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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  • +7
    General Comment

    This 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
  • +4
    General Comment

    I 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
  • +4
    General Comment

    This 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
  • +3
    General Comment

    This 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 04, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I'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
  • +2
    General Comment

    haha.. if it was the theme song for new jersey, it wouldn't really be making a case for visiting the state. it's more about getting the hell out.

    luckye225on May 08, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Everyone who lives in NJ wants to get the hell out, or at least those who live in the poorer towns. I'm working on it myself.

    But anyway, this is great song with excellent metaphors, especially the velvet rims/engines one. I can see why all the older women around here (NJ) just adore Bruce, with sexy lyrics like those and sweet ones like "Jersey Girl." My mom included.

    Ironically I once got in an auto accident while listening to this song.

    ChampionLoveron January 30, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This from

    On the morning of May 26, demolition began on the Palace Amusements complex in Asbury Park, NJ, immortalized in Springsteen's "Born to Run."

    The Palace (along with adjacent Lyric Theatre and Talking Bird restaurant) is being razed to make way for a hotel, retail and entertainment facility planned by Asbury Partners. Demolition began suddenly with the carousel house -- both the oldest and best preserved section of the Palace, constructed in 1888 and opened in July of that year. The structure was a classic example of Victorian architecture, and housed one of the world's largest carousels, carved by the famed Coney Island carousel designer Charles Looff. The demolition came unannounced, one night after a membership meeting of the Asbury Park Historical Society was called to consider last minute preservation strategies.

    The demolition process is expected to take three weeks, including removal and preservation of portions of the building's exterior. Two painted murals -- one of bumpercars and one of "Tillie," the namesake of the Save Tillie organization that worked to preserve the landmark -- will be chiseled off and saved, in addition to dozens of other artifacts from the building's interior.

    "Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard"

    Lucky Loseron June 22, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    "Sprung from cages out on highway 9"

    Highway 9, usually called Route 9, runs north and south through a large part of Jersey. Specifically, it connects the two parts of Jersey that Bruce seems to identify most with. One is "My Hometown" and Bruce's- Freehold, NJ. The other is Asbury Park, NJ. This song is one of my favorites by a hometown legend.

    PSYCHOSPICYon May 25, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    GREAT 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

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