Every Monday for the next two months we’ll be posting an exclusive excerpt from my eBook Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums, which analyzes eight of Springsteen’s most groundbreaking albums and then argues which one should be considered “the greatest.” This week, a selection from the chapter on Born to Run.


Backstreets at 6 1/2 minutes and Jungleland at 9 1/2 are impressive in length, certainly, but anybody can record a long song just ask Iron Butterfly. In this case, its their scope that makes them such crucial centerpieces of Born To Run.


Backstreets, which again owes much to Bittans theatrical piano parts, is practically suffused with the sweat and promise of a soft infested summer. Its heroes (friends? more than friends?) are allies against an oppressive world, until theyre not and all the pain, hatred and betrayal that youth can hold is captured in Springsteens howling groan and frantic guitar. Its telling of Springsteens outlook at the time that the worst possible fate the narrator can imagine is to find out youre just like all the rest.


And with Jungleland, Springsteen magnifies the sprawling nature of Backstreets even further, producing a cross between a tragic epic poem and a sad, astonishing aria. In doing so, he unleashes some of the most striking tableaus ever concocted by a rock artist: The image of a barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge, drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain, a line thats more literary than lyrical, is beautiful in its simplicity and succinctness its practically an entire novel in 17 words.


Jungleland is full of those moments, with its poets who dont write and doomed rats who cant even manage to die, and all the while the song bucks and rolls among mournful violins, Springsteens rock-operatic guitar and Clemons meticulous, tender 2 1/2-minute sax solo. That Springsteen even attempted it all seems audacious, even today. That he succeeded is actually kind of miraculous.


You can download Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums at Amazon or Amazon UK. And if you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry: You can download free Kindle software here.


Every Monday for the next two months we’ll be posting an exclusive excerpt from my eBook Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums, which analyzes eight of Springsteen’s most groundbreaking albums and then argues which one should be considered “the greatest.” This week, a selection from the chapter on Born to Run.


Backstreets at 6 1/2 minutes and Jungleland at 9 1/2 are impressive in length, certainly, but anybody can record a long song just ask Iron Butterfly. In this case, its their scope that makes them such crucial centerpieces of Born To Run.


Backstreets, which again owes much to Bittans theatrical piano parts, is practically suffused with the sweat and promise of a soft infested summer. Its heroes (friends? more than friends?) are allies against an oppressive world, until theyre not and all the pain, hatred and betrayal that youth can hold is captured in Springsteens howling groan and frantic guitar. Its telling of Springsteens outlook at the time that the worst possible fate the narrator can imagine is to find out youre just like all the rest.


And with Jungleland, Springsteen magnifies the sprawling nature of Backstreets even further, producing a cross between a tragic epic poem and a sad, astonishing aria. In doing so, he unleashes some of the most striking tableaus ever concocted by a rock artist: The image of a barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge, drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain, a line thats more literary than lyrical, is beautiful in its simplicity and succinctness its practically an entire novel in 17 words.


Jungleland is full of those moments, with its poets who dont write and doomed rats who cant even manage to die, and all the while the song bucks and rolls among mournful violins, Springsteens rock-operatic guitar and Clemons meticulous, tender 2 1/2-minute sax solo. That Springsteen even attempted it all seems audacious, even today. That he succeeded is actually kind of miraculous.


You can download Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums at Amazon or Amazon UK. And if you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry: You can download free Kindle software here.