Bruce Springsteen probably is best known for his album Born in the U.S.A. (1984), which sold 15 million copies in the U.S. and became one of the best-selling albums of all time, with seven singles hitting the Top 10, and the massively successful world tour that followed it.
The title track was a bitter commentary on the treatment of Vietnam veterans, some of whom were Springsteen’s friends and bandmates. The lyrics in the verses were entirely unambiguous when listened to, but the anthemic music and the title of the song made it hard for many, from politicians to the common person, to get the lyrics—except those in the chorus, which could be read many ways.
The song was widely misinterpreted as jingoistic, and in connection with the 1984 presidential campaign became the subject of considerable folklore. Springsteen also turned down several million dollars offered by the Chrysler Corporation to use the song in a car commercial. (In later years, to eliminate the bombast and make the song’s original meaning more explicitly clear, Springsteen performed the song accompanied only by acoustic guitar. An acoustic version also appeared on Tracks, a later album.)
Three of the singles from the Born In The U.S.A. LP were given the remix treatment by Arthur Baker. Dancing In The Dark, Cover Me and Born In The U.S.A would all benefit chartwise from having the additional 12″ single format and in my opinion, these mixes are some of the best mainstream work that Arthur Baker did and all have aged remarkably well.
Here is hoping that the 30th Anniversary of the LP in 2014 brings us a deluxe CD with all of the Arthur Baker mixes included.
Born In The U.S.A. (The Freedom Mix) 7:20
Born In The U.S.A. (Dub) 7:36
Born In The U.S.A. (Radio) 6:10