Born In The U.S.A.

Album: Born In The U.S.A. (1984)
Charted: 5 9
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  • Born down in a dead man's town
    The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
    End up like a dog that's been beat too much
    'Til you spend half your life just to cover it up now

    Born in the USA
    I was born in the USA
    I was born in the USA
    Born in the USA now

    Got in a little hometown jam
    So they put a rifle in my hands
    Sent me off to a foreign land
    To go and kill the yellow man

    Born in the USA
    I was born in the USA
    I was born in the USA
    I was born in the USA

    Come back home to the refinery
    Hiring man said, "Son if it was up to me"
    Went down to see my VA man
    He said, "Son, don't you understand now?"
    (No, no)
    (No, no, no)

    I had a brother at Khe Sanh
    Fighting off all the Viet Cong
    They're still there, he's all gone

    He had a woman he loved in Saigon
    I got a picture of him in her arms now

    Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
    Out by the gas fires of the refinery
    I'm ten years burning down the road
    Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

    Born in the USA
    I was born in the USA now
    Born in the USA
    I'm a long gone Daddy in the USA now
    Born in the USA
    Born in the USA
    Born in the USA
    I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the USA now

    (Oh, no)
    (Oh, no, no, no)
    (Oh, no, no)
    (Oh, no, no, no)
    (Oh, no, no)
    Woo Writer/s: Bruce Springsteen
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 78

  • Rattlin BonesWe lost the war of 1812. Soundly.
  • Maxime from Canada« Vietnam was the first war the US didn't win »
    I mean, yes, if you don’t count:
    - Red Cloud War against the Sioux
    - Russian Civil War against the Bolcheviks
    - Korean War against communists
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaWow; I, like most, thoght it was meant to be a patriotic+celebratory song!
    *shivers* on reading the lyrics, especially the verses
  • Patricia Mccall from 43229Born in the USA should be sang everyday. Its a very true and good song. We the people live it.
  • Brian from Ny"...most misinterpreted songs ever." "Most people thought it was a patriotic song about American pride". Ridiculous. Only mom and dad types who only listen to the main chorus would think it was a patriotic song. You don't have to be a deep, soul-wrenching person to understand the lyrics. I think it's obvious to most listeners. Please. Conversely, it's also not "anti-American". It's brings light to an overlooked facet of the Vietnam war in particular - the Country was torn as to being involved or not, so many disgusting people chose not to rally around or support the soldiers returning home.
  • Michael E Brown from CaliforniaGeorge from Vancouver, Canada sez:
    "Springsteen has won zero Grammy's. Never even had a #1 hit -- I can't believe "Reflex" beat out "Born in the USA"! :P" While it's true that he never had a single top the Billboard chart, he's had ten albums top the Billboard album chart. And he's actually won twenty Grammys. Starting to wonder if your comment was intended seriously.
  • Steven Larusso from HoustonAlways thought this song was repetitious. Never liked it.
  • Phil from EarthBruce was/is astute enough to know full well that Born In the USA was going to be a huge hit and used as a rallying cry for the USA First types. To imagine that in the sabre rattling, ultra jingoistic Reagan years a song such as Born in the USA wouldn't be used as a conservative theme song is to put it very mildly..bulls--t.
    He knew and protests of his to the contrary can't be taken seriously. I like Springsteen enough but he isn't fooling too many people with denials.
  • Michael from Madison I can't believe a DRAFT DODGER wrote a song about coming home from Vietnam when he didn't even go. Bruce Springsteen dosen't deserve this to be a no.1 song this is disgusting and I hope he sees this.
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaSpringsteen has won zero Grammy's. Never even had a #1 hit -- I can't believe "Reflex" beat out "Born in the USA"! :P
  • Camille from Toronto, OhNo bridge in the middle of the song makes it sound more anthem-like. That, along with the accompanying album cover of Bruce's backside in jeans in front of a U.S. flag confused people into thinking this was an upbeat song. Yet, to dissent, as has been mentioned in the comments, is a right we have in this country. So an different twist on the patriotic theme.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhOk, I gotta agree with this: Americans at their core are dissenters. It is in their blood, it's an inherited gene. Our forefathers shot, stabbed, and killed to get away from their government. Dissention is just as patriotic as saluting the flag. If you're waving your silly flags thinking that only flag wavers are patriotic, you are the least patriotic of all. It's the American way to be dissatisfied with being slaves to any one way of thinking. That is the number 1 reason why this song IS patriotic. American patriotism is very unique this way.
  • Jules from UsaPlease add the movie -The Rescue- to the history here. They used the song and a T-shirt of Springsteen as critical part of the movie's resolution.
  • Larry from ClevelandThe USA is more than the government, it is the people. And while the veterans returning from Viet Nam were not given the heroes welcome, it was not everyone that treated them that way. Ironically, the people that treated them the worst were the people who protested the war.
    But if you actually read the lyrics, they talk about a guy who is on the wrong side of the law, forced to go, and when he comes back is not handed everything on a silver platter. Bottom line is that no one is entitled, and we shouldn't put the US down because you didn't get a handout. I personally support all that our armed forces do for us, and think that only now are we starting as a whole to appreciate it. But most veterans I talk to don't want handouts, just respect. This song puts all of us down because some chose to treat the returning vets badly. Another example of "here's what I see, somebody should do something about it". Why is it always" somebody " should?
  • Markantney from BiloxeJun 2015,

