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A college freshman's introduction to Springsteen's 'Born to Run' and the American Dream





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It was September of 1975 and I was in my first semester at the University of Texas. At the first meeting of my American Studies survey class, the professor — a passionate man named Tom Philpott — rushed in and handed out the syllabus. And then he said to ignore what was listed for the first class because we were instead going to listen to what he called the most momentous American rock album ever recorded.

I’d never heard of Bruce Springsteen, much less “Born to Run.” I had been raised in a household where my older brothers played only R&B. But then Professor Philpott played the Springsteen song, "Jungleland," and said no one had ever written more eloquently about the American Dream.

I listened half-heartedly until Clarence Cleamons’ sax solo came in — and then I was hooked. I could hear the American Dream, beckoning and warning. And I took my stand, down in Jungleland.      



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