My Hometown Bruce Springsteen Analysis Essay

"My Hometown" is a single by Bruce Springsteen off his Born in the U.S.A. album, that was the record-tying seventh and last top 10 single to come from it, peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It also topped the U.S. adult contemporary chart, making the song Springsteen's only #1 song on this chart to date.[1] The song is a synthesizer-based, low-tempo number that features Springsteen on vocals.


The song’s lyrics begin with the speaker’s memories of his father instilling pride in the family’s hometown. While it first appears that the song will be a nostalgic look at the speaker’s childhood, the song then goes on to describe the racial violence and economic depression that the speaker witnessed as an adolescent and a young adult. The song concludes with the speaker’s reluctant proclamation that he plans to move his family out of the town, but not without first taking his own son on a drive and expressing the same community pride that was instilled in him by his father.

Some of the song's images reference the recent history of Springsteen's own hometown of Freehold Borough, New Jersey, in particular the racial strife in 1960s New Jersey and economic tensions from the same times (e.g., the "textile mill being closed" was the A & M Karagheusian Rug Mill at Center and Jackson Streets of Freehold).[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "My Hometown" was a straightforward video filming of a performance of the song at a Springsteen and E Street Band concert late in the Born in the U.S.A. Tour, eschewing fast-paced cutting for slower montages of Springsteen and various band members. Despite its lack of visual excitement, it still managed substantial MTV airplay in late-1985 and early-1986.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "My Hometown" - 4:33
  2. "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" - 4:27

The B-side of the single, "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town", was a semi-comical live recording of the Christmas fave from a Springsteen and E Street Band concert on December 12, 1975 at C. W. Post College on Long Island, New York. Long familiar to Springsteen fans from its distribution years earlier to rock radio stations, it had previously been released on the fairly unknown 1981 children's album In Harmony 2; now in time for the Christmas season it was being issued again. Always a radio favorite, Bruce's "Santa Claus" would benefit from the all-holiday-music-all-the-time formats of the 2000s, and during the 2005 holiday season "Santa Claus" would appear on the Billboard Top 40 Adult Recurrents and Hot Digital Songs charts.

Live performance history[edit]

"My Hometown" was a staple selection on the Born in the U.S.A. Tour, in an arrangement very similar to the album. Springsteen sometimes preceded the song with a story about the tall veterans' monument in front of the courthouse in Freehold; later in the tour he announced gifts to local food banks, union funds, and related activities before playing the song. It quickly skyrocketed on the charts of music.

"My Hometown" was omitted during the 1988 Tunnel of Love Express Tour, but then appeared at all twenty performances on that year's later Human Rights Now! Tour, where it saluted people trying to take responsibility for their own freedom. It has been played on and off on Springsteen's various tours ever since; it is part of the repertoire of songs that Springsteen pulls out on a given night when he thinks it fits the theme or mood of a concert or location. The song has been performed about 260 times through 2008.



See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Studio albums
Live albums & Bruce Springsteen Archives
  • Live 1975–85 (1986)
  • In Concert/MTV Plugged (1993)
  • Live in New York City (2001)
  • Hammersmith Odeon London '75 (2006)
  • Live in Dublin (2007)
  • Live from the Carousel (2011)
  • Apollo Theater 3/09/12 (2014)
  • The Agora, Cleveland 1978 (2015)
  • Tower Theater, Philadelphia 1975 (2015)
  • Nassau Coliseum, New York 1980 (2015)
  • Brendan Byrne Arena, New Jersey 1984 (2015)
  • LA Sports Arena, California 1988 (2015)
  • Schottenstein Center, Ohio 2005 (2015)
  • Ippodromo delle Capannelle, Rome 2013 (2015)
  • Arizona State University, Tempe 1980 (2015)
  • The Christic Shows 1990 (2016)
  • HSBC Arena, Buffalo, NY, 11/22/09 (2016)
  • Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO, 8/23/08 (2017)
  • Olympiastadion, Helsinki, July 31, 2012 (2017)
  • Wachovia Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA 10/20/09 (2017)
  • Palace Theatre, Albany 1977 (2017)
  • Auditorium Theatre, Rochester, NY 1977 (2017)
  • King's Hall, Belfast March 19, 1996 (2017)
  • The Summit, Houston, TX December 8, 1978 (2017)
Box sets
Charting songs
Other notable songs
Video releases
A portion of the Karagheusian Rug Mill as it stood, long abandoned, in Freehold in 1990.


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Feb 27th, 2011 2:21pmreport

The song basically chronics the systematic death of the American small town during the latter half of the 20th century.

The first verse is in the 50's when small towns are bustling and proud. Papers were only 10 cents and Buicks were popular. Spirits are high coming off WWII.

The second verse actually names the year, mid sixties. Major shift in the psychology of the country with the civil rights movement and Vietnam. The verse goes to show that the turmoil has even affected small towns which traditionally are thought of as isolated from the bigger problems of the nation.

The third verse is probably referencing the late 70's, early 80's when manufacturing took a big hit in America. Often, a small town was developed around a factory, so when they die, the town dies.

Last verse is the narrator and his wife coming to terms with the bleak future of staying where they grew up. Young families leaving these towns ironicly contributes to their decline. At the end of the song the father thinks it important to bring things full circle and relive his fond memory behind the wheel with his son. A sense of reserved pride no doubt when he tells him this is his hometown.

I am very fond of this song having grown up in Pennsylvania and seeing first hand the sad transformation of small town America. Springsteen handles it with grace.


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