Our Top 10 Bruce Springsteen cover songs article takes a look at some classic rock songs that Bruce Springsteen took and made them his own. When Bruce Springsteen covers a song he rarely sticks to the track’s original arrangement. As a musician who got his start working in clubs as a bar band musician, Bruce Springsteen was trained in the art of covering songs. As his career exploded, Bruce Springsteen never forgot his bar band roots as his concerts were so long, some fans used to remark that he thought he was still working all night long in the clubs as his concerts would usually go past the three hour mark on nightly basis.
The man has covered so many songs in concert we could probably do a top 100 Bruce Springsteen covers songs list. However we are going to narrow this one down to just ten which in the end makes it more fun and of course way more difficult to do. As Bruce Springsteen has recently released so many of his legendary concerts on CD sets, pretty much everything is now an official release. So we are going to dig deep into the vaults for this one.
# 10 – Pretty Flamingo
We open up our Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Cover Songs list with the fabulous song entitled “Pretty Flamingo.” This songs was played consistently on Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 tour. The version presented here is from the Roxy Theater in L.A. on October 17th 1975. You always got a great story with “Pretty Flamingo,” and Bruce didn’t disappoint with this one. Little Steven payes a front role in this one in the story. The band is just so soulful on their cover version of this great Manfred Mann song. The other great version of this song was recorded at the Hammersmith in London also on the 75 tour.
# 9 – Higher And Higher
Continuing with our Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Cover Songs list we jump a couple of years ahead in time to 1977 and Bruce Springsteen’s great live version of Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher.” The version we have presented here is from the legendary Boston Music Hall concerts during the short 1977 tour that Bruce and the band embarked on before the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album was released a year later. This jam was recorded on the night of March 25th 1977. Another great version was recorded at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert when John Fogerty, Darlene Love and Sam Moore joined Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band for a rousing version.
# 8 – Highway To Hell
From “Higher To Higher,” to “Highway to Hell.” No one would have ever believed it. But yes, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band paid tribute to AC/DC while they were in Australia in this over the top rocking version of the AC/DC classic. Did they pull it off? Oh yeah, times a hundred. It’s such a powerful big sounding version done Bruce Springsteen style. A cover version that we could listen to over and over again. The live version was recorded in November of 2014.
# 7 – Quarter to Three
We couldn’t do a Bruce Springsteen covers songs list without including his long time show closer “Quarter To Three.” This classic Gary U.S. Bonds song closed out so many of Bruce Springsteen 1970s concerts. Most fans had never heard of the song until Bruce Springsteen started performing it to close his concerts. His love of the Gary U.S. Bonds song eventually led to Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven producing and writing songs for Gary U.S,. Bonds comeback albums in the early 1980s that were fantastic. This version is from the legendary 1975 Hammersmith concerts.
# 6 – High Hopes
Finally a studio track to make this Bruce Springsteen covers songs list. Landing in the number six spot on our Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Cover Songs list we present the song “High Hopes.” This great version of a song written by a little know group called The Havellinas first appeared on the Bruce Springsteen EP Blood Brothers in 1995. However, the version that was completely killer featured Tom Morello on guitar and was released on the great compilation album also entitled High Hopes.
# 5 -Who’ll Stop the Rain
At the halfway point on our Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Cover Songs list is the legendary Creedence Clearwater Revival song entitled “Who’ll Stop The Rain.” This was a song that Bruce Springsteen often performed during his 1980s period. The music of Creedence Clearwater Revival had a huge impact on the life of Bruce Springsteen. You can hear the sincerity in Springsteen’s voice as he sings this song. One of the all time great E Street Band live performances on a consistent basis. Listen to Bruce sing “Well I Want To Know at the end of the song. Nobody could sing like that, Wow! That’s why we love Bruce so much.
# 4 – Jersey Girl
Hard-core Bruce Springsteen fans all knew that Bruce Springsteen did not compose “Jersey Girl.” However, the song was released at a time when Bruce Springsteen i was it sitting on top of the World after the success of Born In The USA and his Live 1975–1985 album. They were millions of new Bruce Springsteen fans that just came into the scene at the time. So many of them had no idea that this amazing live single release was not written by Bruce Springsteen but rather by Tom Waits. If there ever was a song that Bruce Springsteen did not compose but made it so much his own, it was Tom Waits “Jersey Girl.”
# 3 – Trapped
Moving along on our Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Cover Songs list we present the song “Trapped.” This was one of the first officially released Bruce Springsteen covers songs as this was issued on the We Are The World album in 1985. Bruce Springsteen’s version of Jimmy Cliff’s song “Trapped,” has always been one of the most exciting and dynamic arrangements the band has ever performed live in concert. The contrast between the verse and chorus is simply off the charts.
# 2 – War
In the number two spot our Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Cover Songs list is the song that was released as the first single from Bruce Springsteen’s legendary five LP Live 1975-1985 album that was released in 1985. This was a big single release as it was the first single released in the follow up to the massive Born In The U.S.A. album. This classic song was a cover of the famous Edwin Starr song. For Bruce Springsteen it would become a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986.
# 1 – “Devil With a Blue Dress On”/”Good Golly Miss Molly” medley
We close out our Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Cover Songs list with the classic Mitch Ryder medley entitled “Devil With a Blue Dress On”/”Good Golly Miss Molly” Their are quite a few show closers on this list, but this one was the best of them all. Just when you thought that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band had run out of gas at those classic 1970s and 80s concerts, they would pull this one out and take it to a whole new level. So many nights this amazing medley exhausted audiences and left them dripping in pure sweat and pools of happiness filled with memories that we would all never forget.
Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Cover Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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