44. "Downbound Train"
Born in the U.S.A., 1984
Like "Born in the U.S.A.," "Downbound Train" was a song from the Nebraska demo. Yet despite a slow, hard-bitten feel that's keeping with the mood of Nebraska, it was actually first written as a jumpy rockabilly tune, over which Springsteen dubbed an echoing moan. The slowed-down version he eventually went with brings out the desolation in lyrics about a guy bouncing from job to job as he watches his life fall apart. The song was recorded at New York's Power Station studio during one of the early Born in the U.S.A. sessions, with the demo's moan mirrored in Roy Bittan's brooding synth. "It has a kind of plainspoken poetry that ties it to great country music," says Melissa Etheridge.