Why Bruce Springsteen Describes ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ as His ‘Samurai Record'

He’s “the boss” for a reason. There’s one Bruce Springsteen album, in particular, that was informed by current events and “political implications.” Here’s what this artist said about his discography during his autobiography, Born to Run.

Bruce Springsteen is the musician behind ‘Born to Run,’ ‘Hungry Heart,’ and ‘Born in the USA’

This New Jersey native is known for songs like “Born to Run” and “Hungry Heart.” With a career spanning several decades, the artist earned several awards and international recognition. Springsteen is also known for his relatability to working-class Americans, earning the nickname “the Boss” from fans. 

That’s particularly true of his album Darkness on the Edge of Town, released around the time of The Sex Pistols, the Clash, and Elvis Costello “pushing the envelope” on what pop music could be.

Bruce Springsteen shared some of the inspiration behind his album ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’

With classism becoming more apparent in society, Springsteen wrote, pop music needed new responses to political issues. That’s where his 1978 album came into play. As described in Springsteen’s autobiography, Born To Run, these songs marked a turning point in this artist’s career. 

Darkness [on the Edge of Town] was my samurai record, all stripped down for fighting,” Springsteen explained. “My protagonists in these songs had to divest themselves of all that was unnecessary to survive.” 

“On Born to Run, a personal battle was engaged, but the collective war continued,” he wrote. “On Darkness, the political implications of the lives I was writing about began to come to the fore, and I searched for a music that could contain them.”

A great place to start, the artist shared, was his hometown. However, this wouldn’t be the first time (or the last time) Springsteen mentioned his New Jersey roots. This autobiography also details Springsteen’s favorite locations, from “Jersey Shore” diners to the iconic Asbury Park music venue, the Stone Pony.

Since its release, Darkness on the Edge of Town and its box set won the Grammy Award for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package. The first track, “Badlands,” earned over 35 million plays on the streaming platform Spotify. 

Bruce Springsteen often shares his love for his hometown 

This wouldn’t be the only Springsteen production informed by his response to social justice issues. In 1993, Springsteen released his song “Streets of Philadelphia,” which appeared on the Philadelphia official soundtrack. This film detailed the experience of one HIV-positive man facing discrimination at the workplace. 

Recently, this artist created a podcast with former United States President Barack Obama titled Renegades: Born in the USA. Springsteen also partnered with Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff for the song “Chinatown,” which details the experience of growing up in New York City’s shadow.

Music by Springsteen, including Darkness on the Edge of Town, is available on most major music streaming platforms. 

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