Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run draft sells for $197k

2013-12-07 12:00
bruce springsteen
New York - Someone was willing to pay big bucks for an early glimpse of what would become the Boss' "runaway American dream".

A handwritten, working lyric sheet for Bruce Springsteen's 1975 hit Born to Run sold at Sotheby's on Thursday for $197 000, well exceeding pre-sale estimates of between $70 000 and $100 000.

The auction house didn't reveal the identity of either the seller or the telephone bidder who bought the document, which used to be in the collection of Springsteen's former manager, Mike Appel.

The title track of Springsteen's 1975 multiplatinum album has revved up generations of fans, from its opening view of "the streets of a runaway American dream" to its high-octane chorus: "tramps like us/baby we were born to run." Some Springsteen aficionados still refer to themselves as "tramps".

'An intensive drafting process'

Most of the lines in this rough 1974 version, written in Long Branch, New Jersey, are apparently unpublished and unrecorded, but the manuscript does include "a nearly perfected chorus", the auction house said. It's one of only two identified manuscripts that include the rock anthem's most famous lines, according to Sotheby's.

"This town'll rip the (out your) bones from your back / it's a suicide trap (rap) (it's a trap to catch the young) your dead unless / you get out (we gotto) while your young so (come on! / with) take my hand cause tramps / like us baby we were born to run," reads the manuscript, written in blue ink on a sheet of ruled notepaper.

There are also some enigmatic notes in the margins, words including "wild" and "angels" and what looks like "velocity," the letter "t'' crossed with a curlicue flourish.

"Although Springsteen is known to have an intensive drafting process, few manuscripts of Born to Run are available," Sotheby's said.

bruce springsteen

Springsteen's website describes the Born to Run album as "a sheer epic fuelled by tangible energy, the idealised notion of escape and the romance of youth".

His Darkness on the Edge of Town album came out three years after Born to Run. For much of that interlude, Springsteen was prevented from releasing music due to a lawsuit involving Appel. Material from the Darkness sessions may have been influenced by the acrimonious fallout from their business breakup.

"If Born to Run was epic cinema, Darkness was brutal reality, its characters not dreaming of idealised escape as much as struggling against their circumstances," notes Springsteen's website.

Over the years, Springsteen and Appel have gotten back on good terms.

In November 2009, Springsteen invited Appel and his son to fly with the E Street Band to its tour finale in Buffalo, New York, and during the show, Springsteen publicly acknowledged Appel's contributions to his career.

Springsteen told The Associated Press in 2010 that he and Appel were "very good friends".

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