In 1984 female protesters were chaining themselves to the gates of RAF Greenham Common in protest at the arrival of American cruise missiles, while miners were fighting pitched battles in the streets of northern towns as the Conservative government sought to dismantle the mining unions. It was tempting to see everything in terms of black and white and left and right and to believe Britain was on its way to becoming the 51st state of the USA.
Springsteen's song appeared to be more of the same, a none-too-subtle celebration of American triumphalism.
One of the song's biggest fans was George Will, a conservative columnist who hailed it as a "cheerful affirmation" of all of the good things about America. His pal Ronald Reagan who happened to be President at the time was impressed and he referenced Springsteen and his song of hope during his re-election campaign.
In reality Reagan was fooled by the upbeat nature of the song. If you delve into the lyrics, it quickly becomes apparent that Born in the USA is ironic and about the emptiness of the American dream from the perspective of a Vietnam veteran.
Down in the shadow of penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run, ain't nowhere to go
Born in the USA
A BBC article pointed out Springsteen's song isn't the only one to be misinterpreted. You may not want to play Every Breath You Take by the Police at your wedding because it's about the stalkery kind of love. Nor Does REM's The One I Love go down in the annals of top romantic songs as it contains the line: "This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind/A simple prop to occupy my time."