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Bruce Springsteen's Songs: Ranked

THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON has never been a site limited to Hoyas coverage, and as the dog days of August take hold of our souls with the Hoyas season still months away, we now take a look at one of the site's biggest passions, the catalog of Bruce Springsteen.

Georgetown alum @ManvilleHoya, who you all should be following on twitter, has reviewed each and every Bruce song on his twitter feed over the past couple of years and has now come up with his rankings of Bruce's releases.

As promised, here are my rankings for Springsteen's releases. Covers are included, as they are part of the canon as far as I'm concerned. Songs in the Top 25 have accompanying live evidence of their greatness.

A couple notes on this whole endeavor, which took about 18 months in total. My ranking system has been unscientific- I'd review a daily song, then find a place in my Springsteen list word document that was after a song I liked more but before a song I liked less. I didn't compare each song to the next, so that could lead to a cascade effect where some songs ended up much lower than they should. That's why I've been very receptive to constructive feedback on placement. That being said, this is my list, and when I feel strongly about a song's placement, such as "Adam Raised A Cain" being very low or a lot of the acoustic album stuff falling below 200, I'll stand by it. It's not that I don't like acoustic; it's that I don't like these acoustic songs as much as the stuff that rocks. I turn to the immortal words of The Nature Boy as response.

Finally, here is my top five to complete the list.

1. Rosalita- This is the last song on every party mix I've ever made. It reminds me of being on the precipice of something great and the electricity that comes with being so positioned. No song makes me happier when it comes on, and that ultimately is what gave it the top slot.

"Now, I know your mama, she don't like me 'cause I play in a rock and roll band
And I know your daddy, he don't dig me, but he never did understand
Your papa lowered the boom, he locked you in your room
I'm coming to lend a hand
I'm coming to liberate you, confiscate you, I want to be your man
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)
Whoa, your papa says he knows (that I don't have any money)
Whoa, so your daddy says he knows I don't have (Papa says he knows that I don't have any money)
Well, tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
Because the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance
And my tires were slashed and I almost crashed, but the Lord had mercy
And my machine, she's a dud, out stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey
Well, hold on tight, stay up all night, 'cause Rosie, I'm comin' on strong
By the time we meet the morning light, I will hold you in my arms
I know a pretty little place in Southern California down San Diego way
There's a little café where they play guitars all night and all day
You can hear 'em in the back room strummin'
So hold tight, baby, 'cause don't you know daddy's comin"

2. Thunder Road- It was tough putting "Thunder Road" at #2. It's a nearly perfect song, and we sing it to PGS at bedtime every night. It's like ranking your favorite children at this point.

"You can hide 'neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a saviour to rise from these streets
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 night's busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back
Heaven's waiting on down the tracks."

3. Backstreets- An epic tale of lost friendship, rebellion, abandonment, and ultimately nostalgia, capped with a soaring refrain. A powerful song about what we do to get by when experiencing the alienation of youth and how the memories of that time shape us forever.

"Remember all the movies, Terry
We'd go see
Trying to learn to walk like the heroes
We thought we had to be
Well after all this time
To find we're just like all the rest
Stranded in the park
And forced to confess "

4. Born to Run- Windows down, crossing the Key Bridge from Georgetown into Virginia. This is a song about defying expectations, saying goodbye to limitations, and embracing opportunity. It's Springsteen's greatest contribution to the rock canon and I already feel I'm insulting it by making it #4.

"Together Wendy we can live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
Oh-oh, someday girl I don't know when
we're gonna get to that place
Where we really wanna go
and we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run."

5. Girls In Their Summer Clothes- This placement will get the greatest pushback from the peanut gallery, but I don't care. This is a beautiful, haunting song, which skillfully modernizes a 50s sound. I don't know that a song better captures what it feels like to get older, and it contains my single favorite Springsteen lyric. I have pretty good seats for the show on 9/1 and I'll be carrying a sign for this one, hoping to hear it live for the first time.

"She went away
She cut me like a knife
Had a beautiful thing
Maybe you just saved my life
In just a glance
Down here on Magic Street
Love's a fool's dance
I ain't got much sense but I still got my feet"

6. Promised Land

7. Jungleland

8. Atlantic City

two great versions:


9. Death to My Hometown

10. American Land

11. Born in the USA

12. Tenth Avenue Freezeout

13. Jersey Girl (cover)

14. Glory Days

15. Badlands

16. Wrecking Ball

17. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

18. The Rising

19. The Ghost of Tom Joad

20. Independence Day

21. We Take Care of Our Own

22. Meet Me In the City

23. I'll Work For Your Love

24. The Promise

25. The River

The Rest:

