top of page

ICYMI: more reading, chatting, re-thinking, and even a bit of re-mixing, for commemorating BITUSA@40

Updated: Jun 8

"Remixing" the album cover... official 1984 12-inch vinyl promo/DJ single of "Born in the U.S.A." b/w four non-LP B-sides

June 8, 2024

Not surprisingly, this week has yielded some interesting online reporting related to the 40th anniversary of Born in the U.S.A.'s release. Two of the best features can be found at and And towards the end of the week, Springsteen himself provided his own 40th-anniversary "explainer" for the album, via his official online platforms. In case you missed any of it, here's our detailed weekend review/roundup, with direct links provided, as well:

Rolling Stone's Brian Hiatt, author of Bruce Springsteen: The Stories Behind The Songs, recently chatted with Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg about the recording of Springsteen's all-time-biggest-selling album. The exclusive, wide-ranging interviews touch upon the strength of simplicity found in the title track's memorable riff ("To be able to just get down right down into your gut, and just lay into two chords and one riff, it’s elemental rock & roll," says Bittan,) the importance of Stevie Van Zandt's Keith-Richards-like rhythm guitar playing, and Weinberg's insistence - contradicting Springsteen's own 2022 Rolling Stone assessment of the still-unreleased material from the circa-1982 full-band sessions - that the legendary "electric Nebraska" material remains worthy of release. “[T]he sort of legend that has grown up around that material is that [the full-band versions] weren’t very good,” says Weinberg. “It’s actually incredibly good! It was just completely wrong for what Bruce wanted to do...and it was very much in the E Street Band style, and very similar to what we do now when we play those songs. It was great, and it was a rock record.” Mighty Max also relates the experience of staying at Springsteen's Los Angeles home and hearing Bruce creating "My Hometown," singing and playing it on his acoustic guitar as he composed it. Click here to hear Brian Hiatt's full podcast with Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg, and to read transcribed excerpts from it, in "40 Years of ‘Born in the U.S.A.’: The E Street Band Looks Back at Bruce Springsteen’s Biggest Album." Hiatt also posted some additional transcribed excerpts here today.

Meanwhile, Mike Duquette over at has delivered an excellent history of three of the most underappreciated and - due to their never having received any official re-releases in the digital-audio age - now virtually lost artifacts from the period when Born in the U.S.A. and its string of hit-singles began their historic chart performances: those Arthur Baker-produced 12-inch dance remixes of the album's first three singles ("Dancing in the Dark," "Cover Me," and "Born in the U.S.A.") Duquette conducted a new and extensive interview with Baker for this article, in which Baker provided many interesting behind-the-scenes details - warts and all - on producing each of the dance remixes for these three Springsteen singles.

Among our favorite "fun facts" to be found here... Baker, a Boston native, is such a longtime Springsteen fan that he was in attendance at the same 1974 Harvard Square Theatre concert that inspired Jon Landau to write his famous "I saw rock and roll future" essay. And among the backing vocalists on Baker's "Dancing in the Dark" remix was former E Street Choir member and legendary backing vocalist Cindy Mizelle. (Incidentally, Mizelle and her fellow backing singers' "oh-oh-oh"s from that remix now often get sung back to Springsteen from audiences during his live performances of "Dancing in the Dark," despite his '84-remix-sessions request to Baker & Co. to downplay those very same "oh-oh-oh"s.)

While Baker's candor throughout the new interview is admirable, it's a shame that he undervalues his and his collaborators' work on the "Born in the U.S.A." remixes. The "Freedom Mix" of that track, a YouTube link to which the article provides, pulled out and spotlighted some crucial, brutally beautiful elements that were fully buried in the originally released mix found on the album, such as Springsteen's mournfully sung "Oh, my God, no, no" (which he would then begin adding to his live performances of the song on the '84-'85 tour,) and even a bit of that Van Zandt-channels-Richards rhythm guitar of which Max Weinberg spoke to Click here to read Mike Duquette's "You Can't Start a Fire Without a Spark: Arthur Baker on the 'Born in the U.S.A.' Dance Remixes," exclusively at The

And finally, as Bruce often noted while introducing his The Ghost of Tom Joad Tour performances of "Born in the U.S.A.," the songwriter always gets the last shot. (At least for now, that is, since we at Letters To You aren't quite done with Born in the U.S.A.'s 40th anniversary ourselves. But more on that later; stay tuned.) Here's the newly dropped official Springsteen take on BITUSA@40, aka the "Born in the U.S.A. Explainer," released on June 6 via his social-media and YouTube platforms:


bottom of page