Bruce Springsteen rose to fame in the mid seventies on the strength of his rebellious image, his powerful live shows, and his emotional, poetic lyrics. Backed by The E Street Band, one of the finest musical ensembles of their generation, Springsteen recorded epic albums and put on tremendous live shows, quickly earning a reputation as the savior of American rock. He reached his peak of popularity with 1984's Born In The USA, which combined pop hooks and politically charged lyrics. Taking advantage of an extended break from the E Streeters, Springsteen explored many different artistic directions throughout the nineties. Finally reuniting with his old band in 1999, Springsteen is continuing today as one of the most successful rock artists in the world.
The E Street Band:
Bruce Springsteen - Roy Bittan - Clarence Clemons - Danny Federici - Nils Lofgren
Patti Scialfa - Garry Tallent - Steven Van Zandt - Max Weinberg - Soozie Tyrell
THE STUDIO ALBUMS (ranked in order of greatness):
1. Born To Run (8/25/75)
No other album contains this much raw emotion and desperation, as Springsteen explores our youthful desires to escape the simple life and find success and fame.
2. Darkness On The Edge Of Town (6/2/78)
The follow-up to Born To Run is intensely emotional and contains some of Springsteen's most poetic lyrics. It tackles much larger issues than its predecessor, but as always, Springsteen states his ideas flawlessly.
3. The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle (9/11/73)
On his second album, Springsteen hits full stride for the first time and he begins to explore the narrative lyrical style that defined his best years.
4. The Rising (7/30/02)
As a response to the tragedies of 9/11, this is one of the most important recordings of modern rock music. The album explores the numerous social and emotional implications of the tragedy, while still conveying Springsteen's cautious optimism.
5. Nebraska (9/20/82)
Certainly the darkest album of his career, Springsteen recorded the album alone, backed only by his own guitar and harmonica work. The result is a gritty, intense recording that sounds rough around the edges, but still lyrically brilliant.
6. Born In The USA (6/4/84)
Never before did Springsteen's lyrical prowess combine with his remarkable pop sensibility for one album. The popular style of the music has often made people look on this as a patriotic, jingoistic work, but Springsteen's lyrics are just as critical and thought-provoking as ever.
7. The River (10/10/80)
This two-disc epic explores virtually every musical direction Springsteen could pack in to a single album. This album gives you lyrical narratives, pop hits, country ballads, and a few songs that are just plain fun.
8. Tunnel Of Love (10/9/87)
The most personal album of his career, Springsteen explores sadness, failed relationships, and our general quest for meaning in times of trouble.
9. Lucky Town (3/31/92)
The logical follow-up to Tunnel Of Love, this album finds its protagonist rediscovering happiness after difficult times.
10. Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. (1/5/73)
The debut record may find Springsteen struggling a bit to find his own lyrical style, but it still made for a few great songs that set the stage for his following masterpieces.
11. The Ghost Of Tom Joad (11/21/95)
Like Nebraska, Springsteen dumps the high production values in exchange for a stripped down, intense sound. Unfortunately, it doesn't work as well this time around, but we still get a few fine songs.
12. Human Touch (3/31/92)
This album's occasional greatness is separated by tracks that are merely mediocre by Springsteen's standards, and it includes a few songs that are simply bad.
OTHER ALBUMS (in alphabetical order):
18 Tracks (4/12/99)
This album is essential for fans looking for the "official" recording of The Promise... one of Springsteen's finest moments.
Chimes Of Freedom (5/5/88)
This mini-album has a few live songs, including the brilliant acoustic version of Born To Run.
Greatest Hits (2/28/95)
The first hits compilation is a decent single disc overview, and the newly recorded songs are very good.
In Concert: MTV Plugged (4/12/93)
The E Streeters are sorely missed, but Springsteen does his best to compensate for their absence.
Live 1975-1985 (10/10/86)
The quintessential live set includes performances from throughout Springsteen's live prime. This is the best evidence to support Springsteen's status as a legendary live performer.
Live In New York City (3/27/01)
Taken from the E Street Band reunion tour, this shows the band rediscovering the magic of the early shows.
The Essential Bruce Springsteen (11/11/03)
A two-disc career retrospective is complemented with a third disc of rarities.
This four-disc set of rarities, alternate takes, and b-sides is remarkably consistent, especially considering how long these songs had been around before finally being released.
