|Born To Run|
Written at 7½ West End Court in Long Branch, New Jersey in early 1974, the song was Bruce Springsteen's last-ditch effort to make it big. The prior year, Springsteen had released two albums to critical acclaim but with little commercial success. The lyrics to the song are appropriately epic for his last-ditch, all-or-nothing shot at the stars, yet they remain rooted in the universal desperation of adolescence: Will you walk with me out on the wire, cause baby I'm just a scared and lonely rider...We gotta get out while we're young, 'cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run.'
Written in the first person, the song is a love letter to a girl named Wendy (Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend I wanna guard your dreams and visions...; I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight/in an everlasting kiss!), for whom the hot-rod-riding protagonist certainly has enough passion to love, but perhaps not the patience. However, Springsteen has noted that it has a much simpler core: getting out of Asbury Park.
In his 1996 book Songs, Springsteen relates that while the beginning of the song was written on guitar around the opening riff, the song's writing was finished on piano, the instrument that most of the Born to Run album was composed on.
In the period prior to the release of Born to Run Springsteen was becoming well known (especially in his native northeast) for his epic live shows. "Born to Run" joined his concert repertoire well before the release of the album, being performed in concert by May 1974 if not earlier. The first recording of the song was made by Allan Clarke of the British group The Hollies, although its release was delayed, only appearing after Springsteen's own now-famous version.