Song Stories


Bruce Springsteen | 1975

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."

Song Stories Main Next

Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

More Song Stories entries »