In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a

from Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

This song would undergo significant lyric and arrangement changes in its long gestation process. This superb article in Slate lays them out. On the lyric side:

The earliest live version of the song that is available dates from July 13, 1974, at the Bottom Line in New York, more than a year before a string of shows at the same venue that would astonish the industry. While musically the song is almost set, lyrically it is dramatically different from the final version, so much so that its meaning shifts. After “runaway American dream,” Springsteen sings, “At night we stop and tremble in the heat/ With murder in our dreams.” The song is darker. He is not singing to Wendy, whose name does not appear. The second verse opens, “So close your tired eyes little one/ And crawl within my reach. … [W]e’ll ride tonight on the beach/ Out where the surfers, sad, wet, and cold/ As they watch the skies/ There’ll be a silence to match their own.”

Springsteen is working the themes of loneliness and violence to the extreme. After “boys try to look so hard,” he sings, “Like animals pacing in a dark black cage/ Senses on overload/ They’re gonna end this night in a senseless fight/ And then watch the world explode.” Clearly, he is trying to stay consistent with other songs that he is considering for the album—at the same show he premiered “Jungleland.” The “broken heroes” of this early version of “Born To Run” have “a loneliness in their eyes,” and instead of loving “with all the madness in my soul,” the narrator seeks to “drive through this madness/ Oh burstin' off the radio”

Here’s the audio:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYkH_zpRwvY#t=45m58s

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