reflects the passion and energy and Bruce brings to the stage. “Meeting Across the River” and “Jungleland” don’t move me quite the same way, but there is enough great material on this album to validate all of the success and praise realized on “Born to Run”. Not unlike the Eagles yesterday with “One of these Nights”, Bruce cemented his status as another mega-star of the 1970s with this great record.