Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen


Distilling epic narratives into timeless anthems turned a young star into The Boss.

Bruce Springsteen envisioned his third album as a song cycle that starts at daybreak and ends at dawn, with the harmonica in “Thunder Road” acting as reveille, and with “Jungleland” at the end bringing the curtain down. In between, there’s plenty of drama, with Springsteen’s vivid characters getting into trouble down dark alleys, where they fight for freedom (or, at least, redemption).

“I always try to speak to my times in the way that I best could.”

Bruce Springsteen

His first two albums had featured epic tales populated with wild characters. But with Born to Run, he finally cracked the code on how to tighten those stories, making them easier to absorb. Springsteen would later pinpoint the title track as the moment he learned to successfully combine power and emotion—lyrically and musically—in a shorter form, while still delivering the same impact. Built like a grittier, more fantastical version of Phil Spector’s infamous Wall of Sound, Born to Run manages to feel at once exhilarating, heartbreaking, thoughtful, and tragic—the defining moment for Springsteen as a performer and as a songwriter.