Another month is upon us Public Recordeers and since that month is July, what better way to usher in the birth of the nation and the middle of the summer than to keep our Summer 2019 Rock Block going. We have a new mix up on our mixcloud website – www.mixcloud.com/ThePublicRecords – and a couple crates of brand new vinyl getting prepped to be put out on the shelves.
With that being said, we’ve decided to rock your socks with ‘The Boss’ of rock’n’roll himself, Mr. Bruce Springsteen, with his seminal album, Born In The U.S.A. (Columbia, 1984). Bruce is almost a local being New Jersey boy and there are enough people here in Lancaster with New Jersey connections to make him the obvious choice for the July 4th weekend. Being so close to home, his music resonates here in a way that west coast, southern, or the Detroit rockers an’t. Sure, there are archetypal themes running all throughout American popular music, but the imagery, lingo, and instrumentation that Springsteen and other ‘local’ musicians use hits home in a way that The Beach Boys don’t.
Bruce was born in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1949 and grew up in Freehold. Like us loving all things PA, his early influence was fellow New Jerseyian Frank Sinatra. However, it was seeing Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show that really hammered music into his head – and it was rock and roll that was the way to go.
A big loner in school, Springsteen suffered a heard injury in a motorcycle accident at 17 and this prevented him from being drafted for the Vietnam War. It was during his high school years that he began performing and he led many groups with and experimented with many names up into the early 70s. He and his groups performed in New Jersey, Virginia, California, and Nashville, Tennessee and soon began to gain a following.
It was finally in 1972 that he got a record deal and he needed things to congeal. Recruiting some of the musicians he had worked with in previous groups, he formed the E Street Band and released Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.. After that, it was all uphill for Bruce and his band.
Our album of the week, Born In The U.S.A., was Springsteen’s seventh studio album and his first major commercial success. Seven singles of the album made it into the Top 10, the album inspired a world wide tour and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.
The songs of the album, which many initially thought (including Ronald Reagan) to be a very patriotic, were in fact discussing the inequalities and neglect that many institutions across the country trickled down to the working class. Not only did Born In The U.S.A explore the lives of those left behind economically, it also inadvertently aided the very same blue collar heroes being championed in its lyrics by being the first album on compact disc to be produced and manufactured in America! Previous CDs had been imported from Columbia Studios’ factories in Japan.
The themes of the songs on Born In The U.S.A. were not new for Bruce as he had always written about the working class, but it was the instrumentation of this album that got the really got to the masses and led to a renaissance of what Springsteen coined ‘Heartland Rock’ and paved the way for acts such as Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Bob Seger, and John Cougar Mellencamp to achieve the successes they did. Born In The U.S.A. wasn’t only appealing to lugs of the States, it reached number 1 in the UK after over 30 weeks on the charts. It also topped charts all over Europe and Australia/New Zealand.
So, come and join us this holiday weekend to celebrate another year of America and what makes this country great – our workers (be sure tip your bartenders!) with this classic album by one of our epic singer songwriters. Be sure to wash it all down with High King Lager to honor The Boss.