Bruce Springsteen’s 10 best songs – according to Egil

bruce springsteen

Well now I’m no hero
That’s understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow
Back your hair
Well the nights busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere

Bruce is one of our greatest heroes. He’s still a young guy, and a celebration is due when he turns 65..

Here is my list of his 10 best songs.

1. Thunder Road

The screen door slams
Marys dress sways
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that’s me and I want you only

Live London 75:

Live 1976:

1. Prove It All Night

I’ve been working real hard, trying to get my hands clean,
Tonight we’ll drive that dusty road from
Monroe to Angeline,
To buy you a gold ring and pretty dress of blue,
Baby just one kiss will get these things for you,
A kiss to seal our fate tonight,
A kiss to prove it all night.

Live 1978 (Passaic, NJ):

Live New York City – 2000:

 

2. Born To Run

In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway american dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin out over the line
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
Its a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while were young
`cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Live 84/85:

 

3. Racing In The Street

I got a sixty-nine Chevy with a 396
Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor
She’s waiting tonight down in the parking lot
Outside the Seven-Eleven store
Me and my partner Sonny built her straight out of scratch
And he rides with me from town to town
We only run for the money got no strings attached
We shut `em up and then we shut `em down
Tonight tonight the strip’s just right
I wanna blow `em off in my first heat
Summer’s here and the time is right
We’re goin’ racin’ in the street

Live 78 Houston:

4. Jungleland

The rangers had a homecoming in harlem late last night
And the magic rat drove his sleek machine over the jersey state line
Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a dodge
Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain
The rat pulls into town rolls up his pants
Together they take a stab at romance and disappear down flamingo lane

Live 75 London:

 

5. The Promise

Johnny works in a factory and Billy works downtown
Terry works in a rock and roll band
Lookin’ for that million-dollar sound I got a little job down in Darlington But some nights I don’t go
Some nights I go to the drive-in, or some nights I stay home
I followed that dream just like those guys do up on the screen
And I drive a Challenger down Route 9 through the dead ends and all the bad scenes
When the promise was broken, I cashed in a few of my dreams

Live 2000 – New York City:

 

6. Atlantic City

Well, they blew up the chicken man in philly last night
Now, they blew up his house, too
Down on the boardwalk they’re gettin ready for a fight
Gonna see what them racket boys can do

Now, there’s trouble bustin in from outta state
And the d.a. can’t get no relief
Gonna be a rumble out on the promenade
And the gamblin commissions hangin on by the skin of his teeth

New York City – 2000:

 

7. Lost In The Flood (75-live verion)

The ragamuffin gunner is returnin’ home like a hungry runaway
He walks through town all alone
He must be from the fort he hears the high school girls say
His countryside’s burnin’ with wolfman fairies dressed in drag for homicide
The hit and run, plead sanctuary, `neath a holy stone they hide
They’re breakin’ beams and crosses with a spastic’s reelin’ perfection
Nuns run bald through Vatican halls pregnant, pleadin’ immaculate conception

Hammersmith, London – 75:

 

8. The Promised Land

On a rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desert
I pick up my money and head back into town
Driving cross the Waynesboro county line
I got the radio on and I’m just killing time
Working all day in my daddy’s garage
Driving all night chasing some mirage
Pretty soon little girl I’m gonna take charge

The dogs on Main Street howl `cause they understand
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister I ain’t a boy no I’m a man
And I believe in a promised land

Landover, Maryland on November 24/1980

 

9. State Trooper

New jersey turnpike, ridin on a wet night `neath the refinrys glow
Out where the great black rivers flow
License, registration: I aint got none
But I got a clear conscience `bout the things that I done

Mister state trooper, please don’t stop me
Please don’t stop me, please don’t stop me
Maybe you got a kid, maybe you got a pretty wife
The only thing that I gots been bothrin me my whole life
Mister state trooper, please don’t stop me
Please don’t stop me, please don’t stop me

Phillipshalle, Dusseldorf, Germany 2005:

 

10. Point Blank (78-version)

Do you still say your prayers little darling, do you go to bed at night
Praying that tomorrow everything will be alright
But tommorow’s fall in number, in number one by one
You wake up and you’re dying, you don’t even know what from

Well, they shot you point blank
You been shot in the back, baby, point blank
You been fooled this time, little girl, that’s a fact
Right between the eyes, baby, point blank
Right between the pretty lies that they tell

Houston 78:

-Egil

24 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen’s 10 best songs – according to Egil”

  1. Guys .. yes to Thunder Road, it’s awesome and timeless. Born to Run, also. And, perchance … Independence Day? What a guy … Thanks for the post!

    1. Thanks for your input David.

      Independence Day is great… but not top 10.

      Maybe we should expand the list… top 50 / 100 ..hmmm

      -Egil

  2. You prefer the Jersey Bruce before he changed his accent to a midwestern twang?

    Some of the live stuff from the 70’s is really special.

    Great list.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Peter,

      Well.. his 3 best albums imo is by “Jersey Bruce”: BTR, Darkness & Nebraska.

