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Born In The U.S.A.

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Emily Ménard

on 2 December 2014

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Transcript of Born In The U.S.A.

Born In The U.S.A.
Historical Context
Political Context
Born In The U.S.A.
‘’ Born in the U.S.A.’’ is a protest song by American singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen that was released in 1984.

Written by Bruce Springsteen

Lyric Analysis
By Bruce Springsteen
Preformed by Bruce Springsteen and the E-Band

The song is about all the troubles, difficulty and problems that the Vietnam veterans came across when they returned to their home in America after the war that they fought.
The song ''Born in the U.S.A.'' is a song that has been extremely misinterpreted and misunderstood by the world.
Title of Springsteen's seventh studio album (released June 4th 1984). Best-selling album in the United States in 1985.
The genre of music that Bruce Springsteen took for this song is heartland rock.
Born down in a dead man's
town
The first
kick
I took was when
I
hit
the
ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too
much
Till you spend half your life
just covering
up
Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Got in a little hometown
jam

so they
put a rifle in my
hand
Sent me off to a foreign
land

to go and kill the
yellow m
an
Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Come back home to the
refinery
Hiring man says "son if it was up to
me
"

Went down to see my V.A.
man
He said "son don't you
understand
now"
Had a brother at Khe Sahn fighting off the Viet
Cong
They're still there he's all
gone
He had a woman he loved in
Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now
Down in the shadow of
penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the
refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a long gone daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a cool rocking daddy in the U.S.A.
Irony
Simile
Metaphor
Rhythms
and Rhymes
Imagery
Tone
Repetition
Allusion
Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up
The term dead man's town is a reference to when all the American veteran's returned to home after America's first lost at war which Vietnam war). In fact, when they returned, all the towns were empty and had no life in them.
These verses were making reference to how the veteran’s felt, once they came back to America. In fact, they suffered an extreme disrespect from United States as soon as they came back home because of their lost of the Vietnam war.
This is a reference to what the American soldiers who fought in the Vietnam war had to do for the rest of their lives. Since they still had half their lives in front of them they had to try and hid the fact that they served in the Vietnam war because they would be portrayed as losers and good for nothing. Also, at that time, people were living with fewer jobs and no way to improve their lives. So by being a former Vietnam fighting veteran, it became harder for them to land a job since no one wanted them because they are a disgrace to their country.

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Getting into a ''hometown jam'' is when someone gets put into jail for having a fight in his hometown.
At the time, we you get put in jail for this reason, the United States send them off to Vietnam (foreign land). This is what Bruce Springsteen was saying in this verse they put a rifle in his hand and sent him off to a foreign land to fight for the United States and kill the yellow men who were the Vietnamese's.
Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me"
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said "Son, don't you understand"

These lines are about the high rate of the returning Vietnam vets that were unemployed, divorced, arrested, as well as committing suicide.
The V.A. is referring to Veteran Affairs which was an organization that were supposed to ''take care of the veterans after they finished serving for they're country.
This is another example of the how the soldiers did not have much opportunities available for them when they return to America. They did not have any support from the government or a job.
I had a brother at Khe Sanh fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone

Now in this line Springsteen is not literally talking about his brother because he does not have one. In fact, he his talking more about a friend of his, I say this because Springsteen changes the word to “buddy” in a couple live performances. To add, the Vietnam War’s Battle of Khe Sanh was not a war of the U.S. forces against the Viet Cong. Instead, they fought the North Vietnamese Army. This was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War, which the U.S.A. wound up losing.
This put into context that his buddy died during this battle while the U.S.A. exited the war with little to show concerning the deaths of that war.
He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now
Saigon was the capital of South Vietnam. In fact, it was the half that the Americans fought for in the war. During this time, it wasn't uncommon for soldiers to fall for local a women when they were in Vietnam. These tragic love stories inspired a lot of music and as you can see it inspired Bruce Springsteen in his song Born in the U.S.A.
The ''picture'' represents the only memorabilia that he has left of his friend. The fact that the soldier is in the woman's arms makes it seems that it isn’t a happy photo of the couple but a photo of a woman grieving over her loves corpse.
Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

Down in the shadows is a more or less a symbol for the bad parts of the jail, where all the killing, aggressive fights and the criminals are.

Symbol
Irony
All of these verses are giving proof of irony by throwing of the balance of the joyful chorus with depressing and dismal verses. The three bleakest lines in the song all lead directly into the iconic chorus ''Born in the U.S.A.''.
"You end up like a dog that's been beat too much 'Til you spend half your life just covering up
Born in the USA!"..

"Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man
Born in the USA!"...

