Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The #13 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen

This summer, Inside the Rock Era is featuring The Top 100 Albums of All-Time in the Rock Era*.  Each day, we are presenting one album and telling its story.

At #13, the great album from Bruce Springsteen.  It indeed is in rare company as Born in the U.S.A. is one of just three albums in music history (Thriller by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 are the other two) to contain seven Top 10 songs.  "Dancing in the Dark" exploded out of the gate; it was followed in succession by "Cover Me", "Born in the U.S.A.", "I'm on Fire", "Glory Days", "I'm Goin' Down" and "My Hometown".  In fact, in his entire 38-year solo career, Springsteen has more hit songs that are on this album (seven) than aren't on it (five).

On the strength of those singles and the unprecedented airplay that resulted, Born in the U.S.A. raced to #1 for four weeks but was replaced by Prince's Purple Rain.  That album was #1 for 24 weeks but this one didn't go away, remaining at #2 for 18 consecutive weeks and then, amazingly, going back up to #1 again.  Those two albums have the record for the longest period of time in which the top two albums have been the same.  All told, Born in the U.S.A. logged 23 weeks at #2 and 15 at #3, for a total of 45 weeks in the Top Three.  It remained in the Top 10 for 84 weeks (over a year and a half) and spent 139 weeks on the album chart.  The album was also #1 in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. Born in the U.S.A. has sold 15 million copies in the United States and has a solid Track Rating* of 9.00.

[Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen Album Cover Art]

In the case of most of these Top 100 Albums, I have told you that there's much more to the album than the singles.  In this case, I can't say that, if only because seven tracks on the album were released as singles.  What you have heard on the radio is largely what you get on this album; there really aren't any hidden "gems" as you will find on many of the other albums. 

Springsteen won a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance (for "Dancing in the Dark"), and American Music Awards for Favorite Pop Album, Favorite Pop Male Artist (in 1985), Favorite Pop Single ("Dancing in the Dark") and Favorite Pop Male Artist Video (in 1985).  He was nominated at the Grammys for Album of the Year (lost to Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down) and Record of the Year ("Dancing in the Dark") and by the American Music Awards for Favorite Pop Male Artist (in 1984) and Favorite Pop Male Artist Video (in 1984).  Springsteen won a Juno Award for International Album of the Year and an MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance Video ("Dancing in the Dark") and was nominated at the MTV Awards for Best Overall Performance (for both "Dancing in the Dark" and "Glory Days") and for Best Male Video ("Glory Days").

Born in the U.S.A.:
(All songs by Bruce Springsteen.)

Side one
1.  "Born in the U.S.A." --4:39
2.  "Cover Me" --3:27
3.  "Darlington County" --4:48
4.  "Working on the Highway" --3:11
5.  "Downbound Train" --3:35
6.  "I'm on Fire" --2:37

Side two
1.  "No Surrender" --4:00
2.  "Bobby Jean" --3:46
3.  "I'm Goin' Down" --3:29
4.  "Glory Days" --4:15
5.  "Dancing in the Dark" --4:00
6.  "My Hometown" --4:34

Springsteen played guitar and acoustic guitar on the album.  The E Street Band consisted of Roy Bittan on piano and synthesizer, Clarence Clemons on saxophone and percussion, Garry Tallent on bass, Steve Van Zandt on guitar, mandolin and harmony vocals and Max Weinberg on drums.  Danny Federici played organ, glockenspiel and piano on the title track.Richie Rosenberg and Ruth Davis sang backing vocals on the album.

Born in the U.S.A. was recorded between January of 1982 and March of 1984 at two famous studios--The Power Station and the Hit Factory in New York City.  Springsteen, Jon Landau, Steve Van Zandt and Chuck Plotkin produced the album.  Bob Ludwig mastered the project while Bill Scheniman and Toby Scott were the engineers.   Bob Clearmountain mixed the album.  Andrea Klein was in charge of art direction and cover design while Annie Leibovitz took the famous picture on the cover.  The album was released June 4, 1984 on Columbia Records.

Bruce Springsteen places Born in the U.S.A. at #13 All-Time*.

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