Springsteen initially envisioned a rock opera featuring a member of a street gang named Magic Rat, sax player Clarence Clemons wrote. While Springsteen abandoned the opera idea, Magic Rat does drive the narrative in this epic song about love and street gangs in New Jersey. Springsteen, fearing his label was going to drop him, was notoriously perfectionist on the Born to Run album, particularly with Clemons' famous sax solo on "Jungleland." "Each line was scrutinized and checked out for the feeling to make sure it fit," Clemons said. "Sixteen hours in front of a microphone, working on every note, every line."