Bruce Springsteen: Born To Run Meaning
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Born To Run Lyrics
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin’ out over the line
songmaster Jul 6th, 2009 7:09am report
This is the most visceral song about American youth ever written.
Springsteen captures all the hunger and doubt, fear and courage you are swallowed by when you are stepping out into the world for the first time on your own. This is about a time when your own chemicals, burning up inside you, drive you forward with an irresistible force; and while some around you understand, others think you're crazy or reckless; but you just don't know any other way to take the next step.
This is about a time when you can pull a girl up close to you; arms around her; the smell of her hair fills your lungs; the power of her warmth and the touch of her lips sends fire coursing through your veins till you feel like you're going to explode right out of your skin.
This is about a time when you don't understand all the things that make you feel they way they do.
This is the time before you have your career job and your own family. When responsibility to your wife and kids pours some water on that fire because you just can't live crazy like that anymore. It's not a bad thing: it's just the passage of time.
Now, for me, it's been quite a few years. But anytime I want to go back and feel those feelings again I can just put on Born to Run, crank it up and feel the hot tears burning down my cheeks.
anonymous Nov 1st, 2008 11:19pm report
"In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American Dream":
The American Dream is to own a house; to have a place of your own, a place where you belong. But, the price of that dream is usually a 30-year mortgage, tying you to a place, and a job, and so this dream is somewhat compromised - trading in the freedom of youth for a lifetime of conformity and repetition for pursuit of that "dream".
"Sprung from cages on Highway 9":
This line must have taken him a while to think up. It changes the whole meaning of the first verse of the song. As opposed to something like "burning rubber down highway 9", it really underscores that cruising/street racing is the one last vestige of freedom, the one place they can break the rules and feel like individuals rather than part of the labor force. Out there, in their "chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected" machines, they are "sprung" from their working class prisons.
Later on in the song, he exposes this activity as an illusion of freedom with the line "hemi-powered drones". The cars are drones, just like the people are - cruising up and down the boulevard, weekend after weekend, it's the same routine and repetition of their daily lives.
"Everybody's out on the run tonight but there's no place left to hide."
A metaphor for being trapped. Everyone hops in their cars and goes cruising, but they aren't really going anywhere, just expressing subconsciously their urge to get out, and wherever they go, they see people just like themselves, trapped just like they are.
anonymous Aug 17th, 2005 8:58pm report
This is what rock-n-roll is all about: redemption, hope of something better, maybe not here, but maybe down the road.
"The highways jammed with broken heros...", "This town rips the bones off your back, its a deathtrape, a suicide rap..." - but "someday baby, I don't know when...we'll get to that place we really want to go..". It is a song about exeriencing what life has to give us, "I want to know if love is wild, I want to know if love is real". For the younger Springsteen (circa late 1970s), love, hope, redemption is down the road, you just have to take that risk, to leave the safely of familar surroundings to find your peace: "I'm just a scared and lonely rider, but..." Most of Springsteen's songs revolve around these ideals, but no other song really brings it out like Born to Run. I'd say it is the definitive Springsteen song.
anonymous May 11th, 2018 5:18pm report
I worked at the Rayway Refinery on Highway 9 in the late 1970's. The refinery and parking lots were surrounded by high cyclone fences with gates that were locked during work hours. At the end of the shift, everyone went to their cars, waited for the gates to be unlocked, and got the hell out of there as fast as we could. I never heard anyone, including the Boss, say so, but to me, "Sprung from cages out on highway 9, Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin’ out over the line" is about the gates opening at all of the industrial plants on Highway 9 and the workers getting the hell away from a dirty miserable day caged in at work.
anonymous Dec 19th, 2017 12:06pm report
Fuel injected was factory installed on 1958 and up Corvettes. It was a high performance option. Your understanding of the history of carburetors is flawed!
anonymous Nov 7th, 2016 11:58pm report
Me? I am not the right person to ask.. Bruce Springsteen is the one to ask.. he is the only one that knows..I am guessing he was under the influence of something when he wrote this.. One of the absolute best songs of all time.. Period.
kooljohn176 Dec 4th, 2015 12:59pm report
This was one of the best rock and roll songs ever heard in the 70's by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band that captured the youthful dream of a dreamer that wants to believe in something meaningful by going out on the journey of life to experience it's meaning for the individual self. He is like a modern day Don Quiote knight that traded his primitive horse in the future for a hemi-super charged car or motor-cycle to cruise on a much faster speed that could be turned into a suicide machine if it's used for the wrong reasons on his travels to find out if love is real for him that he feels is so powerful in his heart and soul that lives in him with the chaotic and the confusing times of the cultural and political terrorism that affected many minds in the 70's on the home turf and the madness that was going on in places like Vietnam and the Middle East for the individual to find his way back home by the sacrifices he made on his journey in the hope to stay alive to bring on some redemption for him and his loved one back home.
"Just wrap your legs round these velvet rims and strap your hands across my engines"
This is a metaphor. The male hero of the song wants to have sex with Wendy, a girl he likes. It's about lust, the physical attraction he feels for her.
And yes, it's about love also, from a male perspective.
It's always up to Wendy what happens next. She can either sing "Hit the Road, Jack"or "Johnny Angel" in response.
A nice pop song would be a female rock star's musical response to "Born to Run".
I'm surprised that hasen't been done yet in the musical world. Of course, women do take their time with such things.
I speak from experience. After getting out of a bad relationship that lasted for decades, I recently sent "Thunder Road" and "Born to Run" in an email to a woman I'm interested in. I haven't heard "Hit the Road Jack",but I'm still waiting for a reply.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Nov 23rd, 2009 11:40pm report
I agree with whoever said it is about Street Racing, but it is using racing as a metaphor for escaping from jersey and young love.
Pisser of a song even 35 years later still makes me and the rest of Australia jump. Don't think it's about racing though, but definitely refers to bikes.."chrome wheeled, fuel injected....wrap your legs round these velvet rims and strap your hands across my engines...bit hard to do that to a muscle car. Anyhow it's pure rock and roll, escapism, dreams and searching for them no one does or has done it better than Bruce.. Thanks Boss
anonymous Nov 20th, 2006 11:12pm report
Born to run is the state song of New Jersey, even though it's about getting out of the "godforsaken" town. LOL
anonymous Oct 22nd, 2006 10:10pm report
Accordingly to the man who wrote the song - it is about freedom.
tramps_like_us Mar 3rd, 2006 3:42pm report
Actually this song isn't about racing, if you were in Asbury Park N.J., in the early 70's it's about the strip in Asbury, Ocean Ave was called the circut( because everybody rode up and down showing off their cars, the palace(beyond the palace heavy powered drones scream down the boulevard) was an amusement park building that was recently torn down, Bruce was pretty much longing to get back to his roots in Jersey and the days when he palyed the Stone Pony
Ok, first of all, it's not about bikers. Bikers don't have hemis, you retards. Hemi's are the 426 cubic inch engine with a hemispherical combustion chamber, pushing out 425 horse power. The song is about going home, Bruce said it himself in 1988. In a concert of which I have seen the tape, he says it is about two kids that are trying to get back home. They are running towards whatever home is. It is not a love song, nor a running away song, and it has nothing to do with bikers, it's all muscle cars. They are racing.
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