Even though I’ve never had to make a list for anyone like Rory and Steve did, I figured I would join in with my playlist as well.
1. Thunder Road- As Bruce said, about the song on his VH1 Stortellers, “It’s an invitation…we invite you to something, not sure what yet.” It’s one of Bruce’s most well known songs and the perfect way to introduce someone to Bruce Springsteen. This very well could be the definitive Springsteen song.
2. The Rising- This is the song that re-introduced Bruce to myself and my generation. We didn’t have to be around for Born to Run or Born In The USA. We could claim this song, and the whole album, as ours. As much as I love his classic stuff, this song will always be special to me.
3. Night- This up tempo rocker, is one of my favorites to play before I go out on a Friday night. Yes, I really do listen to a song about going out, before I do. Laugh if you want, but you’ll definitely be pumped for your next night out if you do it too.
4. Downbound Train - Easily one of my top 5 songs, I absolutely love this song. A great opening guitar riff, pounding drums, and some of Bruce’s best lyrics is an easy formula for a Springsteen Classic. Mandatory listening.
5. The River- Ever wonder where Bruce got his reputation as an excellent storyteller? It’s from this song. I used to think this was the definitive Springsteen song, but it’s just not rocking enough to truly show off all of Bruce‘s skills. Still easily one of my favorites though, and if you wanted to explain to my why this is his best song, I won’t argue too much
6. Born to Run- Do you really have to ask why? It’s one of the most iconic rock songs of all time. And as much as I can do without some of his other pop hits (“Dancing In The Dark“, I’m looking at you) I never get sick of this song. And as cliché as it may sound, this song is truly the anthem for New Jersey’s youth.
7. The Way- A song that only recently was released on The Promise, and even then as a hidden track. This slow-paced song has what I consider to be Bruce’s most romantic lyrics. It may take a few listens to appreciate but I think you will agree that it belongs on this play list. It’s very simple, yet you can feel the sincerity and power in this ballad.
8. Candy's Room- Alright enough mushy sentimental crap. Let’s get down to a song we all want to hear, A hard rocking, heavy hitting song about being in love with a hooker. I love intro of softly spoken lyrics leading into a huge crescendo of the band kicking in and Bruce providing us with another classic. Also one of Bruce’s shortest songs, but try not to get pumped up listening to this song. Go ahead, you won’t be able to.
9. Tougher Than the Rest - I know I just said “The Way” was his most romantic song. And it is. But those are idealistic, fantasy lyrics. This song is the real deal. Pain, passion, but above all else commitment. In particular him singing this live with his wife Patti, makes for a particularly moving song.
10. Atlantic City- I had to decide which version of this song to include, live or studio. They are 2 totally different songs. Not lyrically, that way they are identical. But like most songs from Nebraska or The Ghost Of Tom Joad, when Bruce plays those songs live with the E Street Band, it’s a totally different song musically. I decided to go with the original acoustic version, but you can’t go wrong with either one.
11. No Surrender- I never used to consider this song one of my favorites until recently. I always thought it was good , but he had better songs. But as one grows older and realizes they can’t hold on to the past anymore, this song takes on a special meaning. Rather than being a depressing song about getting old, Bruce instead wrote about feeling nostalgic but still forging ahead.
12. Unsatisfied Heart- I I covered this song fairly well in a previous post. I really wish this song was more well known.
13. Darkness On The Edge Of Town- If you don’t like this song you’re an idiot. It’s beautiful and it’s powerful. When Bruce was honored by being inducted into the Kennedy Center, “Born On The Fourth of July” author Ron Kovic gave an incredible introduction that will tell you all you need to know about this one.
14. Leap Of Faith - Although most fans agree that Bruce’s non-E Street albums pale in comparison, there are still some great songs on there. This song is definitely one of the great ones. I’d like to see this brought out more often on the live concerts, just to switch it up a bit.
15. Out In The Streets- Definitely one of the most fun songs to hear live. Not every Bruce song has to be introspective or thought-provoking. Some are just good old-fashioned fun rock and roll. If you’re going to see Bruce on his upcoming tour and lucky enough to hear this gem live, you’ll know why I included this.
16. Death To My Hometown- I know what you’re thinking “What? OB!!! Surely you’re not including something off his brand new album as something that would be mandatory listening to understanding Bruce Springsteen, are you?” You’re damn right I am! This is my favorite song on the new album, and although I don’t know how much longer Bruce will continue to tour, I’d like to see this remain in the setlist beyond this tour.
16. Incident On 57th Street- It’s my favorite Springsteen song, and although I’ve never been fortunate enough to hear this one live, I’m hoping that will change on the upcoming tour. This song is everything that is Bruce Springsteen, it’s a love song, it’s got kick-ass guitar soloing to make it rock, it tells a story, but more than anything it sings about hope. At least I think it does, and it’s my favorite.
I hope you have enjoyed reading our playlists.