“Born in the U.S.A.” is a 1984 song written and performed by Bruce Springsteen. Taken from the album of the same name, it is one of his best-known singles. Lyrically, the song deals with the effects of the Vietnam War on Americans, although it is often misinterpreted as a patriotic or nationalistic anthem. The song was in part a tribute to Springsteen’s friends who had experienced the Vietnam War, some of whom did not come back; it also protests the hardships Vietnam veterans faced upon their return from the war.
In Springsteen’s own words, the song “Born in the U.S.A.” is about “a working-class man” (in the midst of a) “spiritual crisis, in which man is left lost...It’s like he has nothing left to tie him into society anymore. He’s isolated from the government. Isolated from his family...to the point where nothing makes sense.” Photo: Time Life Images