    Larry you're correct in asking why they play that song (considering the lyrical content) but exactly how is the song putting the Country Down?

    It's only holding it/US up to a Mirror; now if the reflection isn't something you like,...not seeing how BITUSA is to blame?

    I don't have the lyrics in front of me but I don't recall them calling Us/Americans/Government Bad Names, just the story of dudes called to serve under less than favorable circumstances and when they got back, they weren't well received back home.

  • Jarvis from London, UkThose of you complaining about the lyrics - what is worse, sending 58,000 men to die in a totally futile war and not making proper provision for the millions who returned home, or writing a song complaining about it? And why is it more patriotic to ignore or accept the government's behaviour?
  • Larry from ClevelandI never understand why every city that puts on a fireworks show on the Fourth of July plays this song. Let's celebrate our most patriotic holiday with a song that puts our country down. Shows the mentality of most Springsteen fans.
  • Markantney from Biloxi, MsJuly 2014,

    Actually BITUSA is a Patriotic Song; just not a Positive One.

    Compare it to today's charitable foundation commercials you/we see on the Iraq Vets, showing you their injuries (which was a direct result of Combat).

    This (GREAT) song is no different, except it's about the "Nam" Vets but,...our Country just didn't embrace them or their sacrifices the same.

    I for one understood what he meant the (micro) second I saw the video.

    And someone mentioned it earlier but that line, "You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
    Till you spend half your life just covering up." tells you it's not a positive song and it's the first verse. BTW, love that line.

