Springsteen wrote this about the inspirational power of rock music. It came to represent his friendship with members of his band.
This was the last song chosen for the album. E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt had to convince Springsteen to put it on. Van Zandt had left the band, but remained close to Springsteen and would eventually play with him again.
The original title was "Brothers Under The Bridges."
Part of the chorus provided the title for Jean-Claude Van Damme's first movie, No Retreat, No Surrender.
Springsteen often performed a slower version of this at concerts. The version on the box set Live 1975-1985 is a slower, solo performance.
Taylor Swift scrawled a lyric from this song on her arm for a live show. She wrote: "We learned more from a three-minute record than we ever learned in school."