Flashback Album of the Week

Jeff Yerger

It has been said by many a Villanova student that New Jersey is the “armpit of America,” but the fact is even an armpit smells good every once in a while.

We New Jersians take great pride in our music, and even though those three brothers from Disney have brought NJ back into the limelight, we know the Garden State is big enough for only one true music icon: Bruuuuce!

Whether you’re from New Jersey or not, it’s undeniable that Bruce Springsteen has created some of the most passionate music in rock and roll, and his 1975 breakthrough album “Born to Run” is a storybook of chasing dreams, riding down long highways and youthful angst and ambition.

On this album, Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band kicked it up to high gear, finally creating something that is categorized as purely Springsteen. The E. Street Band define themselves on “Born To Run,” establishing a recognizable signature sound thanks to the piano intros of “Professor” Roy Bittan, the sax outbursts of “Big Man” Clarence Clemons and the Roy Orbison-meets-Elvis vocal delivery of the Boss himself.

Songs like “Thunder Road” and “Born to Run” are releases of raw emotion that take off and soar, never looking back.

If you can, listen to the stripped live version of “Born to Run” from the “Chimes of Freedom EP,” as Springsteen channels Bob Dylan while he transforms this song from merely a classic rock radio staple to something more surreal.

Other stand-out tracks like “She’s the One,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” and the epic “Jungleland” all bring out the best in the E. Street Band, blending together ’50s rock and roll with fearless blues and folk eccentricities.

“Born to Run” is a vintage masterpiece that has impacted music far beyond the streets of New Jersey. The music has the vibe of a small-town bar but the power for a sold-out stadium.

So dust off that old “Born to Run” record from your parents’ old collection and immerse yourself in the sounds of 1970s Americana.