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 4th 1984, Columbia Records released Bruce Springsteen's sixth studio album, "Born In The U.S.A."...
    And on July 1st it peaked at #1 (for 7 non-consecutive weeks) on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    Seven tracks from the album made Billboard's Hot Top 100 Singles chart; "Dancing in the Dark" (#2), "Cover Me" (#7), "Born in the U.S.A." (#9), "I'm on Fire" (#6), "Glory Days" (#5), "I'm Goin' Down" (#9), and "My Hometown" (#6)...
    The album also reached #1 in Australia, Canada, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, and West Germany.
  • Randy from Houghton Lake, MiThe only lyrics most people hear are the chorus BORN IN THE USA. This will always be a misunderstood song.
  • John from Auckland, -This song was parodied brilliantly by English comedy duo Mel Smith & Griff Rhys Jones, in their 1984 TV show, Alas Smith & Jones. It was Griff dressed in Springsteen like clothing, singing 'Lost in the USA". Unfortunately, no copy is yet available on YouTube.
  • Ulysses from Dorrigo, AustraliaTop Gear had it on the Vietnam Special and like 20 different Vietnams came running down the street.
    I almost died laughing.
    So damn funny!
  • Ulysses from Dorrigo, AustraliaGreatest American song ever!
    Perfect, just gold.
    Best Voice ever.
  • Steve from Beechmont, KyTo Ken, in Lousville......
    When the News does "Walkin'" live, they acknowledge that they were not in Viet Nam but they had friends who were. The song is for them, the Vets, as are the others you cited. Not being there does not mean they can't do songs for and about the ones who were.
  • Cory Stoczynski from Lancaster, NyThe Sesame Street Version Of The Song
    Teaches About The Life And The Animals Of The Farm
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnThis is a great message song. Springsteen was brave to put it out in the midst of the rah-rah Reagan era. ...But couldn't he have come up with a "middle 8," as they used to say? A little secondary part of the song just to break up the monotony? It is the same beat and melody from beginning to end.
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaThis song is about how The US government screwed the Vietnam Vets when they came back from the war. No jobs waiting for them,shotty vet facilities,being called "baby killers' when they came back..the list goes on..I love this song and it's honesty..
  • Tony from South Philly, PaAs a tribute to my New Jersyite...Bruce you nailed it!!!!
  • Paul from San Angelo, TxAmericans at their core are dissenters. It is in their blood, it's an inherited gene. Our forefathers shot, stabbed, and killed to get away from their government. Dissention is just as patriotic as saluting the flag. If you're waving your silly flags thinking that only flag wavers are patriotic, you are the least patriotic of all. It's the American way to be dissatisfied with being slaves to any one way of thinking. That is the number 1 reason why this song IS patriotic. American patriotism is very unique this way.
  • Brian from Kc, MoI think the shame of this song comes from the fact that the way it's interpreted gets critiscism--I LOVE Springsteen's music-but you write a song and give it away and what it turns into isn't yours anymore-the other version paints a better picture of what he wanted it to--but this one has a patriotic feel to it (the drive of the beat)-like it or not--I think it says somethng more though--something about inheriting the life of our folks and owning it--even if it isn't the dream they had for us...just a thought
  • Tessa from Washingtonville, PaMe and my father always sing along to this song in the car. Great song!
  • James from Fort Worth, GaKhe Sanh is the district capital of Hướng Hoá District, Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam, located 63 km west of Đông Hà.. Khe Sanh Combat Base was a United States Marine Corps outpost in South Vietnam.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrWhere's Khe Sahn? Is that a part of Asia? The Middle East?
  • G from Potomac, MdTalk about misinterpretation, Reagan asked Bruce if he could use this in his reelection campaign!!
  • N.i. from Baltimore, MdMany songs have been misinterpreted, but what makes this one stand out is that it isn't subtle. The song's critical tone should have been obvious to everyone. Take the line "Sent me off to a foreign land, to go and kill the yellow man." What, did people actually think the point was, "Yippee, I killed Asian people"? Just goes to show that lots of people don't pay attention to lyrics.
  • Joshua from La Crosse, WiConsidering how Springsteen closes the song with the out-of-place line "I'm a cool rockin' daddy in the USA", it's not so hard to understand why this song has been misinterpreted so much over the years.
  • Colin from Guelph, Onawesome song, with true lyrics about war. one of the best all time, i'd say :)
  • Gene from San Diego, CaThis song was used in 2005 to torture prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Played it all night while the prisoners were forced to listen to it. Holds the honest glory of the American patriot. Fighting and being injured for the country you love, then coming home and getting shoved in a blue-collar job.
  • Alexis from San Francisco, CaI'm 17 and had to pick a song of my choice that protests a war. I didn't even know that this song was a protest song and like many others thought that it was a patriotic one. People suck and America sucks and I didn't realize that until I started this project. Thanks Bruce.
  • Steve from Arnol, MdI don't understand the whole Springsteen phenomenon, least of all this song.

