Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Songs

Bruce Springsteen Songs

Feature Photo: Anthony Correia / Shutterstock.com

Our Top 10 Bruce Springsteen songs list attempts to do the impossible in picking a top 10 Bruce Springsteen songs of all time list. This is a top 10 list we have pretty much avoided in putting together since we started this site ten years ago. Our approach has always been to present a top 10 Bruce Springsteen songs list by the decade. So, in the past, we have done our top 10 Bruce Springsteen songs of the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, and of the 2000s. Even putting together those lists was quite a difficult task. Bruce Springsteen is a musical artist that has always grown tremendously in between albums and he consistently released groundbreaking and wonderful music for almost 50 years now..

There was a huge difference in between Springsteen’s first three albums and even his fourth. The artist on Darkness On The Edge Of Town did not sound like the same artist who had released Born To Run three years earlier. The same goes for the differences between Born To Run and The Wild Innocent & E Street Shuffle and Greetings From Asbury Park. Yet, in concert, all the songs from his first four albums blended perfectly together as we all saw who Bruce Springsteen really was on the 78 tour.

Bruce Springsteen’s The River album was a  two-record set that featured Bruce the performer in the studio while also delivering some new classic Bruce Springsteen songs. Nebraska was a critics favorite that was a brave step for Bruce Springsteen to take. It also served as a setup for the solo Bruce Sprintseen career that Bruce would embark on many years later with his Ghost Of Tom Joad and Devils And Dust albums. That all culminated with his Springsteen on Broadway shows.

Between 1980 and 2021 there has been a mix of great Bruce Springsteen albums released along with some lesser ones. We love them all, but some we have enjoyed more than others. Born In The U.S.A turned on millions of new fans to the sound of Bruce Springsteen while his older fans sort of frowned on that album. Yet there’s no denying the impact that record had on pop culture in the middle of the 1980s.

Bruce Springsteen went a long time in between releasing albums with the full E Street  Band as seventeen years had passed between Born In The U.S.A  in 1984 and The Rising in 2001. In between, and after both albums, there were many other great releases highlighted by the Tunnel Of Love album in 1987 and 2007’s Magic. We have enjoyed his most recent releases too like Working on a Dream, Wrecking Ball,  High Hopes, Western Stars and Letter to You.

With so much incredible music released, the challenge in picking a top 10 Bruce Springsteen songs of all time list simply comes down to personal choice. Usually, we try to spread out our best songs lists to present a variety of songs from different points and time periods of an artist’s career. Yet, utilizing that approach with Bruce on only ten songs just won’t work. In the end, we decided to compose it in a deserted island top 10 list. There are some pretty big ones missing from our top 10, most notably “Badlands,” and “Born In The U.S.A.” which we will probably be pretty beat up on for that. In fact, there is actually nothing from the Born In The U.S.A. album on the list which tells us something we already knew many years ago. Nonetheless, if we could only listen to ten Bruce Springsteen songs ever again, these would be the ten we would choose. So here we go………

# 10 – Your Own Worst Enemy

In 2007, Bruce Springsteen released the album entitled Magic. This was a shocking album to many longtime Bruce Springsteen fans who were really not expecting such a brilliant album that would deliver such a fresh sound for Bruce Springsteen. That fresh sound was actually influenced by the music of the 1960s with Beach Boys and The Byrds type harmonies wrapped around songs that were fueled lyrically by Springsteen’s frustration with the political climate of the 2000s in the U.S.

There were many great songs on the album that utilized this retro 1960s approach, but the standout in our eyes was the beautiful but dark and angry song entitled “Your Own Worst Enemy.” This is one we could listen to over and over again. The song’s closing line is one of the best Bruce Springsteen has ever written.

# 9 – The Rising

Our second of the only two Bruce Springsteen songs to make this list from the 21st century was the title track to Bruce Springsteen’s 2001 album The Rising. As a New Yorker who used to work in the World Trade Center as a musician, this album hit close to home to me as well as for millions of New Yorkers who had ties to people who worked in the WTC or lived in New York City. Those are days none of us will ever forget. Bruce Springsteen’s song “The Rising,” was a song of hope for so many.  It stands as great gospel rock and roll song that is as uplifting as anything he has ever composed or performed. There are times when we really need performers and artists to rescue us from tragedy. Bruce Springsteen answered the call in magnificent fashion.

