What does Born in the U.S.A. mean?

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Bruce Springsteen: Born in the U.S.A. Meaning

Born in the U.S.A. Lyrics

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
'Til you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 4th 2019 report

    “Born down in a dead man's town
    The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
    You end up like a dog that's been beat too much”

    The first stanza tells the story about a kid born in a little town, abused since a young age.

    “Got in a little hometown jam
    So they put a rifle in my hand
    Sent me off to a foreign land
    To go and kill the yellow man”

    He gets drafted and sent to the Vietnam war

    “Come back home to the refinery
    Hiring man said ‘son if it was up to me’
    Went down to see my V.A. man
    He said ‘son, don't you understand’”

    Post war he comes back, tries to apply for a job and doesn’t get it due to the public not supporting the war and thinking that the soldiers did horrible things

    “I had a brother at Khe Sahn
    Fighting off the Viet Cong
    They're still there, he's all gone”

    His brother was killed in Vietnam, the Vietnamese are still there and his brother is dead (The war was pointless)

    “He had a woman he loved in Saigon
    I got a picture of him in her arms now”

    His brother had a family he left behind

    “Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
    Out by the gas fires of the refinery
    I'm ten years burning down the road
    Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go”

    He’s been sent to prison


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Feb 2nd 2007 report

    As angry a protest song as been heard in a decade when it was released in 84. Take the first line. Angry, aware, and matter of fact, it tells straight up a story of a forgotten, cast away member of a lost generation who gave everything, and without a silver spoon to bail him out, spent the rest of his time searching. Without a job, direction or the respect of the country he thought he was fighting for, he can't even find the simplest of vocations. The last line alludes to Springsteen's dim faith in his fellow Americans. After all he's given and had spat back at him, he's still "a cool rockin' daddy in the USA."


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Apr 29th 2019 report

    Born into a failing American town and abused by his family. Without many prospects the author gets into trouble and in order to avoid jail time is ordered to fight in the war. (This really did happen) He goes off to kill the Yellow Man but he doesn't know why he's doing it other than to escape his home.

    He comes home to get a job but the man at the refinery say's, "He'd hire him but the owners don't want to hire Vets. They had a reputation as trouble, drug-users, drinkers, damaged people. He goes to the VA looking for help and they treat him with indifference. Psych problems are not their problem.

    His brother or friend was fighting the Viet Cong they won - we lost, he was killed. He fell in love with a woman in Saigon, on leave most likely, they had started a family and the author has a photo that he keeps.

    10 years on he's still chasing his demons going through life not knowing why he did what he did. The law is looking over his shoulder and the gas fires represent hell coming up from the bowels of the earth. He is tormented by his thoughts but he pushes on with nowhere to run and nowhere to go to escape them. He is left to his own devices.

  4. anonymous
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    Dec 24th 2017 report

    To really understand the song you have to go back and listen to one of the original, acoustic versions. It hasn't got the beat and the rhythm of the hit single, it's rough, it's raw and it is not easy on the ear. But it is full of emotion. Then someone saw the song's commercial potential and repackaged it as something which sounded totally different to what it really was. When challenged at the time (that in Reagan's America the hit song seemed to appeal to the very opposite emotions of what it meant) I think Bruce replied, that every time he sung it, someone else else in the audience would understand for themselves what the song was all about.

  5. kooljohn176
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    Sep 23rd 2016 report

    A song that was and is about the hurtful and angry Vietnam war Veteran ''Born In The U.S.A'' that did and was willing to sacrifice his life for US and our country. BUT when coming home from the war he wasn't honored and respected as much as he should've been. If anything he was disrespected by the Government and the Media that created more anger and disrespect within the Country that needed to have his back against them and not to trust and feel proud of them anymore. I believe that's why Bruce has his back ass on the album cover towards us[the certain people in govn't and media] that used US the Veterans like loyal dogs for war, only to be beaten down when coming home.

  6. anonymous
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    Feb 4th 2016 report

    Its about putting your ugly ass on the cover of a record.
    And then expecting us to look??
    For gods sake you cant be serious.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Dec 10th 2015 report

    A vet that is returning to America and facing hardship back in America. Protest song.

  8. anonymous
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    Nov 28th 2011 report

    It's a protest song. The Vietnam War was the first war the U.S. didn't win and when the army got back, the public was like our army sucks. Little know fact: Chevy offered Springsteen money to use it, but he turned it down. It's not about how proud you are to be American. It's about the hardships the army faced.

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 23rd 2011 report

    It's about the treatment of Veitnam vets. He wanted the public to wake up and realize that they wanted to mourn their fallen instead of being treated as heros. Or something like that.

  10. anonymous
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    Aug 27th 2010 report

    10 years burning down the road...in 1984 this character has been burning down the same roads since Born to Run, maybe Thunder Road?

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  11. Jeff3417
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    Apr 15th 2005 report

    This song is a story about a Vietnam vet returning from war after and his hardship in reintegrating back into a society that was so opposed to the war.

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