- - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

On this date (August 25) in 1974, Columbia Records released Bruce Springsteen’s album “Born to Run,” now considered one of the greatest and most influential albums in the history of rock and roll.

Due to its instant popularity, Springsteen appeared on the covers of both Newsweek and Time during the month of October.

The “Boss” had arrived.

It was Elvis Presley’s 1957 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show that had launched the musical ambitions of Springsteen, then seven years old. By the late 1960s, he played at clubs and throughout his native New Jersey. A couple of albums in the early 1970s established his critical acclaim, although the commercial appeal was not yet there.

In the spring of 1974, a reviewer wrote, “I saw rock and roll’s future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time.”

Springsteen entered the music studio once again, determined to produce a breakout album that lived up to his full potential. Feeling the pressure of the money invested in the project and the expectations of critics and fans, Springsteen spent fourteen months on the album, Born to Run.

He worked on the title track alone for six months. The album’s optimism centered on the narrative of the title track, wherein a young man with big dreams and a muscular determination to succeed beckons his girlfriend, “Wendy,” to run the journey together with him. He tells her that, though he didn’t know how long it would take, they would get to where they wanted to go.

The release of Born to Run came the day after a college kid named Mike Huckabee turned twenty. Already married and entering his fifth and final semester of study, you would be hard-pressed to find a song that better illustrated how the newly married young couple were living out their lives together.

After all, since they married, Janet had lived through cancer, surgery, and chemotherapy. And at the same time, Mike had plowed through his undergraduate degree in just five semesters—all the while pastoring a church, and working as a DJ.

But life passes you by if you slow down to catch your breath. So even as he finished up his college coursework, the Huckabees packed their belongings and prepared to move to Fort Worth, Texas, for graduate school.

“Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.”

Notes: There is a fantastic article at The Atlantic, celebrating the release of Born to Run. This post is an excerpt from the chapter, “Born to Run,” in the forthcoming authorized biography of Mike Huckabee.

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