Handwritten genesis of Springsteen's 'Born to Run' to hit auctio - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Handwritten genesis of Springsteen's 'Born to Run' to hit auction block

Posted:
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sotheby's New York expects handwritten lyrics to fetch $70,000 to $100,000 at auction
  • The sheet of notebook paper features 30 lines and notations scrawled in blue ink
  • Many original lyrics didn't make the cut, but manuscript contains "nearly perfected" chorus
  • Springsteen's "Born to Run" is today considered one of the greatest songs of all time

By Eliott C. McLaughlin

He didn't die with Wendy on the streets, but Bruce Springsteen's career needed some life.

It was early 1974, and Springsteen had enjoyed critical acclaim but little commercial success with two albums the previous year, "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J." and "The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle."

He wasn't the rock icon he'd soon become. He needed a hit.

So the 26-year-old sat down at his Long Branch, New Jersey, home on 7½ West End Court -- the same house where he would also write "Thunder Road" and "Backstreets" -- and he began scribbling lyrics on a sheet of ruled paper from a spiral notebook.

"This town'll rip the (out your) bones from your back / it's a suicide trap (rap) (it's a trap to catch the young) your dead unless / you get out (we got to) while your young so (come on! / with) take my hand cause tramps / like us baby we were born to run."

On December 5, almost 40 years later, the handwritten genesis of one of The Boss' biggest hits -- and one of rock 'n' roll's most well-known songs -- will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Sotheby's New York expects the manuscript, which features 30 lines and marginal notations scrawled in blue ink, to fetch between $70,000 and $100,000.

"Born to Run" reached only No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it aged incredibly well, earning the No. 21 spot on Rolling Stone magazine's list of all-time greatest songs and being named among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 songs that shaped the genre.

Springsteen explained the song's birth in a statement from Sotheby's.

"One day I was playing my guitar on the edge of the bed, working on some song ideas, and the words 'born to run' came to me. At first I thought it was the name of a movie or something I'd seen on a car spinning around the circuit. I liked the phrase because it suggested a cinematic drama that I thought would work with the music that I'd been hearing in my head."

An AllMusic review described the tune as a "celebration of the rock & roll spirit, capturing the music's youthful abandon, delirious passion and extraordinary promise with cinematic exhilaration."

"A blue-collar fairy tale evoking Phil Spector in its romanticized grandeur and Bob Dylan in its street-corner poetic grit, critic Greil Marcus once described it as 'a '57 Chevy running on melted-down Crystals records,'" the review states.

"'Born to Run' is teen melodrama in excelsis, overblown and histrionic in ways Spector never imagined; it smacks of the kind of palpable, life-or-death desperation which threads its way through everything from 'Romeo and Juliet' to 'Rebel Without a Cause,' where every action, every thought and every word bears the complete weight of the world."

The 1975 track became Springsteen's first worldwide release, and while Sotheby's says many of the original lyrics never made it to the recording booth, the chorus was "nearly perfected" in the handwritten manuscript.

"Ultimately, the song took six months to finalize and clocks in at four and a half minutes long. Springsteen aimed for musical perfection and Spector-level grandeur which he undoubtedly achieved," a Sotheby's news release says.

The manuscript, which was once part of record producer Mike Appel's personal collection, will be on public view beginning Saturday, according to Sotheby's. Appel is credited with discovering Springsteen, and he produced The Boss' first three albums.
   
 The-CNN-Wire
 ™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
 

  • Texas State Aquarium In Running For National Honors

    Texas State Aquarium In Running For National Honors

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:21 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:21:43 GMT
    The Texas State Aquarium have been nominated as a finalist to be named one of the Top Ten Aquariums in the US and Canada. It's all part of a readers choice contest by USA Today. If you would like to vote for the Texas State Aquarium click here.More >>
    The Texas State Aquarium have been nominated as a finalist to be named one of the Top Ten Aquariums in the US and Canada. It's all part of a readers choice contest by USA Today. If you would like to vote for the Texas State Aquarium click here.More >>
  • Online Petition Aimed At Saving Park

    Online Petition Aimed At Saving Park

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:17 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:17:35 GMT
    A local man has started an online petition in hopes of keeping the city from selling a park in his neighborhood.More >>
    A local man has started an online petition in hopes of keeping the city from selling a park in his neighborhood.More >>
  • Special Report: Asleep at the Wheel

    Special Report: Asleep at the Wheel

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:14 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:14:08 GMT
    Most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, but may not realize that drowsy driving can be just as fatal. With more drivers on the road, words like sleepy, tired, exhausted, are taking on a whole new meaning when it comes to your safety.We talk with drivers, state troopers and driving instructors to examine what could be done to make our highways less dangerous in a 3News Special Report: Asleep at the Wheel.More >>
    Most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, but may not realize that drowsy driving can be just as fatal. With more drivers on the road, words like sleepy, tired, exhausted, are taking on a whole new meaning when it comes to your safety.We talk with drivers, state troopers and driving instructors to examine what could be done to make our highways less dangerous in a 3News Special Report: Asleep at the Wheel.More >>