Key Live Performance
I feel that this performance perfectly encapsulates "Born In The U.S.A." era Bruce. Here, we see the Boss in all his 80s manliness, drenched in sweat and making a ton of "Bruce Faces" with every guitar break. This video not only sums up why people loved him at the time, but also why people would hate him as well: he's insanely popular, he's dancing with his band mates, he's referring to himself as "The Boss", and he's loving every minute of the song.
"In my head I keep a picture of a pretty little miss
Someday mister I'm gonna lead a better life than this"
Like "Downbound Train" and "Born In The U.S.A.", "Working on the Highway" was originally written for Nebraska, at that time called "Child Bride". Some lyrics, such as those spotlighted here and those in the bridge section of the song, harken back to the song's dark roots. However, I am glad Bruce revised the song to make it more upbeat, giving it an edge of sardonic humor reminiscent of "Sherry Darling".
"Working on the Highway" is a very strong song that is lost in a sea of fantastic songs, and would probably have gotten more recognition if it has been on, say, The River. However, unlike many of the hit songs from this album, it hasn't suffered from listener fatigue, as it is a rare play at concerts or on the radio. I would recommend sneaking this song onto a few playlists you might have (i.e. for pregaming or doing housework) as you'll find yourself pleasantly surprsied when it pops up.