Bruce Springsteen was already a Platinum-selling artist who could fill nearly every arena in the land by 1980, but on this day in 1984 when he released "Born in the U.S.A." he was about to embark on the ride of his life! The album matched the pulse of America and within weeks, it was flying out of the record stores like McDonald's hamburgers! Eventually that album would sell over 15-million copies in America and dominate the radio, retail, and (relatively-new) video world from 1984 to 1986, becoming one of the defining statements of the 80's.
Driving the visibility and sales of this behemoth were seven hit singles, all of which reached inside the U.S. Top 10 on the Billboard chart. This feat tied the record that Michael Jackson had set back in 1982 to 1984 with his "Thriller" album, and a bar later reached by Janet Jackson on her "Rhythm Nation 1814" album. To date, these are the only three albums in chart history that have done this.
Here are those seven songs, in order of release with some conversation starters, just in case you're at a party in New Jersey and the Boss shows up!
1. "Dancing in the Dark" - Released May 3, 1984 This lead-off hitter came out one month before the album and the smooth, unusual for Bruce, synthesizer drive took this song all the way up to #2, selling a million. It's still the star's highest charting U.S. single recorded by him. Manfred Mann's cover of Springsteen's "Blinded by the light" managed to better that by hitting #1 in 1977.
2. "Cover Me" - Released July 31, 1984. Bruce had written this for disco queen Donna Summer, but changed his mind and gave her the song "Protection," which she was very happy to get. Meanwhile, the demo version of "Cover Me" was properly re-recorded and released as the second single from "Born in the U.S.A." The song sailed all the way up to #7
3. "Born in the U.S.A. - Released October 30, 1984. The title track of the album targeted our forgotten Vietnam Veterans and the difficulties they faced. Nevertheless, it was hijacked by many as a nationalistic anthem. The hard-hitting track got to #9 and highlighted an explosive Max Weinberg on drums.
4. "I'm on Fire" - Released February 6, 1985 In sound and style, this song is about as diametrically opposite the previous single as Bruce could get. Low-key, moody, and sexy, the song bulleted to #6 in the winter of '85.
5. "Glory Days" - Released May 31, 1985, this song became one of the great baseball anthems of all time. Smartly timed to coincide with the brand new MLB season, it got to #5. In Ireland, where they take their sports very seriously, it reached #3.
6. "I'm Going Down" - Released August 1985, this song actually bumped "Pink Cadillac" off the album. Springsteen made the change, but got "Pink Cadillac" out to the public on the B-side of the "Dancing in the Dark" single. "I'm Going Down," with its distinctive slapback echo reached #9.
7. "My Hometown" - Released November 21, 1985 Issued a full year and a half after the album release, this was one of Bruce Springsteen's great message songs - speaking of racism at his school when he was growing up. the single put an exclamation point on the statement that racism could happen on anyone's street. America took the song to heart and rose all the way to #6.