# 8 – Jungleland

In the number eight spot on our top 10 Bruce Springsteen list we present the song entitled “Jungleland.” There was no way we could not include this masterpiece on our Bruce Springsteen songs list. “Jungleland,” served as the closing number on the 1975 album Born To Run. Do you remember the first time you brought the Born To Run album and heard this song? We wonder how many rock fans sat in their bedrooms listening to this piece of music with their jaws dropped and could not believe what they were hearing.

“Jungleland,” is probably Springsteen’s most cinematic song which is saying a great deal because Bruce Springsteen has written many incredible cinematic pieces.  I remember my father who had worked in the Copacabana during the Rat Pack days remarking about how beautiful Clarence Clemons’ saxophone solo was. It is a piece of music that was so well written and performed it emotionally touches anyone who listens to it. For those of us who were lucky to catch the 78 tour, the performance of “Jungleland,” every night brought the house down, It is one of rock and roll’s greatest moments.

# 7 – Growin Up – Live Version

If you ever caught Bruce Springsteen live in the 1970s, you will definitely understand this list much better than those who become Bruce Springsteen fans in the 80s and beyond. Bruce Springsteen’s 1970s concerts, especially the 78 tour were pretty much rock and roll religious experiences. The greatest concert I ever saw in my life was  Sprintseen at MSG during the summer of 1978. This live version of “Growing Up,” was recorded at the Roxy Theater in California during that same summer of 78. The story that Bruce Springsteentells and how the band explodes back into the song is just one of those rock and roll moments where one just can’t explain the euphoric feeling that comes over the body in that one moment in time. And amazingly, as I am writing this and listening to the song in the background, that same feeling I got in 78 and again in 85 when the live record came out just happened again at that one moment in the song……. rock and roll never forgets!

# 6 – Drive All Night

While Bruce Springsteen’s The River album was fueled by his first top 40 hit “Hungry Heart,” and of course, the classic title track “The River,” the real gem of the album was the slow moving deeply emotional track “Drive All Night.”  This is a song that will bring tears to your eyes. The song’s origins began as the coda to the live version of
“Backstreets.” Fans often labeled that section of the song as “Sad Eyes.” “Backstreets,” was one of the highlights of the 78s tour because of the coda that Springsteen had added to the live version at the end of the song. Two years later many of us were shocked to hear “Sad Eyes,” turned into an entire song of its own in this beautiful track called “Drive All Night.” Songs like this are why we were enthralled with the music of Bruce Springsteen.

# 5 – Backstreets

And speaking of “Backstreets.” This amazing song has long been hailed by hard core 70s Springsteen fans as one of the greatest songs Bruce Springsteen ever recorded. Charles Cross named his great fan magazine after this song. The magazine would eventually turn into the huge Bruce Springsteen fansite called Backstreets,com. One of our favorite sites on the internet.

“Backstreets,” was one of the best songs released on the Born To Run album which was an album that contained many of the most remarkable songs of Bruce Springsteen’s career.  “Backstreets,” closed out side one in what may be one of the best side one closing tracks of all time. This was an album side that opened with “Thunder Road,” and then squeezed in “Tenth Avene Freez Out,” and “Night in between those two songs. What an album side” The story of Bruce and Terry trying to learn how to walk like the heroes they thought we all had to be is a story that any of us who grew up as teens in the 1970s lived through every day of our lives back then.

# 4 – Darkness On The Edge Of Town

It seemed like a lifetime between the Bruce Springsteen albums Born To Run and Darkness On The Edge Of Town. Bruce Springsteen’s legal battles with his former manager Mike Appel delayed the release of his follow-up album to Born To Run. When the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album was finally released, many Springsteen fans were shocked in how different Darkness On The Edge Of Town sounded compared to Born To Run. Just Bruce Springsteen’s voice alone was radically different. It was an album that was much darker and more stripped-down than Born To Run.

The album opener “Badlands,” was probably the closest thing to the Born To Run album than anything else on Darkness. Many fans will give us a hard time for not including “Badlands,” on this list. Yet, to us, the heart of the Darkness album was its own title track “Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

As dark as the song was, it stands as one of Bruce Springsteen’s greatest songs of hope. It’s in the narrator’s darkest moment when he stares into the abyss and basically, says screw it, I’m not giving up, I’m not giving into that darkness,  it doesn’t matter anymore….. I’m moving on.

“Darkness On The Edge Of Town, is a song that has probably rescued many people at certain times in their lives. It did most certainly for this writer.

