Sony MusicToday marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Born to Run, the album that helped make Bruce Springsteen a star. Released on August 25, 1975, Born to Run features many of The Boss’ best-known anthems, including “Thunder Road,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” “Backstreets” “Jungleland” and, of course, the classic title track.

At the time Springsteen recorded Born to Run, he’d released two critically lauded albums that were commercial disappointments, and he was in fear of being dropped by his label, Columbia Records. Bruce had an ambitious vision for his new album that he hoped would revitalize his career: combine the elements that made his earlier work compelling — the poetic aspects of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison and the heart of classic rock ‘n’ roll — while adding the complex, layered arrangements favored by production legend Phil Spector. For the project, Bruce labored hard crafting heartfelt songs about blue-collar life and the desire to escape a dead-end existence.

Springsteen co-produced Born to Run with Mike Appel and Jon Landau, and the project took 14 months to record, six months of which were spent on the title track. During the making of the album, a number of changes to the lineup of Bruce’s E Street Band took place, with Roy Bittan replacing original keyboardist David Sancious and Max Weinberg taking over for drummer Ernest “Boom” Carter. In addition, Springsteen’s old friend Steven Van Zandt contributed to the album, and would soon join the group as a full-time member.

Born to Run won Springsteen both critical acclaim and commercial acceptance. He landed on the covers of Time and Newsweek, while the album wound up reaching #3 on the Billboard 200. The “Born to Run” single also became his first top 40 hit, reaching #23 on the Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart. It has gone on to sell more than 6 million copies in the U.S. alone, while the influence it’s had on other artists and inspiration it’s given to music fans are hard to calculate.

As Springsteen noted in the 2005 documentary Wings from Wheels — The Making of Born to Run, the album “was the first record that really changed my life and the lives of my friends and band mates. On this record were the beginnings of the characters whose lives I’d trace in my work for the next three decades.”

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