An acoustic version of this song also exists, though it isn't easy to find.

I bring this up because it is almost a completely different song, even though the lyrics and tune are the same. Springsteen changes the tone of his singing to the point where, rather than sounding like the patriotic ditty it's often mistaken for, it sounds more like what it really is - the lament of a homeless Vietnam veteran, returned to his country only to find himself reviled by the very people he believed he was fighting for.

If the version had existed when Ronald Reagan made his famous gaffe, he doubtless wouldn't have made it. The radio version of the song is, in fact, easy to mistake for a patriotic piece, what with the almost-triumphant background music and Springsteen's voice, which portrays the narrator's rage and pain too subtly for most people to notice at first, second, or even fiftieth glance. The lyrics of the verses are somewhat muted, such that they can't be heard as well as the refrain; one generally has to actually read them before understanding. The acoustic version, however, leaves nothing to doubt, stripping most of the background away (leaving only a single guitar) so that the lyrics are laid bare before the listener's ears, and Springsteen himself changes his tone from rage to despair. The end result is a completely different experience, and one which is likely closer to the original intent of the work.