This song is about Springsteen's experiences growing up in Freehold, New Jersey, his hometown. Bruce doesn't have many nice things to say about Freehold, and would play another scathing song about his hometown called "Freehold" on his 1999 tour.
The original title was "Your Hometown." Recorded in February 1983, it wasn't released as a single until December 1985.
The lyrics are a bleak portrait of life for the working class in the Reagan era, as many small towns fell apart. It helped earn Springsteen the reputation as a voice for the common man.
Springsteen describes the closing of a factory in this song ("They're closing down the textile mill..."). In 1985, the year after the song was released, the 3M company closed their factory in Freehold, bringing this verse to stark reality.
Springsteen played a benefit show for the affected workers on January 19, 1986 at the Stone Pony, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Introducing this song, he said: "The marriage between a community and a company is a special thing that involves a special trust. What do you do after ten years or 20 years, you wake up in the morning and see your livelihood sailing away from you, leaving you standing on the dock? What happens when the jobs go away and the people remain? What goes unmeasured is the price that unemployment inflicts on people's families, on their marriages, on the single mothers out there trying to raise their kids on their own. The 3M company: it's their money, it's their plant. But it's the 3M workers' jobs. I'm here to say that I think that after 25 years of service from a community, there is a debt owed to the 3M workers and to my hometown."
Springsteen often confabulates the incidents he describes in his songs, but when he sings about the "two cars at a light on a Saturday night" in the second verse, it refers to a real incident he witnessed in 1965, when racial tensions were running high.
The UK single was backed with "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," which boosted sales significantly.
This was the last track on Born In The U.S.A., one of the most successful albums ever, selling over 18 million copies. It was the last of seven US Top 10 singles from the album.
Peculiarblend from Mumbai, IndiaOne of the best songs for all the working class heroes.
Pushpendra Pandya Vasai, India
Splat from Williamsville, DeI cry every time I hear this song (including right now as I type this). A poignant and somber way to end an outstanding, upbeat and lively album.
Marty from Milwaukee, WiI always thought that this song is about that no matter what happens in your hometown it will always be your hometown and you can't forget that.
Tom from Washington, DcAnnabelle - the song isn't biographical. He mentions his wife in the song, and she's not Juliane or Patty.
Cody from Windber, PaFor Lisa in Freehold Boro, New Jersey, You are correct, Bruce does not have any children with his ex Julianne Phillips, Their marriage did not last because Bruce Wanted kids with her and she didn't. Since she was a model and an actress she was not willing to harm her body she said.
Lisa from Freehold Boro, Nj- Steve, Chino Hills, CA Boy did you hit the nail on the head. I live in Freehold boro and even with everything that might be wrong, maybe about every small town across this country. I can still say i love this town and am resigned to the fact that I'll probably die here. Thats not such a bad thing tho. I've been too many places in my life, if it was so bad guess i wouldnt be here
Lisa from Freehold Boro, Nj"This song is about Springsteen's experiences growing up in Freehold, New Jersey, his hometown. Bruce doesn't have many nice things to say about Freehold"
Then why is it he refers to Freehold Boro so often in so many of his songs and why does he still spend time here? And for someone that doesnt like the town he came from why did he take the time to donate a fire truck called "Born to Run" What Bruce is talking about in this song is not so much the town as the "Times" he was growing up in. Being almost 10 years younger then him I can still relate to this song, Ya see it was'nt just Freehold he was singing about....If you don't understand that you don't know Bruce or his songs
Annabelle from Eugene, Or"I'm 35, we've got a boy of our own now.". This is a little off, since Bruce didn't have his first child, a son whom he named Evan James, until 7/25/1990. By this time, he was almost 41, and married to his second wife, Patty Scialfa. As far as I know, Bruce and his first wife, American model and actress Julianne Phillips, didn't have any children together.
Annabelle from Eugene, Or"I'm 35, we've got a boy of our own now.". This is a little off, since Bruce didn't have his first child, a son whom he named Evan James, until 7/25/1990.
