I'm sure some of you were wondering how long it would take me to post a Bruce song, and I guess the answer is three weeks. I was planning on waiting a lot longer, but then I read that yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the release of Born in the USA, and it seemed like a great occasion to spotlight this little gem, which was the first track on side two.
"No Surrender" is a great rock and roll song, but more importantly it has some of my favorite Bruce lyrics from the era, opening with one of his best lines ever:
Well we busted out of class,
Had to get away from those fools
We learned more from a three-minute record, baby
Than we ever learned in school
For Bruce and the E Street Band, this really was true. Growing up on the Jersey shore, these guys were practically pirates, with '50s and '60s rock as all the buried treasure they could ever need. None of them cared much about how they looked, they just cobbled together whatever version of thrift-store Elvis they could find and afford. None of them had drug problems or went to college. All of their time, money, energy, and passion went to living and breathing rock and roll. If any group of people were born to carry the torch of real rock and roll into the Reagan administration and far beyond, it was these guys, and that's what this song is all about.
Like the chorus puts it, "Well we made our promise, and swore we'd always remember/ No retreat, baby, no surrender." As the mid-'80s saw virtually every '60s and '70s rock legend embarrass themselves again and again, this song was a mission statement and a declaration of defiance. These guys would still be who they always said they were. Their passion wasn't waning, and it never would.
This was originally written and posted on Facebook on June 5, 2014
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