"I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go
Born in the USA!"...
The Vietnam War began in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia November 1st 1955 and ended in Saigon April 30th 1975. This war was one of the most controversial political problem of the 1960s and 1970s. This war is known as one of the longest war in American history. Also, many Americans today still ask whether the American's soldiers and country efforts in that war were really necessary. In fact, the Vietnam War resulted in about 60,000 American deaths and an estimated 2 million Vietnamese deaths.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War
Born in the U.S.A. was written by Bruce Springsteen in 1981, six years after the Vietnam war ended and it was released on an album under the same name in 1985. This song reveals the emotional scars that suffered the Vietnam veterans after the war. Bruce sang this song using a first- person narrative which creates a personal and political meaning to it. The song shares the story and experiences of a man who fought in the Vietnam War and returned home to America with no support at all from his country. This song makes all of it's listeners put into question the fact of whether their nation failed in its duty to help the veterans who serve in the military.
Born In The U.S.A.
President John F. Kennedy was helping all countries that were threatened by Communism in the years 1961. In fact, he helped South Vietnam fight against the Communists of North Vietnam by sending them supplies and military advisers. In less then a year, the Americans soldiers were in combat even though the U.S. Congress didn't make any declaration of war.
The Vietnam War
President Lyndon Johnson took over the management of the Vietnam War after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. America had a very large numbers of American troops fighting in Vietnam by the year 1965.
Since the United States did not seem to be winning, many critics argued that there was no clear objective for them to be involved in the war. Because of this, President Johnson later announced that he isn't going to run for president for a second term. The United States withdrew from the war in 1973 and two years later, South Vietnamese forces surrendered to the North.
Because South Vietnam and North Vietnam was now unified under the Communist government, the United States of America had officially failed to pull off their goal. Which means that the United States, a nation which is used to being victorious suffered its first major defeat.
The Vietnam War
Pop-Cultural Context
Bruce Springsteen received a movie script from a director named Paul Schrader entitled Born In The U.S.A. This movie was about a rock band who was struggling with life and religion. This inspired Bruce to name the title of his song under the same name (Born In The U.S.A.).
The children's TV show Sesame Street made a new version of Born in the U.S.A. called "Barn In The U.S.A.," they gave credit to Bruce Stringbean and the S. Street Band.
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Born down in a dead man's

town
The first kick I took was when I hit the

ground
Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

End up like a dog that's been beat too
much
Till you spend half your life just covering

up
Got in a little hometown

jam
So they put a rifle in my

hand
Sent me off to a foreign
land
To go and kill the yellow

man
Come back home to the

refinery
Hiring man said "son if it was up to
me
"
Went down to see my V.A.

man
He said "son, don't you

understand
"
I had a brother at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet

Cong
They're still there, he's all

gone

He had a woman he loved in

Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms

now

Down in the shadow of the
penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the
refinery
I'm ten years burning down the

road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

I'm a long gone daddy in the U.S.A.
I'm a cool rocking daddy in the U.S.A
The first
kick
I took was when
I hit the ground

Got in a little hometown jam
So they
put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the
yellow man
Down in the
shadow
of the penitentiary
Rhythms and Rhymes
Smiles
Tone
Repetition
Metaphor
Imagery
Unfortunately the director of the movie wanted to make the movie with the title "Born In The U.S.A." but he thought that the title was too associated with Bruce Springsteen's song. For that, Bruce Springsteen provided him with the song "Light Of Day," which became the new title for the movie and the feature song in the film.
This song was performed initially by Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox in the movie with their fictitious band The Barbusters. The song is now the representation of the high point in a Jett's concert.
Light of day
Barn In The

U.
S.
A.
An american man as strong as can be
Goes off to war because he loves his country
Night and day all he can seem to do is cry
Because everyone he knows just seem to die

He goes back home with blood on his hands
Just to be told were he now stands
He has to go back to that horrible scenery
A choice that he did not do freely

Now he needs to get away
need to run away
Need to run away
From the usa

He then fled to the true north strong and free
Were he meet the girl that he would marry
They both created a beautiful family
Then one day overcome a horrible tragedy

He received a call from the U.S.A.
Telling him he shouldn't have ran away
He now has to come up with a reason why
He shouldn't leave and say goodbye

He needs to get away
need to run away
Need to run away
From the usa
need to get away
need to run away
Need to run away
From the usa!!

An american man has grown to become weak
Because he went off to war and seen things his mind couldn't speak
Night and day all he can seem to do is cry
And scream to himself U.S.A. why!!
My song:
Run Away
September 19, 1984, President Ronald Reagan spoke before a very eager crowd in downtown Hammonton, New Jersey. At the time, Ronald was running for his second term as president. The speech was mostly about politics, but it did contain one memorable passage that included Bruce Springsteen:
"America's future," Reagan said, "rests in the message of hope in songs of a man so many young Americans admire, New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen."

Bruce Springsteen was about as popular as a rock ‘n roll singer could be. So it would certainly not hurt for him to be identified with that sort of popularity.
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan's started using the song "Born in the U.S.A." as the theme song for his reelection campaign which he did without permission. It became obvious that he did this because he didn't listen and take note of all the lyrics but just its rousing chorus. When Springsteen found out Reagan was doing this, he made him stop using the song as his theme song.
Ronald Reagan
Voice
Cheerful and powerful
Instrument
Upbeat
Improvised drum solo
Conclusion
The song Born in the USA is one of the most misunderstood protest song in the world. With it's cheerful and uprising beat, it explains the mistreatment inflicted on the American soldiers when they came back to America after their huge lost of the Vietnam War. Although the message of the song is hidden if one does not read and comprehend the entire song, Born In The USA is a very powerful and rebellious protest song.
Comparison
Mistreatment of American soldiers after a war
War
Strong vocals
Full transcript