Born In The U.S.A.

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flickr:40327112311
Commercially Released: June 4, 1984
Label: Columbia
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Steven Van Zandt and Chuck Plotkin
Recorded by Toby Scott, Mike Batlan and Bill Scheniman, assisted by John Davenport, Jeff Hendrickson, Bruce Lampcov,
 Billy Straus and Zoë Yanakas at The Power Station, The Hit Factory and Thrill Hill Recording (January 1982 - March 1984)
Mixed by Bob Clearmountain
Mastered by Bob Ludwig
Design by Andrea Klein
Photography by Annie Leibovitz

Overview

The Born In The U.S.A. sessions spanned a two year period and produced the largest quantity of completed song recordings of any session of Bruce’s career. The sessions can be broken down into four distinct phases:

Phase One - January thru May 1982, featuring The E Street Band (with Van Zandt)
Phase Two - January thru late April 1983, featuring Springsteen alone on multiple instruments
Phase Three - May thru June 1983, featuring The E Street Band (little or no Van Zandt)
Phase Four - September 1983 thru February 1984, featuring The E Street Band (no Van Zandt)

According to comments by Max Weinberg, nearly eighty songs were recorded over the course of the entire Born In The U.S.A. sessions. Co-producer Chuck Plotkin has mentioned the number seventy. Springsteen also once stated seventy. In evaluating seventy to eighty it is not clear if these numbers include the thirteen songs from the solo Nebraska sessions that have never surfaced in any form with an E Street Band or multi-instrument backing (i.e., the ten songs issued on the Nebraska album, plus "The Big Payback", "Losin’ Kind" and "Child Bride"). Thanks to information from Sony's studio logs, we now have a far better understanding of the sheer scale of Springsteen's output at this time, as well as the layout of the sessions. Perhaps the most significant information gleaned from the logs is the final confirmation that the majority of Nebraska songs *were* recorded with the band at The Power Station, as well as songs like "Robert Ford" and "Fade To Black" which were demoed in 1981 alongside those Nebraska tracks.

Currently, thirty-two different songs have been officially released from the Born In The U.S.A. sessions, including those originally recorded for but not included on Nebraska. There are thirteen other songs that are circulating unofficially as complete takes in very good sound quality. Eight songs from Nebraska ("Atlantic City", "Johnny 99", "Used Cars", "Nebraska", "Open All Night", "Mansion On The Hill", "Highway Patrolman" and "Reason To Believe") are known to have been recorded with the band, plus another thirty-three songs that may have been worked to completion. Altogether these total eighty-six songs, fairly consistent with Weinberg, Plotkin and Springsteen's recollections.

The Born In The U.S.A. sessions began in mid-January 1982 as part of Bruce and The E Street Band’s work at The Hit Factory on the Gary US Bonds' On The Line album. The Born In The U.S.A. sessions merely flowed on from the Bonds sessions. However Springsteen alternated his own sessions between The Power Station and the nearby Hit Factory over the course of the next few months.

It appears Springsteen had what might best be described as three different batches of songs ready to record in January and February 1982 – firstly the group of stark story songs he recorded as solo demos in early January (the Nebraska material), secondly a group of soul-influenced songs he brought along for possible use on the US Bonds' album and… thirdly, a group of rock-orientated songs. However Springsteen was not satisfied with the way many of the Nebraska demo songs sounded with E Street Band backing and by early April he began actively exploring the possibility of releasing some of these solo demos as a solo album. The decision in May to proceed with the solo album appears to have put the band sessions on hold – for what turned out to be nearly a year.

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1. BORN IN THE U.S.A. 4:36 BITUSA / 1984 single
2. COVER ME 3:22 BITUSA / 1984 single
3. DARLINGTON COUNTY 4:44 BITUSA
4. WORKING ON THE HIGHWAY 3:10 BITUSA
5. DOWNBOUND TRAIN 3:29 BITUSA
6. I'M ON FIRE 2:32 BITUSA / 1985 single
7. NO SURRENDER 3:57 BITUSA
8. BOBBY JEAN 3:41 BITUSA
9. I'M GOIN' DOWN 3:25 BITUSA / 1985 single
10. GLORY DAYS 4:11 BITUSA / 1985 single
11. DANCING IN THE DARK 3:57 BITUSA / 1984 single
12. MY HOMETOWN 4:27 BITUSA / 1985 single

Total Running Time: 46:56

Additional Information

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