Famed New Jersey house is filled with rock and roll history
In Long Branch, NJ sits a house where the album Born to Run was written. Rolling Stone magazine ranks the album Born to Run in the top 20 greatest albums of all time.
The effort to record and put the album out was intense, taking 14 months to record and 6 months just to record the title track Born to Run. The words and compilation of this iconic album happened in a small house in Long Branch, New Jersey.
In the early days Bruce Springsteen would hang his hat wherever he could. Whether it was at his family home at 87 Randolph Street in Freehold, above an old beauty salon in Asbury Park, a couch in a friend’s home or a friend’s parent’s home, he went where he was welcome.
Bruce finally journeyed out on his own and rented a small house in Long Branch, in the West End section on West End Court. The house was so small that the address had a ½ after the number.
Bruce in an interview said that he finally felt like he was becoming an adult after renting this house. He was finally on his own. He had solitude and peace. No one to tell him what to do, no one making noise or interrupting his lifestyle and no one to share a bathroom.
He was 24 years old when he moved into that house and now found the perfect surrounding to write what some music critics call “The best Rock and Roll album of all time.”
It was this house where he would change his destiny and etch himself into the annals of Rock and Roll history. The house had an old stand up spinet piano that was located in the front room, you could call it a living room but it was small and the piano faced the street.
The house sparsely decorated with a small kitchen and a small bedroom. On that piano in the front room, Bruce Springsteen wrote the entire album Born to Run. After a few sessions of lyrics and playing it out, he would bring in E Street Band members to go over the new songs and when he finally thought he had it right he headed to the studio.
After finishing the writing of all the songs he had all the band members of the E street band sign that spinet piano. Bruce signed it too. When it was time to move on Bruce couldn’t get the piano out of the house and had no where to put it. He left that piano in that house. The landlady, an older woman, had it destroyed and junked. So somewhere in a Jersey landfill lays a big part of music history.
That process of recording his new Born to Run songs would take months, many months and was in this process when Steve Van Zandt was just friends with Bruce and helped him produce Born to Run, eventually joined the E Street Band.
I’m very familiar with the Born to Run house (the video above is from 2016.) Years ago I casually mentioned to my boss at the radio station that “The House” was up for sale. He was very curious and had me set up an appointment with the real estate agent to take a tour of the house and inquire about the price.
Our thoughts were to turn “The House” into a historic place of interest and raise money for charity. They wanted $252,000 for that house. About $100,000 more than the house was worth but because of its historic background they were adding a few more dollars to the cost.
After many meetings with the Long Branch City Council, the Mayor, Bruce’s attorneys and more meetings at the radio station it just wasn’t in the cards to do what we wanted to do. It was fun going over the history and spending time in that house. There’s been a few times when I leave my planned travel path to stop by and see the house that was “Born to Run”.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.