A few weeks back, one of my followers on Twitter suggested a couple of songs for this week's fix, in recognition of the fact that July 4th, Independence Day, is just around the corner. While I'd be remiss to let July 1, Canada Day, pass without a mention (did I mention I went to a great Canada Day pool party yesterday?), Bruce hasn't written any great Canadiana classics to my knowledge, and so I'll focus on the 4th of July.
Bruce Springsteen tells a story about driving across the country in the late 70s and how he went looking for a book to read while in Phoenix, AZ. In a drug store he found a book by Ron Kovic called 'Born On The 4th of July". Later on that trip, while at a motel in Los Angeles, Bruce went for a swim in the motel pool, and while drying himself off with a towel, a guy in a wheel chair noticed the book Bruce had with him. The guy looked at Bruce and said "I wrote that book". That's how Bruce and Ron Kovic met. (Oliver Stone and Ron Kovic eventually adapted the book into a screenplay that became the movie 'Born On The 4th of July' starring Tom Cruise.)
Reading his book and getting to know Ron clearly influenced Bruce who began to think about what the Vietnam War meant in his life and his America. Out of those thoughts came two great songs.
Bruce recorded 'Born In The USA' in March or April of 1982, during what was nicknamed "the electric Nebraska" sessions. It was originally written and recorded during the 'Nebraska' sessions as an acoustic piece, and was one of a few songs that didn't make it onto 'Nebraska' which were being given a new life with a full band treatment. Here's "el Boss" with a solo acoustic performance on Spanish television in 1998.
A year or so after "the electric Nebraska" sessions, Bruce recorded several more songs in his home recording studio "Thrill Hill West" in Bruce's Los Angeles home. Bruce played all the instruments on these Jan/Feb 1983 recordings. Out of those sessions came another Ron Kovic inspired song 'Shut Out The Light'.
Happy Canada Day, Happy 4th of July, Happy Friday!