# 3 – Rosalita

When speaking of the impact that Bruce Springsteen has had in classic rock history one must always put to the forefront his incredible reputation as one of the greatest musical performers of all time. There are not many rock stars that have performed live with as much intensity and energy for as long as Bruces Springsteen did every night he took the concert stage. The song “Rosalita,” was always a concert highlight. It was the party song where the lights were all turned on as the song was usually reserved for the end of the night along with “Born To Run.” Its rocks, it roars and it takes you on a cinematic adventure like no other party song could, There are always songs like “Twist And Shout,” and “Mony Mony,” but “Rosalita,” took it to another level. Don’t argue with us about this one. The song even sounds live on the record.

# 2 – Born To Run

The easiest argument to make for any Bruce Springsteen song to ever appear on a top 10 list would be for his classic and groundbreaking recording called “Born To Run.” We wonder how many people reading this can say that the first Bruce Springsteen song they ever heard was Born To Run? We once read that when Bruce Springsteen finished writing the song Born To Rune he knew that his life was about to change. This is easily one of the most explosive visually-oriented songs ever written One did not need a video to see the imagery that Bruce Springsteen painted in this song. Born To Run stans as the songs that would inspire a new generation of songwriters and give a good hard kick in the butt to some older writers that it was time to elevate their game, because there was now a new Boss, and it wasn’t the same as the old boss.

# 1 – Thunder Road

We wrap up our top 10 Bruce Springsteen songs list with the same number one we picked on our best Bruce Springsteen songs of the 70s list. Everyone has their own favorite Bruce Springsteen song, and that choice at times may change, but for us, it has always been and will forever be “Thunder Road.”  As the opening song on the Born To Run album, the story of finding a better life ignites the entire album that sadly closes with the bedroom light being turned off in Junglenad. Yet, at the start, it’s all about Mary and the will to win. It’s an anthem that worked just as well in its simple piano and vocal performance that opened the live 75-85 album to its bombastic Phil Spector sound alike production on the Born To Run album.  The soundtrack of so many of our teen lives for us 70s kids, starts with “Thunder Road.”

The ones that we wrestled with in putting together this list and we wish we could have included them also on the top 10 are below in chronological order….

# – Lost In The Flood

# – Incident on 57th Street

# – Meeting Across The River

# – Badlands

# – Something In The Night

# – Prove It All Night

# – The River

# –  Atlantic City

# – Highway Patrolman

# –  Bobby Jean

#  – Born In The U.S.A.

# –  Brilliant Disguise

# – Tunnel Of Love

# – Back In My Arms Again

# –  This Life

# –  Kingdom of Days

# – There Goes My Miracle

Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at end of article.

DMCA.com Protection Status

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

98 Degrees Songs
10 Best 98 Degrees Songs
Summer Walker Songs
Top 10 Summer Walker Songs
Dru Hill Songs
Top 10 Dru Hill Songs
Ian Whitcomb Songs
Top 10 Ian Whitcomb Songs
Rolling Stones Albums
Top 10 Rolling Stones Albums
Steely Dan Albums
The Musical Virtues of the Anomaly Known As Steely Dan
Kate Bush The Sensual World Album
Top 10 Kate Bush Albums
Sammy Hagar Albums
Top 10 Sammy Hagar Albums
Three Dog Night
Three Dog Night: Underappreciated Hitmakers
Flea Applauds Kiedis’ Work On Latest Red Hot Chili Peppers Album 
Flea Applauds Kiedis’ Work On Latest Red Hot Chili Peppers Album 
Ramones Songs
When The Ramones Appeared On “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.”
Springsteen Jams With Paul McCartney Last Night At Metlife Stadium
Don Kirschner Rock Concert
Before MTV, There Was Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert
Rock Stars Appearing And Selling Their Songs Out In Commercials
Discovering U2
Discovering The Band U2
Classic Rock History Rock And Roll Quiz # 4
Classic Rock History Rock And Roll Quiz # 4
Motorhead Album Ace Of Spades
Motorhead Ace of Spades: Album Review
Derek Trucks Already Free
Derek Trucks Band Already Free: Album Review
Metallica …And Justice For All : Album Review
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication: Album Review
David Bowie Songs
David Bowie’s Influence On Music And Society
Mariah Carey Albums
Complete List Of Mariah Carey Albums And Discography
Aerosmith Band
Why Aerosmith Is The Greatest American Rock Band Of All Time
Kiss Profile
Kiss : Artist Profile – New York City’s Iconic Classic Rock Band