"Born in the U.S.A." is a song written and performed by Bruce Springsteen, and released in 1984 on the album of the same name. One of Springsteen's best-known singles, it was ranked 275th on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time", and in 2001, the RIAA's Songs of the Century placed the song 59th (out of 365). The song addresses the economic hardships of Vietnam veterans upon their return home, juxtaposed ironically against patriotic glorification of the nation's fighting forces.
This song was written in 1981 as the title song for a film that Paul Schrader was contemplating making and that Springsteen was considering starring in (Light of Day starring Michael J. Fox). Springsteen thanks Schrader in the liner notes of the album Born in the U.S.A.
Casual home demos were made later that year, following the completion of The River Tour. A more formal solo acoustic guitar demo was made on January 3, 1982, at Springsteen's home in Colts Neck, New Jersey during the long session that constituted most of the Nebraska album released later that year. Acoustic versions of several other songs that eventually appeared on the Born in the U.S.A. album were also on this demo, including "Child Bride" (an early version of "Working on the Highway") and "Downbound Train".