OTHER ALBUMS OF INTEREST:
Light Of Day - Various Artists (2003)
This wonderful tribute contains many big-name artists covering Springsteen. Worth it just for Elvis Costello's wonderful cover of 'Brilliant Disguise'.
Better Days - Southside Johnny (1991)
Springsteen appears on the song, 'It's Been A Long Time'.
The Wind - Warren Zevon (2003)
Zevon's wonderful final album contains a wonderful vocal/lead guitar cameo from Springsteen on 'Disorder In The House'.
Enjoy Every Sandwich - Various Artists (2004)
Springsteen performs a cover of Warren Zevon's song, 'My Ride's Here'.
America: A Tribute To Heroes - Various Artists (2001)
Recorded only days after 9/11, this album contains a wonderful live version of 'My City Of Ruins'.
The Complete Video Anthology
Live In New York City
Live In Barcelona
In Concert: MTV Plugged
THE 100 GREATEST BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN SONGS (in order of greatness):
1. Born To Run
2. Born In The USA
3. Thunder Road
4. Dancing In The Dark
5. Hungry Heart
6. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
7. Glory Days
10. Brilliant Disguise
2. Thunder Road
3. Born To Run
4. Something in the Night
5. The Promised Land
6. The Rising
7. Better Days
8. Out in the Street
9. Dancing in the Dark
10. My City of Ruins
1. Thunder Road
2. 4th of July, Asbury Park
4. Atlantic City
5. The River
6. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
7. Lost in the Flood
8. New York City Serenade
9. Kitty's Back
10. Highway Patrolman
1. Born In the USA
2. Glory Days
3. Born to Run
4. No Surrender
5. The Rising
BEST LOVE SONGS:
1. Secret Garden
2. Brilliant Disguise
3. Tougher Than the Rest
4. If I Should Fall Behind
5. Back in Your Arms
For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside
That it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive
I wanna find one face that ain't looking through me
I wanna find one place, I wanna spit in the face of these badlands
Now I been lookin' for a job but it's hard to find
Down here it's just winners and losers and don't get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well I'm tired of comin' out on the losin' end
So honey last night I met this guy and I'm gonna do a little favor for him
Well I guess everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
- Atlantic City
Hey there mister can you tell me
What happened to the seeds I've sown
Can you give me a reason, sir, as to why they've never grown
They've just blown around from town to town
Back out on these fields
Where they fall from my hand
Back into the dirt of this hard land
- This Hard Land
Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny
But now you're sad your mama's mad
And your papa says he knows that I don't have any money
Tell him this is last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
Because a record company Rosie just gave me a big advance
- Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they're gone
On the wind, so Mary climb in
It's a town full of losers
And I'm pulling out of here to win.
- Thunder Road
PLACEMENT ON DDD LISTS (as of 1/05):
Live Rock Artists - #3 Popular Rock Artists of the 80s - #3 Lyricists - #6 Frontmen - #8 Songwriters - #12 Rock Artists - #14 Rock Artists of the 70s - #25 Music Ensembles - The E Street Band #16 Male Rock Vocalists - #63 Vocal Performances - Backstreets #12, Thunder Road #33, Born To Run #161 Influential Artists - #87 Lyrical Performances - 14 listed performances, including Thunder Road #4 Rock Albums - Born To Run #11, Darkness On The Edge Of Town #92 Live Rock Albums - Live 1975-85 #15, Live In NYC #90 Albums of the 80s - All four of his eighties albums appear on this list. Albums of the 70s - Born To Run #5, Darkness On The Edge Of Town #47 Debut Albums - Greetings From Asbury Park #34 Rock Songs - Born To Run #16, Thunder Road #59, Born In The USA #126 Rock Anthems - Born In The USA #9, Glory Days #42, Born To Run #61
Bruce Springsteen #13 (61.5 million certified units) Top Albums:
Born In The USA - 15 million units
Live 1975-1985 - 13 million units (highest ranking live album)
Born To Run - 6 million units
The River - 5 million units
"The only trick to writing a new song is you have to have a new idea.
And to have a new idea, you've got to be a bit of a new person, so that's
where the challenge is."
"The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with."
"When it comes to luck, you make your own."
"If you don't have a strong enough sense of who you are and what you're doing,
they'll kick you in the ass and knock you down and have a good time doing it."
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