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DudeAsInCool

Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run (1975)

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#18 Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen (1975)

Bruce Springsteen spent everything he had -- patience, energy, studio time, the physical endurance of his E Street Band -- to ensure that his third album was a masterpiece. Springsteen's reputation as a perfectionist on record begins here: There are a dozen guitar overdubs on the title track alone. He was also spending money he didn't have. Engineer Jimmy Iovine had to hide the mounting recording bills from the Columbia paymasters. "The album became a monster," Springsteen told his biographer, Dave Marsh. "It just ate up everyone's life." But in making Born to Run, Springsteen was living out the central drama in the album's tenement-love operas ("Backstreets," "Jungleland") and gun-the-engine rock & roll ("Thunder Road," "Born to Run"): the fight to reconcile big dreams with crushing reality. He found it so hard to get on tape the sound in his head -- the Jersey-bar dynamite of his live gigs, Phil Spector's Wagnerian grandeur, the heartbreaking melodrama of Roy Orbison's hits -- that Springsteen nearly scrapped Born to Run for a straight-up concert album. But his make-or-break attention to detail -- including the iconic cover photo of Springsteen leaning onto saxman Clarence Clemons, a perfect metaphor for Springsteen's brotherly reliance on the E Street Band -- assured the integrity of Born to Run's success. In his determination to make a great album, Springsteen produced a timeless, inspiring record about the labors and glories of aspiring to greatness.

Total album sales: 6 million

Peak chart position: 3

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