BORN TO WIN is a Bruce Springsteen song from the Born To Run period (late 1973 to early 1975). It was a candidate track for the album, as evidenced on a Springsteen handwritten list of proposed tracks for his third studio album.
Two lists titled "New Album #3 (Songs)", one containing 10 tracks and one containing 13, were on display at the From Asbury Park To The Promised Land 2009-2010 exhibition at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum in Cleveland, OH. They date from 1974 and were written on the same notebook page, but it's unknown whether the two were composed at the same time or if Springsteen returned to the same page some time later to add the second. The below scan is taken from the Summer 2010 issue (#89) of Backstreets magazine in which a typed version of the lists is reproduced. BORN TO WIN is on the first list. Springsteen listed "Born to Win" as the fifth track.
Allegedly, BORN TO WIN is an alternate title for TOKYO, a studio demo recorded in mid-1972. However, "born to win" doesn't occur anywhere in the song's lyrics. It's more plausible that BORN TO WIN was a different song that evolved from TOKYO.
Bruce Springsteen often creates song titles first and then attempts to write words and music around it, so the existence of a song title is no guarantee that a song was ever created. From the early 1972 to early 1975 period, there are many titles garnered from completed lyric sheets, partially completed lyric sheets, or documents in Springsteen's handwriting containing song titles but no lyrics. There is as yet no evidence that these were completed songs (both words and music) and no evidence that they were recorded during any of the first three albums' studio sessions. If they do exist as recordings, then they would most likely be either as work-in-progress home cassette recordings or from the little known about 1974 sessions at 914 Sound Studios in New York.
Most of these titles came to light in the second edition (1992) of Charles R. Cross book Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music. Very few were mentioned in the first edition (1989), but the second edition was more accurate and more detailed of the two versions of Cross's book. The primary reason for the flood of new and previously undocumented information in the second edition book is that soon after the first edition was published, Cross was granted quality interview and research time with Mike Appel at Appel's office. And as part of that, he was allowed to go through Appel's files of surviving Laurel Canyon-related documentation, which included inventory lists and some lists of song titles. At the time, Appel did not have any transcription/lyric sheets (or photocopies of them) in his possession because they had been handed over to Springsteen as part of terms and conditions of the 1977 legal settlement.
There was also an untitled list of about a dozen titles in Appel's files dated to spring 1975. Cross included them in his book as song titles, but it was later confirmed through Appel that this list was not of song titles, but rather potential album titles for the work-in-progress 3rd album and not song titles.
In an interview with Mark Hagen published on Mojo magazine in January 1999, Springsteen implied that the only unreleased song from the Born To Run sessions that is complete and in release-quality and not included on the Tracks box set was WALKING IN THE STREET. This means that it is highly unlikely that any of the titles from late 1973 to early 1975 was recorded in a complete form and is ready for release.
List of unknown songs from April 1972 to February 1973: (the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. period)
List of unknown songs from fall 1972 to fall 1973: (The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle period)
List of unknown songs from late 1973 to early 1975: (the Born To Run period)
If you have scans or photos of the lists that were on display at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum in Cleveland, OH, or any other Springsteen sheet that mentions this title, or just any additional information about this song, please contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.
List of available versions of BORN TO WIN on this website:BORN TO WIN