I notice all week on Soundcheck, presumably to celebrate the death of our beloved martyr of lost causes, John Schaefer as been asking guests what their vote for the Most Romantic Song in the World is. Being as I wasn't on Soundcheck this (or any other) week, I thought I'd cast my vote.
First, let me say that I am the romantic of my marriage. My wife understands that any night she is gone I'm going to be watching Steel Magnolias, Midnight in Paris, or whatever romantic comedy I can find on Netflix that I haven't watched before. That said, I am not a sentimentalist. I think every ounce of passion and every happy ending must be won through suffering, misunderstanding, and/or loss. I also tend to romanticize carnivals, ugliness, ignobility, and people who work at jobs they hate. What was it they call Leonard Cohen? A "dark romantic." I think I might be one of those.
I think that's why I love Bruce. The first time I heard of him, besides the interminable "Born in the USA," was in sophomore-year Humanities class, when my teacher played "Born to Run" for the class, then mercilessly made fun of a certain line...
I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight in an everlasting kiss
...And I remember thinking, "I want that too." I imagined that humanities teacher, a morbidly obese man who breathed heavily as he labored through his class lessons and smelled of sweat and bologna, listening to that song over and over again at home every night, wanting that too.
So yeah, "Born to Run" is not exactly a risky choice for Most Romantic Song in the world. In fact, it might be the safest. After all, it covers virtually every major aspect of American romantic fantasy: rebellion, escape through automobility, the fleeting nature of youth, compromised values, and of course the honking saxophone solo.
In the interest of not being too obvious (and slightly reducing the risk of being cited for copyright infringement) I thought I would include here not the studio version but my favorite live one, from the famed Hammersmith Odeon concert in 1975, right after the album was released.
So, to all the Wendy's of the world, may you to celebrate the death of our martyred saint on the streets tonight in an everlasting kiss. Or maybe tomorrow.