Born To Run

BORN TO RUN - V1 uncirculating
BORN TO RUN - V2a 4:24 ESR / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V2b 4:28 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V3 4:27 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4a 4:40 BIS / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4b 4:38 WAR / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4c 4:34 ETRJ / BWNH / BTRS / BTRCS / BIS / ROOI / WAR
BORN TO RUN - V4d 4:30 BIS / ROOI / ETRJ / ETRV / BTRS / BTRCS
BORN TO RUN - V4e 4:23 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4f 4:21 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4g 4:30 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4h 4:23 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4i 4:21 BIS / BTRCS
BORN TO RUN - V4j 4:21 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4k 3:20 Ktel-CBS
BORN TO RUN - V5a 4:28 BORN TO RUN / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST / CHAPTER
BORN TO RUN - V5b 4:28 ETRJ / ETRV / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V5c 5:27 RTT
BORN TO RUN - V6 uncirculating

Note: In his 2012 biography, Bruce, Peter Ames Carlin wrote that "While on the road in the Mid-South late in 1973, Springsteen awoke suddenly one morning, grabbed his notebook, and inked in the title "Born To Run". A few weeks later, "Bruce, the band, and Appel got back to work at the 914 Sound Studios on January 8, 1974, spending a couple of days fiddling with rudimentary versions of both 'Born To Run' V1 and "Jungleland"." According to Springsteen, the entire writing and recording process for the song took six months, while he was living at a rented cottage at 7½ West End Court in West Long Branch, New Jersey. Though recordings from early 1974 have never surfaced, early lyric sheets of "Glory Road" contain many lines that would be used in "Born To Run", including the title.

V2a is the original backing track recorded on May 21, 1974, after rehearsal in prior sessions. V2b is from June 26, 1974, dubbing Bruce's vocal to the V2a track. Work continued, adding lyrics and overdubs, at 914 Sound Studios, both in June and then after starting a week's residency at the studio on August 1, 1974. Finally, on August 6, 1974, seventy-two tracks were mixed down to the sixteen available by engineer Louis Lahav. The core backing track is V3. The variants of V4 are numerous test mixes and arrangements, with backing vocals, double-tracked vocals and strings: V4a has a double tracked vocal, strings and hard organ stop; V4b has double tracked vocals. swirling strings, female chorus, and hard organ stop; V4c has a female chorus and delayed organ end. V4d has a female chorus that does not start until third verse, with funky dead stop. V4e is an alternative mix with only basic instrumental backing; V4f has only guitars in the instrumental backing; V4g does not have a drum track. V4h is Bruce's vocal without any backing instruments; V4i features string and enhanced high end; V4j has less overdubbing; V4k does not include the middle verse and the sax solo and was released by Ktel-CBS in Australia-only in early 1976 on a multi-artist LP called Supersounds.

In a 2006 interview, Louis Lahav described the mixing process: "Springsteen kept changing the lyrics and the song got finished only when he was pleased with the text. But we weren't working only on the vocals that entire time. We were tweaking, over-dubbing and pre-mixing until the last moment. In addition to the rhythm section there were strings, glockenspiel, piano, electric guitars, brasses, about four or five acoustic guitars, there are probably thousands of parts and instruments in it. For example, the sax solo was edited from about seven different solo tracks … it took me hours punching in and out what you can do these days in seconds". The final mix chosen for release is V5a. In late October 1974, an advanced tape release of the official version (V5b) was sent to selected radio stations by Mike Appel and Springsteen. V5c is a live recording from WMMR Studios in Philadelphia on November 3, 1974, with Ed Sciaky and Bruce playing v5b on the air. The tape was broadcast by several USA radio stations from November 1974 to July 1975. There is little difference between V5a and V5b, except v5b is pre-brickwalled for radio broadcast. V6 is a studio log entry for March 17, 1975, an attempted mix session at Columbia Studios, 49 East 52nd Street, New York. Jon Landau is quoted in Down Thunder Road: "Sometime later Bruce … decided to go in and attempt to remix [the single] "Born To Run". Bruce called me and told me. He asked if I would be able to drop by. They were doing this work at CBS Studios in Manhattan". Bruce similarly wrote in his autobiography, "We took it to a New York studio one evening and in a half hour realized the impossibility of our task. We would never corral that sound again".

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