A great way to kick off the summertime are the 4th of July celebrations. Across America, there are barbecues and picnics as well as many other Independence Day activities. Most Americans see the fireworks as their favorite part of the festivities. Besides the pyrotechnics, another element of the holiday is the patriotic music. One of the most popular 4th of July songs that is included in almost every event is Bruce Springsteen’s hit, “Born in the U.S.A.”
With his baritone voice, Springsteen sings this song with such gusto. Those three simple words, “Born in the U.S.A., mean so much. It is a great song to dance to that makes you feel proud to be an American. At a fun 4th of July event, we interpret this song as a simple tune. However, the meaning of this classic American melody is more complex.
Unlike other patriotic songs that depict America as paradise, “Born in the U.S.A.,” is song of protest. The lyrics pinpoint the injustices that Vietnam veterans had to face as well as the struggles of middle class America. In short, “Born in the U.S.A.” presents an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, it is a lively and patriotic song. It is also a song that discusses the broken American dream.
Ever since Springsteen decided to become a singer and songwriter, he already knew that he would not see America through rose colored glasses. In his own words, he described the polarity of the American dream:
“I spent most of my life as a musician measuring the distance between the American dream and American reality.”
As an artist inspired by the truth, many of his followers heard his message loudly. In fact, his 1984 album Born in the U.S.A., which included the hit song, “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Dancing in the Dark” among other hits, sold 15 million copies in America. Worldwide this album sold 30 million copies. “Dancing in the Dark” became a No. 2 hit on the Billboard music chart.
Born on September 23, 1949 in Long Branch, New Jersey, Springsteen already showed musical talent as a boy. Adele, his mom, was his first fan and purchased his first guitar for $18. As his musical talent developed, his mother took out a loan to buy Springsteen a Kent guitar for $60. She made a great investment in her son’s future. As a grateful son, he showed how thankful he was to his mother in the song, “The Wish.”
Even though Springsteen was a gifted musician, he did not achieve success immediately. Springsteen’s first album, Greetings from Asbury Park in N.J., launched in 1972, received rave reviews but not strong sales. As he continued to work even harder on his music, his concerts were sold out.
At many of his shows, Springsteen paid tribute to “the great state of New Jersey.” As he achieved fame in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York, he never forgot his hometown roots. Garnering worldwide attention, he still had the heart of a New Jerseyan.
When Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey in 2012, Springsteen gave a concert for the victims at the Blue Cross in Rochester, New York. At the beginning of 2000’s, he supported the revival of Asbury Park. He held shows to restore this popular attraction to its former glory. Never forgetting New Jersey sites that inspired his first songs, he showed his followers that he cared.
At 68 years young, Springsteen is still a great rocker. His long performances make his fans happy. On July 31, 2012, Springsteen held his lengthiest concert of all time in Helsinki, Finland. This record show, that included 33 songs, lasted four hours and six minutes. His second longest performance was in the U.S.A. on September 7, 2016 at the Citizens Bank in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This show continued 4 hours and 4 minutes. The Boss certainly did stay true to the lyrics of “Born in the U.S.A.” Without a doubt, he is “a cool rocking Daddy in the U.S.A.”