    The whole thing is built on a riff - and not even a good riff, but a boring one. There is no melody to speak of. The lyrics are depressing as well as politically and historically obtuse.

    And then there's Springsteen's voice, or shall I say lack of it.

    As Seinfeld would say, "....what's with Bruce Springsteen?!"
  • Soutiman from Mumbai, IndiaQuite a revelation to know that the song isn't patriotic. Well I never concentrated much on the lyrics of the song in first place. The chorus line is catchy.
  • Musicmama from New York, NyThis is my second-favorite song about war/peace. ("Imagine" by John Lennon is first.)It's one of the most emotionally complex songs in all of rock'n'roll: It deftly weaves together grief, anger, sorrow and wistfulness. I think that the question of whether or not it or the song is patriotic or not (I think both are.)is beside the point. If I had to pick one word, it would be "elegiac." Bruce is really singing about loss. However, it's not about non-victory in battle; rather, it deals with the loss of honor and dignity. (To Chris from Gloucester, England: NOBODY wins a war. All any military confrontation has ever done is to set the stage for more of the same: hate and carnage and more hate and more carnage.) I can easily imagine song this in "The Spoon River Anthology." If you haven't read it, or "The New Spoon River Anthology," check them out: They contain the best monologes in the English language that weren't written by Shakespeare.
  • Max from Laconia, NhBruce turned down 12 million because he didn't want this song to be on a commercial? 'Atta boy, Brucey! This song is sweetness
  • Bob from Windsor, CtThe TRUTH is that Bruce conceived, & began writing "Born in the U.S.A." in 1975; while He was about to do a concert in Connecticut. I was Chief of Concert Security, a Vietnam Veteran ("long gone Daddy in the U.S.A."), & We were having a conversation: Bruce asked Me why I was wearing a military "U.S." marked item: I said "cause I was born in the U.S.A.",: We began talking about Vietnam Veterans, & the War. I asked Bruce if He could write a song for Vietnam Veterans; that's where it began, & where the Title came from. Bruce also conceived "Dancing in the Dark" ("this Gun is for Hire", "You can't start a Fire without a Spark") at that time: Summer of 1975 in Connecticut. Annie L. was there taking photos for Rolling Stone. Willie Nelson was there, too. I'm not taking credit for anything: just inspiration: Bruce has the Gift of astute observation, contemplation, composition, melody, & presentation! BOB K. in Connecticut
  • Jazzz from FrankfurtI was actually born in the States but came to Germany when I was still a baby. My Mom never spoke English at home, so I didn`t learn English until I was 10 and in secondary school. But she must have translated the chorus to me, cause I remember that as a 4yr old, I would sing along frantically. I don´t know if patriotism is inborn, but even then, being the toddler I was, I sure felt proud of being born in a country I wouldn´t be visiting for another 12 yrs or so...The song still rocks me, although reading the lyrics now is quite disillusioning...
  • Matthew from Milford, MaThis song was part of my "Voices of Vietnam" project during my sophomore year, along with others like "War" and "Masters of War".
  • Sam from Portsmouth, VaTim, I salute you. Also this song is pretty good. I like how people misunderstand it.
  • Tim from Philadelphia, PaAnd uhh here is some of your "over-patriotism"...America is always going to be the greatest country in the world and we can destroy any one in a fight...toughest people in the world are here in America...that's why we play football over soccer...and last time I checked, England and Canada always go to us for help so all you English/Canadians talking trash on America...just don't come to us for help next time you need it...Oh and uhh World War I and II, I believe the Americans were the main reason the allies won those wars.
  • Tim from Philadelphia, PaBy the way that arguement about America not winning all their wars...well America may not have won all their wars but they sure as heck achieved their objective.
  • Tim from Philadelphia, PaThis song is amazing and it attracted me to become a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen.
  • Dave from San Jose, Cathe song can certainly be both patriotic and bitter. The lyrics are bitter as arsenic, but the fact that Bruce is angry at what happened to american soldiers, how they were treated by our government and by their fellow citizens, is a sign of a high-minded patriotism.
  • Andrew from Dartmouth, Maevery war the U.S has entered was a stalemate....last time i checked World War I and World War II and the American Revolutionary War were not stalemates