      75 / 78 tours were really special. It would be fun to put up a list of important concerts from each tour to collect… the list from 78-tour would probably be the longest 🙂

      -Egil

  3. 1. Candy’s Room
    2. Racing In The Streets
    3. Thunder Road
    4. Darkness On The Edge Of Town
    5. My Father’s House
    6. Highway Patrolman
    7. Factory
    8. Jack Of All Trades
    9. Empty Sky
    10. My Beautiful Reward
    11. Long Walk Home
    12. Reason To Believe
    13.Because The Night
    14. Born To Run
    15. Dancing In The Dark
    16. The Ghost Of Tom Joad
    17. The Rising
    18. The Promised Land
    19. One Step Up
    20. Adam Raised A Cain
    21. I’m On Fire
    22. We Take Care Of Our Own
    23. Radio Nowhere
    24. Jungleland
    25. Sandy
    26. The River
    27. Streets of Philadelphia
    28. Back In Your Arms
    29. Streets of Fire
    30. Badlands
    31. Point Blank
    32. We Are Alive
    33. My City of Ruins
    34. Devils And Dust
    35. Stolen Car
    36. Nebraska
    37. Born In The USA
    38. No Surrender
    39. Brilliant Disguise
    40. Rocky Ground
    41. Worlds Apart
    42. Rosalita
    43. Spirit In The Night
    44. If I Should Fall Behind
    45,. Last To Die
    46. Independence Day
    47. Open All Night
    48. The Wrestler
    49. My Home Town
    50. New York City Serenade

    1. Thanks for the list Chris!

      Some comments:
      * I suspect you’re a “Darkness/Nebraska” guy.. I’m a “BTR/Darkness/Nebraska” guy..
      * What about “Prove It All Night”-78 live ?
      * Candy’s Room is a cool number 1.. not top 20 on my list.. but great song
      * DOTEOT is in-and-out of my top 10.. feeling bad for not including it this time
      * Jack of all Trades as number 8…..?
      * Empty Sky… hmmm
      * Dancing in the dark 15……???? Great lyrics, but … (the live versions on Wrecking Ball Tour are great though)

      .. some comments finished 🙂

      -Egil

  4. Great list, it really shows some thought went into it.
    I count myself lucky to be an adult going to Springsteen shows, which I believe are second to none. Lots of other great artists that deliver top shows, but there is something extra special about Springsteen live.

    Keep up the fantastic work on your site. Your music taste is fantastic!

    1. Thanks Chuck!

      Yup.. creating the list was hard work… listening to all albums.. and a bunch of bootlegs (concerts). But I did this a couple of years ago.. now I’m only “updating” when new stuff comes around. Of course I shuffle the songs around a bit, but top 5 remains fairly static.

      judging on your comment.. I suspect your music taste is fantastic too 🙂

      -Egil

  5. I got a job working construction for the Jonestown Company
    But lately there ain’t been much work on account of the economy
    Now all those things that seemed so important
    They just vanished right into the air
    Now I act like I don’t remember, and Mary acts like she don’t care

  6. You forgot all of the great songs from the second album including Incident on 57th Street (clearly a top five song), E Street Shuffle, New York City Serendade and Rosalita.

    1. Hi Ben.. and thanks for your comment!

      I didn’t forget them… 57th & Rosalita were strong contenders.. but not quite top 10 in my view.

      -Egil

  7. It’s your list and I wouldn’t argue that Wrecking Ball is an album that compares to Darkness, say; I happen to think Bruce has lost touch with his constituency somewhat, but Land of Hope And Dreams is a song for the ages, as are a couple of songs off his last great album, Magic, including the subtle title song and the irresistible Long Walk Home.

    Are they good enough for your list? Impossible to compare! But it’s enjoyable to try… 🙂

    1. Hi again,

      LoHAD is a fantastic song.. among his 25 best I believe. Wrecking Ball is not my fav Bruce album.. but Magic has some really good songs, my fav being “Long Walk Home” & Terry’s Song.

      -Egil

    2. Constituency? I dunno…Wrecking BAll ISN’T my favorite, but I do think “WE Are Alive” and Rocky Ground speak to the everyday, struggling American as well as the hope to pull through.

  8. That’s 11 songs – you have two #1’s – and the most recent of these is 30 years old. You don’t think Bruce has written a great song in 30 years?

    1. Hi Kieran & Thanks for feedback!

      yep.. 11 it is, could not separate TR & PIAN… so 11 it will be. 🙂

      Bruce has written MANY great songs in recent years, but they don’t belong among his 10/11 best in my opinion.

      -Egil

      1. Recent years? Do you count THE RISING in that? If it is Recent enough, I’d count “INTO THE FIRE” and “You’re Missing”…two songs that show his ability to drive a feeling or two home with relatively UNCOMPLEX lyrics (I consider Jungeland, on of my all time favorites…so hard to choose!) Complex…says a LOT with so much imagery.

    1. Hi Jerry & Thanks for the feedback!

      ARAC is a great song from Bruce’s second best album 🙂
      Not on my top 10 list…. but when Hallgeir publishes his list.. it might be there.. (at least I know he used to have it pretty high up)

      -Egil

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