top of page

Rock Hits - Bruce Springsteen - Born in the U.S.A.

Bruce Springsteen - Born in the U.S.A. - Meaning of the song

Often misinterpreted as a full-throated patriotic anthem, "Born In The U.S.A." is about the problems Vietnam veterans faced when they returned to America. While veterans of other wars received heroes' welcomes, those who fought in Vietnam were mostly ignored when they returned to their homeland, and many suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments.

This song was inspired by a chance encounter with Ron Kovic, who was confined to a wheelchair after being shot while fighting in the Vietnam War. Kovic, who enlisted to fight in the war, later protested against it, becoming a leader in the anti-war movement. In 1976 he published a book called Born On The Fourth Of July that told his story. In 1989 it was made into a movie starring Tom Cruise as Kovic. Springsteen picked up a copy of the book in 1980 when he was on a cross-country road trip with a buddy. They were outside of Phoenix and Bruce found it at a drugstore. About two weeks later, Springsteen was in Los Angeles staying at the Sunset Marquis hotel, where remarkably, Kovacs was also staying. They met in the pool area and had a long conversation, with Kovacs inviting Springsteen to join him on a visit to the veterans center in nearby Venice. Bruce accepted the invitation and found the visit quite enlightening. "I'm usually pretty easy with people, but once we were at the center, I didn't know how to respond to what I was seeing. "Talking about my own life to these guys seemed frivolous. There was homelessness and drug problems and post-traumatic stress - guys my age dealing with life-changing physical injuries." Springsteen used their stories as the basis for the song. "The verses are just an accounting of events," he said. "The chorus is a declaration of your birthplace, and the right to all the pride and confusion and shame and grace that comes with it."

Born in the U.S.A. - Lyrics

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 'Til you spend half your life just coverin' 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 man 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 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" I had a brother at Khe Sanh 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 Born in the U.S.A I was born in the U.S.A. now Born in the U.S.A I'm a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A. now Born in the U.S.A Born in the U.S.A Born in the U.S.A I'm a cool rockin' Daddy in the U.S.A. now


Rockin' out.jpg

Best Rock and Heavy Metal bands

bottom of page