  • Dennis from Anchorage, AkThe song IS patriotic. It's about the fact that the treatment of the soldiers when they came back was UN-patriotic. They had given their all and deserved better. You can protest and be patriotic at the same time.
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnNo, it's definitely not a patriotic song. Reagan was clueless about a lot of stuff. It's a song of emotional outpouring. What psychologists call "catharsis." Like wailing in grief at a funeral. Bruce created a song that let people put their arms around the entire Vietnam experience and weep out of love for those who endured it, veterans, families, protesters, even the smug people who spent 15 years just pushing it all away and refusing to deal with it. It's not "patriotic" and it's not "anti-American."
  • John from Kirkland, WaRonald Reagen also praised Bruce for this "patriotic" song - Bruce said - "I don't think he (Regan) is listing.
  • Sam from Provo, Uta lot of americans are overpatriotic. i am patriotic and i love our country( so you people wont accuse me of being a "commie.") but anyway great protest song, compares with ohio by neal young and blowing in the wind by bob dylan. awesome song
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnHow can all of you people talk about this song in terms of it being "anti-American"? It's not anti-American. It's about the frustration of the Vietnam War. It's about the destruction and misery that a confusing war brought onto well-meaning people and patriotic Americans. In the end, their efforts amounted to nothing. ("They're still there, he's all gone," he sings about his dead brother. People gave their lives and spirits for something that left them ruined and cynical. And then the country turned its back on them. This is a song that sort of puts its arms around the people who suffered in the name of the USA. It's a song that asks us to recognize the pain stand shoulder to shoulder with them and acknowledge what they did in our name--right or wrong. But this is not an anti-American song.
  • Heather from Newark, OhWell excuse us Americans for our "over patriotism", Steve in Markham, Canada. Why should we be ashamed to be proud of our country? Yes, the U.S. makes mistakes. Doesn't your country? If Canada needed help, the U.S. would help in a second. It seems that everyone is against us until they need our help.
  • Iain from England, United StatesSpringsteen is so angry when he sings this song, he shouts more than he sings. His voice seems angry and bitter starting and ending with his hopelessness.
  • Pat from Las Vegas, Nv"Born in the USA" isn't an anti-American song. What it's against is two things: the way the Vietnam war was conducted (badly--Dubya needs to read some history books fast, and think about what happened), and the way vets were treated when they came back home. I'm a Vietnam-era vet. I got lucky and didn't get shipped over there, but I remember how the public treated us at the time, and the disillusionment of the Vietnam vets coming back home.
  • Miles from Vancouver, CanadaForget that this an anti-America song. It's a groovy, well-written tune, just like "Every Breath You Take."
  • Kevin from Sandy, Utit's been said that the BOSS got denied from serving in the military during vietnam due to medical reasons.
  • Matt from Mokena, IlI think Dan from Sydney is confused...listen to the song, there is no way you can say this is patriotic
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhBravo Bruce, the instant you allow your music to be used by companies for ads, you lose credibility as an artist. Glad to see The Boss didn't tarnish his reputataion. And while on the subject wasn't the goal of the Vietnam War the same as the Korean War? Push back the commies, to protect the Democratic nations, not to liberate the Communist north? Why did no one protest that war? Becuase we didn't lose?
  • Steve from Markham, CanadaDefintely the most misunderstood song that I can remember. To this day, many people think this is a patriotic song and living in Canada, many Canadians think this is the usual American over-patriotism. I believe this is because of the way he sings the chorus and has his fist pumping during the video and his concerts. Too bad for those idiots. This is a great song.
  • Todd from Sacramento, CaGood lord, what was the GOP thinking?! You would think that SOMEONE that was working for the '84 Reagan campaign would actually listen to the song. Good for Bruce though.....there probably isn't anything more liberating than telling the leader of the free world "no, you can't use my song to drive up interest rates and increase the homeless rate." lol
