In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on Highway 9
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and stepping out over the line
Baby, this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We got to get out while we're young
Because tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Wendy let me in, I want to be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs around these velvet rims
And strap your hands across my engines
Together we could break this trap
We'll run until we drop, baby we'll never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
Because baby, I'm just a scared and lonely rider
But I got to find out how it feels
I want to know if love is wild
Girl, I want to know if love is real

Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rear-view mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I want to die with you Wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss

The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody's out on the run tonight but there's no place left to hide
Together Wendy, we'll live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don't know when we're going to get to that place
Where we really want to go and we'll walk in the sun
But until then tramps like us, baby we were born to run


Lyrics submitted by oofus

Born to Run song meanings
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62 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThis song really hits the nail on the head for small northeast towns. You can really appreciate this song a lot more when you live in one of those towns. Having lived in the northeast my whole life you grow up with this attitude of wanting to escape and find something better. I've been to the midwest and south before and let me tell you it's like a whole other country here. To narrow it down even more it really describes the mundane life in South Jersey. Bruce really knows how to manipulate words in such a way that he can describe the working class way of life to perfection. Great song
    anthony29on February 09, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is indeed a true love song people, but it’s also much more. Bruce once described it as a song about two people trying to find their way home. So yes, it’s about escaping somewhere, but I think it’s also about running to somewhere; towards adulthood maybe, escaping the constraints of adolescence. It’s about yearning to find out if life is really all it’s cracked up to be, do dreams become realised or do they drown in life’s mediocrity? Is there such a place where you can ‘walk in the sun’? and, most importantly is love really real — does it really exist as it does in books and films and music, or is it an exaggerated, exploited myth?

    So for me this is a song about two people taking the decision to stare life in the face and ask those kind of questions of it, they’re challenging their existence, wanting more from it, desperately wanting life to mean something, and they’re about to find out if it does.

    This is why this song is so incredible, because it’s universal — the questions asked in this song are the questions we all ask ourselves at some point in our life, and often spend the rest of it trying to answer them.
    solarstoneon August 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is really just about getting out of some hell hole with a woman you love. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a real love song.
    Good OL MCon March 03, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've always loved this song growing up, but it wasn't until I was about 15 years old when I read the lyrics to it while driving with my father. This song had such an effect on me that it nearly brought tears to my eyes. It had a very deep impact on me because I can relate to everything he's singing about. Highway 9 is about 5 minutes from my house, the remains of the Palace is in Asbury Park down by the "House that Bruce built", aka The Stone Pony. Great song, great band.
    urbanninja4on March 12, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSo help me God this song will be the theme song for Jersey one day
    PoorMansSuperman49on April 09, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song, my favourite Springsteen song (admittedly I've only been listening to him a week and a half so it could change). I think its about escapism and teenage rebellion in general, it may be specific to an event or area, but it can be used in a lot of contexts. The feeling of angst within an area and the urge to break free and live "on the edge" with your loved one, I'm currently going through a phase where this song has a lot of meaning (the girl i like hates her parents and feels the need to escape and such).

    My favourite lines "In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream/At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines" I think are metaphorical. The first part ("In the day...American dream" I think represents how America was changing and the typical "American dream" was having to give way to a more modernised, grim America, and how the "teens of the time" (which this song seems to be aimed at) are feeling desolate and unwanted by their country's more traditional ideals. The next part "At night...Suicide machines" I think represents the "teen takeover" of America and how the youths of the era don't care about the traditional "mansions of glory" of America, and are living now by a more "live fast die young" ethos, e.g. "suicide machines" representing motorbikes, drugs and the like.

    All in all, I think its a classic song and I love it more than any of his other stuff (although Born In The USA, State Trooper, Mansion On The Hill, Atlantic City and Badlands all come close).
    Thesmellyoneon July 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGREAT song by Bruce, reminds me of when I HAD to start my life all over..hard times but also good ones to turn your life around!!
    4thelvofmusicon January 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"But I gotta find out how it feels
    I want to know if love is wild, girl I want to know if love is real"

    Best line.
    EZ3on May 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI feel and see the open road as I travel west leaving Chicago behind me.. Every time I listen to this.


    For us that look out on the horizon and see a new life, a new chance. For all of us who wake up sensing something better out of town. For us with the hunger and lust of life. For us who want meaning to our lives. For us who sense the open road as a gateway to freedom and opportunities.

    Cheers to all who can't explain what it is but in simple terms we are just...



    Born To Run
    bearfan34on October 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about getting out of their dead end town. They know they have to leave, or they'll be broken heroes like the people they're surrounded with. They want to run away and be free from this place. Great song!
    TasChiBandGirlon March 04, 2003   Link

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