Downbound Train (3:36)

Cover of Born in the U.S.A.

From Born in the U.S.A. and 24 other releases

“Downbound Train” is a song that appears on the 1984 Bruce Springsteen album Born in the U.S.A… The song is a lament to a lost spouse, and takes on a melancholy tone.

The song was recorded in March or April of 1982 at the Power Station in one of the first sessions for the Born in the U.S.A. album. Like several other Born in the U.S.A. songs, including “Working on the Highway” and the title track, a solo acoustic version of “Downbound Train” was originally recorded on the demo that eventually became the Nebraska album.

Though it was not one of the seven singles released from said album, the song nevertheless gained something of a following, with some album-oriented rock radio airplay and being featured fairly regularly on the Born in the U.S.A. Tour and sporadically in tours since. It has been played about 130 times through 2008. Springsteen biographer Dave Marsh did not approve, calling “Downbound Train” in his volume Glory Days “the weakest song ‘s released since the second album, … incredibly sloppy … The protagonist’s three jobs in five verses are only symptomatic of its problems.” Other observers analysed it in retrospect as a harbinger, with naturalistic imagery lacing the song throughout in an approach that Springsteen would return to heavily in his Dylan-“Series of Dreams”-influenced early 1990s.

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