  • James from Bridgeport, CtChris from england, we have not been brainwashed that much. Even going back to the beginings of our country only 3 american wars have ended in stalemates or defeats. The majority were still victories. War for independence was a US victory, 1812 was a stalemate (but we owned at New Orleans afterwards), Mexican war was complete domination (we seized about half their country), Civil War was a union victory in that the union was preserved, we dominated the spanish american war (seized philipines, guam, puerto rico, and held cuba breifly), WW1 was a US victory, so was WW2, Korea we accomplished our goals but neither side decisively drove out the other so that will count as a stalemate, vietnam we lost, gulf war we completely dominated (ruined that whole republican guard in 3 days), and gulf war 2 is still yet to be decided. Thats 7-2-1 and one undecided. Not too shabby.
    Not "practically every war the U.S. has ever been in has ended in a stalemate." We've had 7 decisive victories, unless of course you consider us saving you guys in Britain during WW2 just another "stalemate." The US military still has reason to be proud of its history. Nam has been our only large blemish so far.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesThis song is part of what makes me keep dollar bills in my car and my window rolled down at freeway entrances and intersections.
  • Eric from Cumberland, RiRonald Reagan used this song for his Campaign cause he thought that the "Born in the U.S.A." part mean the rest of it was patriotic. So much for that.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThis is considered as part of the early 80's "Vietnam triology", including Huey Lewis and the News' "Walking On A Thin Line" and Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon". Neither Springsteen, Lewis or Joel served in the military, much less in Vietnam.
  • Madeline from Melbourne, AustraliaI always thought he was really patriotic bout America. Oh well i like this song, at least the chorus
  • John from Island Park, NyThe United States of America won its freedom when the British Army was forced to surrender at Yorktown on October, 18th 1781. This conflict was necessary to free the people of America from the tyranny of England. Most wars are not justified, and are simply the failure of leaders to find a peaceful resolution to conflict. Bruce Springsteen is a man who understands that fact and has dedicated his life, as well as his music to glorifying peace, and to showing Americans (and all) what is wrong with war. What makes America great is that we are free...and that is something to be celebrated. But just as America has a lot to celebrate and be proud of, we also have many things to be ashamed of...and Bruce Springsteen is a great American for having the courage to give equal voice to the good and bad. What I love about this song is that it somehow finds a way to do both of those things with lyrics and music.
  • Fred from Abilene, TxIt's the music of the song that makes it sound so much like an "anthem." Springsteen has a unique gift of mixing upbeat and downbeat elements together. I love the hard-hitting opening lyrics--shouted out with almost gleeful defiance: "Born down in a dead man's town/ The first kick I took was when I hit the ground/ End up like a dog that's been beat too much/ Till you spend half your life just a coverin' up." That describes a lot of people from my small hometown.
  • Steve from Woodbridge, VaBruce was born in Freehold, New Jersey.

    He was indeed perturbed by attempts by Reagan and others on the song to use the song for political purposes. It's astounding, actually, how the song could possibly be interpreted as a patriotic anthem. The song's actual message isn't at all subtle or cryptic; you almost have to purposefully avoid listenig to anything but the chorus to take it as a declaration of American pride.
  • Trevor from Boring, OrI think it's less about the Vietnam war and more about how the working man gets shafted in the United States of America. Who does the working? Who does the fighting? Most importantly: who does the dying?
  • Tyler from Hamilton, CanadaIf only the majority of people understood this wasn't a flag waving patriotic song. If people knew what the song meant, it more than likely wouldn't be considered the "rock anthem" it is today.

    Also, one of the very few times Springsteen has spoke out in public, promptly calling the press conference to say that he had been miss quoted by Regan
  • Kelly from Farmington , MiRonald Regan mistakenly chose Born In The USA as the theme song for his presidential re-election campaign (1984). It's rumored that Springsteen was furious when he found out...
  • Erik from Davis, CaWhat's really great about this song is that it's honest.
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