Key Live Performance
"No Surrender" has made it into recent tours with a full band accompaniment, however, the above performance is how it would normally be played at concerts. This video begins with a nod to Steven Van Zandt, who pushed for "No Surrender" to be included in the album. Steven's departure left Bruce alone, and he intensifies the feeling of loneliness here by playing it solo, with only his guitar and his harmonica to support him.
"I want to sleep beneath peaceful skies in my lover's bed
with a wide open country in my eyes
and these romantic dreams in my head"
It was difficult to pick just one set of lyrics from this song. We've spotlighted other lyrics in the past, and there aren't many other lines that define the spirit of rock-and-roll more than "We learned more from a three-minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school." However, whenever I listen to this song, these lyrics paint such a vivid image in my head. I imagine myself about ten years younger, lying on a beach in south Jersey, with a beautiful girl next to me. It's early September, and we know our summer fling is about to end, but for now, we are the the only people in the world. However, that isn't what is happening in this song. It is just what the narrator wants; it is merely a romantic dream. The idea of dreams versus reality is the key feature of this song, and why, despite the difficulties in life, there is "no surrender".
This is one of the rare songs on Born In The USA that was, in fact, not a single, but it easily could have been (given that this song ranked 18th on the top 100 Springsteen songs, I'd say this is a popular opinion). The upside for this is that the song was never overplayed; I still get chills whenever Bruce busts this out at concerts. It is an incredibly powerful song, and easily one of Bruce's best.