Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Songs


Photo Courtesy of Ultimate Classic Rock.

The Boss just turned 67 and is about to release his autobiography. So in honor of the legendary artist, here are 10 of the best songs he’s released in his 45 year career.



1. Thunder Road: Bruce Springsteen opened his magnum opus, Born To Run, with a song about a fear of growing up. None of them were as graceful as this one. Using imagery that would make Bob Dylan jealous, he sings about a summer love well past high school graduation in a dead end town. Opening with a whisper and exiting with howl, the piano is elegant and the guitars go from a calm chime to rollicking fury. It’s among the greatest songs of all-time.


2. Born To Run: The title track from his aforementioned album blasted Bruce into superstardom. His anthem about escaping his working class life has equal parts of lament, romance, and glory. Working with a hook that was so good—he was positive it must have belonged to someone else—the E Street Band is at its tightest, climaxing with Springsteen’s killer surf-guitar solo. This is the song he will always be remembered for.

3. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight): From the sophomore album The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, “Rosalita” is the centerpiece, a heart-on-sleeve celebration. It is also a great showcase for E Street Band’s camaraderie. A 7-minute concert staple with several distinct parts, everybody gets to show-off here, whether it’s Bruce’s wordplay, Clarence Clemons’ sax hooks, or David Sancious’ piano lick. The band was still forming, but already had plenty to show off.

4. Prove it All Night: One of the last songs on Darkness on the Edge of Town, this declaration of love and lust has a dramatic hook, a raw guitar solo, and Clemons’ most elegant, perfect solo. Most of the songs on Darkness are about maturity and accepting responsibility, but this is about trying to hold onto youth for as long as possible.

5. The River: Springsteen is a master at writing tragedies and this is one of the most painful. Opening with just guitar and harmonica, he sings about a young couple forced into adulthood and the disintegration of their love. Based on his sister, her husband, and the pregnancy that grounded them. It has his best line, too: “Now, those memories come back to haunt me, they haunt me like a curse/is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse?”

6. Racing in the Street: The centerpiece of Darkness, “Racing” is an elegy to adolescence. The narrator is trying to make up for all the mistakes he’s made and his girlfriend is lost as a result. Driven by Roy Bittan’s piano and Danny Federici’s organ line, these six minutes tie the album together. Even after the drums and guitar kick in, the track doesn’t speed up. It’s hard to see a way that it could.

7. Dancing in the Dark: Once Bruce buffed-up and released Born in the U.S.A., he was a renowned pop star. Bittan uses the same synth-sound that made the album instantly recognizable. The bouncy hook adds layers that make you forget the song is about someone having a breakdown in their suburban life. Clarence’s dreamy solo at the end makes this Springsteen’s purest pop.

8. Jungleland: The closing track from Born to Run is epic to say the least. Opening with a classical piano lick and a violin, Springsteen tells the tale of the Magic Rat and the Barefoot Girl in Jersey. Once it breaks into full rock ‘n’ roll, it makes the working class exterior seem like an opera where “kids flash guitars just like switch-blades” and ballets are fought in the alley. It’s a fantasy gangster film about garage bands. After a soaring solo from Clemons, tragedy sets in with the piano, as a deal goes wrong, ending in cuffs and death. Nobody probably knows exactly how the story ends except Bruce, but you still ache and it’s the only appropriate ending to the masterpiece.

9. Atlantic City: From Bruce’s solo masterpiece Nebraska, this track fits in perfectly with these sparse, bleak tales of the betrayal in the Reagan era. A guitar and harmonica accompany the story of the decaying grandeur of Atlantic City and the narrator who is left with no other option but to get into crime. A mandolin emerges as Bruce harmonizes with himself, this is him at his most chilling.

10. Brilliant Disguise: From Tunnel of Love, this tune is about the doubt of a lover, as he feels his girlfriend is losing interest. Calm keyboards are overridden by an electric guitar in the chorus, on of his simplest and gorgeous melodies. One of the few songs that don’t add the political, this is best left as a love song. It has a pleasant ease and a surprising maturity.



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