MUSIC

Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' Turns 30, Still Great To Dance To In The Dark

06/04/2014 02:59 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:58 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Rock star Bruce Springsteen accompanies himself on the guitar while singing the hit song "Born in the U.S.A." as he completed his world tour at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in late September 1985. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

When I was a little kid in the early '80s, my sister and I would get frustrated when our dad would -- gawd! -- confuse Rick Springfield with some dude named Bruce Springsteen. That didn't last very long.

Springsteen's 1982 album "Nebraska" may have been a hit with critics (and my dad) but when "Born in the USA" was released on June 4, 1984, Bruce became a bona fide pop star who could even get primary school kids singing about their glory days.

"Born in the USA" produced seven Top 10 hits -- including "Dancing in the Dark," which boasted a teenage Courtney Cox being pulled up on stage in the music video -- a feat only surpassed by Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and Janet Jackson's "Ryhthm Nation."

The album went on to sell 30 million copies and remains best known for the title track, a searing indictment of America's treatment of its Vietnam veterans which was adopted unironically by Ronald Reagan's reelection campaign.

That song was also, interestingly, originally written for a Paul Schrader film about a bar band then-called "Born in the USA" in which Springsteen was offered a starring role.

After turning it down, the role went to Michael J Fox and the film's name changed to "Light of Day." Bruce kept "Born" for himself -- after all, it had already been in the works under the name "Vietnam" -- and instead handed in "(Just Around The Corner To The) Light Of Day," which was performed by the movie's other co-star Joan Jett.

That film is now an '80s trivia question, but 30 years after "Born in the USA" was released, Bruce remains The Boss.