‘Born to Run’ and the Decline of the American Dream

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of its release, Joshua Zeitz, writing for The Atlantic, reflects on Bruce Springsteen’s breakthrough Born to Run in the context of the era in which it was released:

But the story of the ‘70s is much more complicated. Far from being an era of complacency and narcissism, the decade gave rise to social, political, and cultural debates that built on and even surpassed the era of Kennedy and King. Some issues, like civil rights, the sexual revolution, and Vietnam, belonged as much to the ‘70s as to the ‘60s. Others, like feminism, abortion, gay rights, busing, the tax revolt, and Christian Right politics, seemed altogether new.

Considered in this context, Bruce Springsteen’s phenomenal breakthrough in 1975 can only be understood against a backdrop of profound dislocation and urgent activism, particularly in the working-class communities that absorbed so many of the decade’s economic and cultural shocks.

See also: Rolling Stone’s heretofore unreleased transcript of a 2005 interview with Springsteen on the making of Born to Run. (via Shawn King from The Loop)