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The title came from a 1965 Chuck Berry song of the same name. Springsteen admired Berry's songwriting and his ability to relate to an audience.
This could be about feeling powerless: "Blow away the dreams that tear you apart, blow away the dreams that break your heart, blow away the dreams that leave you nothing but lost and broken hearted." When he says he believes in a Promised Land he's almost being sarcastic. Oftentimes reality is different than dreams. (thanks, Mayy - Downingtown, PA)
Springsteen had the chorus written long before filling out the lyrics.
This was recorded relatively quickly. While most songs on Darkness On The Edge Of Town took 20 or more takes, this was done in 5.
Springsteen included this on his box set Live 1975-1985.
This was the third single off Darkness On The Edge Of Town
. It was a big change of pace from Springsteen's previous album, Born To Run
, which featured songs of hope like "Thunder Road
" and "She's The One." The theme for Darkness
was broken dreams.
U2's bono sang a few of the lyrics when they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2005. Springsteen inducted them. (thanks, Patrick - Statesville, NC)
According to Racing in the Street: The Bruce Springsteen Reader, this is "his song about an American workingman who has grown weary of living in a country that urges you to dream and then leaves 'you nothing but lost and brokenhearted.'"
Bruce performed this song live in front of the Federal Building in the downtown Westwood section of Los Angeles during a political rally. One of the issues at the time was Proposition 209, which sought the sharp reduction of affirmative-actions programs across the state. Bruce said he felt America should be a country where everyone could find "work that fulfills you, brings meaning and purpose to your life." He continued by saying "I believe that the Promised Land is still attainable, but we're not there yet. Let's stand together in defense of that Promised Land." (thanks, Mike - Johnstown, PA)
Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum
Dave explains how the video appropriated the meaning of "Runaway Train," and what he thought of getting parodied by Weird Al.
A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.
Did they really trade their guitarist to The Doobie Brothers? Are they named after something naughty? And what's up with the band name?