Born in the U.S.A.
Bruce Springsteen Lyrics


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Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
End up like a dog that's been beat too much
'Til you spend half your life just to cover it up now

Born in the USA
I was born in the USA
I was born in the USA
Born in the USA now

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hands
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Born in the USA
I was born in the USA
I was born in the USA
I was born in the USA

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said, "Son if it was up to me"
Went down to see my VA man
He said, "Son, don't you understand now?"
(Ok)
(No, no)
(No, no, no)

I had a brother at Khe Sanh
Fighting off all the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone

He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

Born in the USA
I was born in the USA now
Born in the USA
I'm a long gone Daddy in the USA now
Born in the USA
Born in the USA
Born in the USA
I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the USA now

(Oh, no)
(Oh, no, no, no)
(Oh, no, no)
(Oh, no, no, no)
Hey




(Oh, no, no)
Woo

Overall Meaning

"Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen was a hit song that represented the struggles of America's working class, particularly the life of the Vietnam War veterans. The song begins with the phrase "Born down in a dead man's town," which implies that the singer grew up in a poverty-stricken area. The phrase "The first kick I took was when I hit the ground" suggests that the singer was born into a difficult life that was filled with problems.


The singer of the song is a veteran who was sent to fight in the Vietnam War when he says "Got in a little hometown jam, So they put a rifle in my hands, Sent me off to a foreign land, To go and kill the yellow man." The lyrics of the song offer a powerful critique of the way the US handled its soldiers when they returned from the war. The chorus "Born in the USA" is often misinterpreted as a patriotic chant, while in reality, it is a cry of despair from the singer who feels trapped by his past; he cannot escape his experiences in Vietnam even though he has to live with them.


To sum up, "Born in the U.S.A." is not a patriotic song but a critique of the country's treatment of its working-class citizens and veterans. Springsteen's song speaks to the idea that the American dream can be a false promise, and that even when someone is born in the country, it does not necessarily guarantee them a brighter future.


Line by Line Meaning

Born down in a dead man's town
I was born in a place where there are no opportunities


The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
My very existence was a struggle


End up like a dog that's been beat too much
I have been oppressed to the point of hopelessness


'Til you spend half your life just to cover it up now
The only way to survive is to numb out the pain


Born in the USA
I was born in America


Got in a little hometown jam
Got in some trouble without many options


So they put a rifle in my hands
I was forced into war


Sent me off to a foreign land
I was sent to Vietnam


To go and kill the yellow man
To fight against the Vietnamese people


Come back home to the refinery
After the war, I was not welcomed back with open arms


Hiring man said, 'Son if it was up to me'
I was not able to find work


Went down to see my VA man
I went to the Veterans Affairs office


He said, 'Son, don't you understand now?'
There is no help for me


(Ok)


(No, no)


(No, no, no)


I had a brother at Khe Sanh
I had a brother who fought at Khe Sanh


Fighting off all the Viet Cong
He fought against the Vietnamese army


They're still there, he's all gone
He lost his life in combat


He had a woman he loved in Saigon
He had a girlfriend in Vietnam


I got a picture of him in her arms now
I have a photo of my brother and his girlfriend


Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
I am near a prison


Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I am working in a harsh environment


I'm ten years burning down the road
I have been on this hard journey for a long time


Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go
I am stuck in this place


I'm a long gone Daddy in the USA now
I am a disengaged father


I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the USA now
I am a detached father who copes with the pain through music


(Oh, no)


(Oh, no, no, no)


(Oh, no, no)


(Oh, no, no, no)


Hey


(Oh, no, no)


Woo




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

@dimadrochip2400

[Verse 1]
Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up, now

[Chorus]
Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A. now
[Verse 2]
Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

[Chorus]
Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.

[Verse 3]
Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says, “Son, if it was up to me”
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said, “Son, don't you understand”

[Verse 4]
I had a brother at Khe Sanh
Fighting off them Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone
He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

[Verse 5]
Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go
[Chorus]
Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A. now
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A. now
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the U.S.A. now



@jasonjones8768

I know what you mean,
when i was in elementary school -
i had a friend who's father was in Vietnam..

& without being to graghic,
he would tell us war stories that were terrible..

Like one minute him & a buddy would be walking side by side,
then all of a sudden - a sniper had open fired & dropped his buddy with a clean shot..

Jesus, he must have repeated the word senseless after every event he talked about - i must agree with him, (WAR) it's all senseless..



All comments from YouTube:

@ellenabramsblankenship4455

This is a protest about how poorly the Vietnam vets were treated upon their return to the States. And my brother's name is one of the 58,000 on the black granite wall in D.C.

@timothygibson2536

Shout at to your brother. He is with my uncle, and 2 cousins. That war still hurts.

@jimcab4279

Anyone who sacrifice's their own life for their country is a true hero, you should be very proud of your brother.

@hizwannassa8809

My uncle and 2 of my relatives died in that war my uncle served the korean war as well

@KodaLeck

You're brother died a honorable man and I respect that,yet its sad losing a loved one

@Cissy2cute

So many 😢

562 More Replies...

@gtob431

I was always blown away to see this song played at ball games, political events seemingly depicting a proud America... Born in the USA. The true meaning of the song is protest and the suffering the veterans went through and what they dealt with in the war along with the pain they experienced when they returned home. The song has always been glorified as proud America when in fact it is a very sad and painful story of suffering and a lack of appreciation of all the lives lost and suffering that came out of this war.

@natalierampone9750

That's the way I look at it.

@frenchyoathbreaker4095

You can call the song "ironic", I guess. Even though it calls living in the US to be shitty. lol But the way it is sang and portrayed with the American flag and the way Scorcese filmed it with Bruce in leather and looking badass I think works against its message. Because frankly most people enjoy the rhythm of songs and don't listen to the lyrics. With this message, it probably needed to be approached like a Bob Dylan song. More quiet.

@Goomba956

My eldest brother, RIP, had lifelong issues with the lives he was forced to take...being called a baby killer upon his return did not help matters any. I agree with your commentary.

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