Kaitlin from Toronto, OnIn this song, Bruce refers to his wife as being named Kate...i'd like to think he was talking about me...lmao
Gene from San Diego, CaBrilliant song. When I hear it, I think of Kensington in San Diego. Kensington is a town in San Diego with all these unique shops. About a year before we moved away, a Starbucks opened up and forced a local coffee shop out of business.
Tony from Toledo, OhI was starting grade school in 1965. And there was also racial tension in North Toledo-like whose taking over the Wilson Park swimming pool. And my parents had us baptized Catholics so we did not have to go to the rough Spring School off of Stickney. but in the 70s' I delivered the newspaper on my bike on Stickney Ave-which someone told me in college that the Toledo Police are afraid to go down after night. I keep on telling myself I will leave Toledo, a failed factory town, too. It just never works. Both my dad and my former father in law's plants shut down. A factory I worked at shut down. A factory some of my junior high school former friends workat at closed down! Ol'Bruce knows about working class problems!
David from South Sf, CaThe town he is given by his father's generation is thriving and full of promise.
The town he is giving his son is depressed and hopeless.
He's challenging America to do better.
Jose from Freehold Boro, NjI live in Freehold boro, racial tensions are once again surfacing. This place is over run with Mexicans. There are probably as many Mexicans here as there are Americans. People are leaving, schools are over worked with ESL classes. Property taxes are killing us. I am going to tell my son soon to take a good look around this was your home town and we aint coming back.
T. Michels from Venlo, NetherlandsThis is a beautiful song, surely because of the lyrics and the subject. You olso very clearly hear the need to get away, break away, but still staying there, cause you can't let go. And olso raise your kids the same as your dad did, despite the fact that the town isn't what is was any more.
Scott from Columbus, OhAnother great example why "The Boss" is a master craftsman in his field. His seemingly simplistic lyrics take on a much greater form as he describes growing up in Anywhere,US and the complications of that while dealing with the insecurities and wonder of a child. Maybe I read too far into the lyrics, but is that not what great songs are made for?
Bruce is certainly one of my all time fav song writers.
Justin from Chicago, IlWent to a Boss concert in 2002 two days after his 53rd birthday...about 20 rows back in general admission, one of most entertaining concerts I have ever been to. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam appeared on stage and accompanbied Bruce on this tune, one of the coolest music moments I have ever seen
Edward from Hoevelaken, NetherlandsIn 2001 I had a severe heart-attack. During the trip to the hospital, I had an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life. All over sudden the enormous pain disappeared and I felt someone was lifting me up. There was no tunnel or bright lights or whatsoever, but I knew I just died. It was very peacefull, the man who lifted me up, looked at me and said Welcome home. Right at that moment I heard the male nurse in the ambulance say "He's back". Fortunately I survived, but still when I hear Bruce sing "take a good look around, this is your hometown" my thoughts go back to that particular day and I cry inside.
Alphonse Dattolo from Haledon, NjI went to school with bruce and we both were graduated from freehold regional high school june 19,1967. This is one of my favorite Bruce songs because it brings back many memories of my hometown Freehold, New Jersey!
Kyle from Freehold, NjI live in Bruce's "hometown". Freehold, NJ. My hometown is one of my favorite springsteen songs because i too like the reference to the character driving around his son. Its sad to say but even though the song was written many years ago. The conflicts thatare present in the song still exist in Freehold.
Marcelo from Madrid, SpainThis song was used in Michael Moore's first film "Roger & me", a film about Moore's hometown (Flint, Michigan) and its problems with the closing of some General Motors plants and unemployment. Chelo, Madrid
Steve from Chino Hills, CaThis is one of Bruce's most brilliant songs. The most important parts of the song are the first and last verse. The main character foundly recalls being 8 years old, sitting on his father's lap driving in a big old Buick proudly stating "This is your hometown." In the last verse, after spelling out the racial and economic problems with the town, the now 35 year old character discusses the concept of "getting out" of this town with his wife. He then takes his boy, sits up behind the wheel and says "Son take a good look around, this is your home town." In one fell swoop Bruce pays tribute to the circle of life and acknoledges that despite all the problems with this town, they're staying. Maybe they have too much history in the town, maybe they are hopelessly sentimental. Despite all the problems they haven't decided to flee, and they are resigned to their fate.