Backstreets (6:31)

Cover of Born to Run

From Born to Run and 63 other releases

“Backstreets” is a song by Bruce Springsteen from the album Born to Run, which was released in 1975. In the original vinyl release, it concludes side one of the record.

“Backstreets” begins with a minute-long instrumental introduction that features pianist Roy Bittan and organist Danny Federici, with only occasional traces of any other instruments being heard. In his review of Born to Run for Rolling Stone, writer Greil Marcus said:

“Backstreets” … begins with music so stately, so heartbreaking, that it might be the prelude to a rock & roll version of The Iliad.

The song deals with the relationship between two friends: the narrator and Terry. They are forced to hide their love for each other from others and “hide on the backstreets”. In the end, the relationship falls apart. Terry leaves with another man leaving the narrator alone and full of rage, love and sadness.

The gender of the character of “Terry” has long been debated among Springsteen fans. The name Terry can refer to either a male or a female. Proponents of the theory that Terry is male point out that the characters may be “hiding on the backstreets” in order to conceal their homosexuality. Or the song may merely be describing an intense male friendship with no other overtones. Those who believe that Terry is female cite Springsteen’s own sexuality as well as the extended “Sad Eyes” performances of the song in which Terry is referred to as female by Springsteen himself.

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  • Riodurrow

    SPRINGSTEEN's supreme masterpiece.

    12 hours ago Reply
  • FritzLn

    There are live versions of this among the greatest pieces of music ever recorded

    3 Dec 2014 Reply
  • Bufell

    Hauntingly great song.

    28 Mar 2014 Reply
  • TheWhomp

    Soundtrack to my summers. Amazing.

    9 Mar 2014 Reply
  • alainchaumont

    rock and roll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    22 Jul 2013 Reply
  • ralfsu

    Sleeping in that old abandoned beach house, getting wasted in the heat...

    23 May 2013 Reply
  • ralfsu

    Laying here in the dark you’re like an angel on my chest, just another tramp of hearts crying tears of faithlessness. Remember all the movies, Terry, we’d go see, trying to learn how to walk like heroes we thought we had to be, and after all this time to find we’re just like all the rest - stranded in the park and forced to confess to hiding on the backstreets.

    14 May 2013 Reply
  • Ondri-

    One of Bruce's greatest songs, the piano is fantastic.

    21 Mar 2013 Reply
  • zimdelinvasor

    quite simply a perfect song. everyone should hear this song.

    28 Feb 2013 Reply
  • dabigcheeze

    His best song, for sure.

    10 Dec 2012 Reply
  • JuniorMcCartney

    Well after all this time to find we're just like all the rest stranded in the park and forced to confess...

    7 Dec 2012 Reply
  • Drazba

    for me-- one of his best and my favorite on the album

    29 Nov 2012 Reply
  • wilma500

    great...............

    31 Aug 2012 Reply
  • CaptnTightpants

    Awesome

    19 Aug 2012 Reply
  • heaventree22

    this song makes me want to go 'BRRRUUUUUUCCEEEE'

    5 Jul 2012 Reply
  • rubita10840

    TUNE.

    22 Apr 2012 Reply
  • abunono

    Best ever!!!

    18 Mar 2012 Reply
  • rufuspig

    have i seriously not listened to born to run since installing last.fm? what?

    13 Mar 2012 Reply
  • sstoys2

    one of the greatest!! the beginning of this is soooo good!

    6 Mar 2012 Reply
  • rikrijean

    FANTASTIC.....THE GREAT BOSS !!!!!

    4 Mar 2012 Reply
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