26. Mary’s Place
27. Out in the Street
28. My Hometown
29. Prove it All Night
30. Streets of Philadelphia
31. Trapped (cover)
32. Growing Up
33. Spirit in the Night
34. Incident on 57th Street
35. My City of Ruins
36. Hungry Heart
37. My City of Ruins
38. Further Up the Road
39. I’m On Fire
40. American Skin (41 Shots)
41. Racing in the Street
42. Rocky Ground
43. Land of Hope and Dreams
44. Fire
45. No Surrender
46. Darkness on the Edge of Town
47. Dancing in the Dark
48. Lost in the Flood
49. Red Headed Woman
50. Long Walk Home
51. We are Alive
52. Bobby Jean
53. Better Days
54. She’s The One
55. Because the Night
56. Just Like Fire Would (Cover)
57. It’s Hard to Be A Saint in the City
58. One Step Up
59. Livin in the Future
60. State Trooper
61. New York City Serenade
62. Radio Nowhere
63. The Wrestler
64. Factory
65. The E Street Shuffle
66. Pay Me My Money Down
67. Open All Night
68. You’ll Be Coming Down
69. Ain’t Good Enough for You
70. For You
71. Someday We’ll Be Together
72. Downbound Train
73. So Young and in Love
74. You’re Missing
75. Tougher than The Rest
76. Back in Your Arms
77. Kingdom of Days
78. Save My Love
79. Outside Looking In
80. Pink Cadillac
81. Shackled and Drawn
82. Jack of All Trades
83. Cover Me
84. Loose Ends
85. Roll of the Dice
86. Darlington County
87. Something in the Night
88. I’m Going Down
89. Blinded by the Light
90. With Every Wish
91. Point Blank
92. Gave It A Name
93. Mansion on the Hill
94. Nebraska
95. Candy’s Room
96. Night
97. Cadillac Ranch
98. Streets of Fire
99. Talk to Me
100. What Love Can Do
101. The Ties That Bind
102. Someday We’ll be Together
103. You’ve Got it
104. Jesse James
105. Man at the Top
106. Waitin on a Sunny Day
107. I Wish I Were Blind
108. Jesus Was an Only Son
109. Empty Sky
110. Easy Money
111. Erie Canal
112. Old Dan Tucker
113. Rendezvous
114. Mrs. McGrath
115. Last to Die
116. All I’m Thinking about is you
117. High Hopes
118. Froggie Went A Courtin’
119. Detroit Medley
120. Oh Mary Don’t You Weep
121. Magic
122. From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)
123. Matamoros Banks
124. Code of Silence
125. Sad Eyes
126. This Hard Land
127. If I Should Fall Behind
128. My Oklahoma Home
129. Lonesome Day
130. John Henry
131. My Love Will Not Let You Down
132. Blood Brothers
133. I Wanna Be With You
134. This Land Is Your Land
135. Dream Baby Dream
136. Murder Incorporated
137. City of Night
138. Quarter to Three
139. Gypsy Biker
140. Gotta Get That Feeling
141. Cynthia
142. Living on the Edge of World
143. Jacob’s Ladder
144. Wrong Side of the Street
145. The Brokenhearted
146. Highway Patrolman
147. We Shall Overcome
148. County Fair
149. Nothing Man
150. Candy’s Boy
151. Eyes on the Prize
152. Dollhouse
153. Be True
154. Souls of the Departed
155. Living Proof
156. Seaside Bar Song
157. Roulette
158. Shenandoah
159. Johnny 99
160. Take Em As They Come
161. My Beautiful Reward
162. Drive All Night
163. The Way
164. Two Hearts
165. Brilliant Disguise
166. All the Way Home
167. The Time That Never Was
168. Long Time Comin
169. Shut Out the Light
170. Thundercrack
171. Rockaway the Days
172. All or Nothing at All
173. Chicken Lips and Lizard Hips
174. Lift Me Up
175. Hearts of Stone
176. My Father’s House (cover)
177. Countin on a Miracle
178. This Depression
179. The Big Muddy
180. Cindy
181. How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times as These?
182. Local Hero
183. Johnny Bye Bye
184. Working on the Highway
185. I’m A Rocker
186. Dead Man Walkin
187. Used Cars
188. Leah
189. The Hitter
190. Wages of Sin
191. Mary Lou
192. Into the Fire
193. When The Saints Go Marching In
194. This Little Light of Mine
195. Hunter of Invisible Game
196. Linda Let Me Be The One
197. Rendezvous
198. Iceman
199. Secret Garden
200. Give the Girl A Kiss
201. Two Faces
202. Crush on You
203. Meeting Across the River
204. Frankie Fell In Love
205. My Lucky Day
206. Devils and Dust
207. Real World
208. When You Need Me
209. One Way Street
210. The Wish
211. Tunnel of Love
212. Working on a Dream
213. Two for the Road
214. Human Touch
215. My Book of Dreams
216. Sherry Darling
217. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
218. Kitty’s Back
219. Viva Las Vegas (cover)
220. Held Up Without a Gun
221. Stolen Car
222. Restless Nights
223. Youngstown
224. Raise Your Hand
225. Spare Parts
226. Man’s Job
227. The Last Carnival
228. Don’t Look Back
229. Loose Change
230. Car Wash
231. Bishop Danced
232. The Price You Pay
233. Jackson Cage
234. Ain’t Got You
235. Paradise by the C
236. Surprise, Surprise
237. Harry’s Place
238. Lion’s Den
239. The Little Things (My Baby Does)
240. Trouble in Paradise
241. Leap of Faith
242. When the Lights Go out
243. Party Lights
244. The Honeymooners
245. The Man Who Got Away
246. Janey Don’t Lose Your Heart
247. It’s A Shame
248. Chain Lightning
249. Little White Lies
250. Walk Like A Man
251. This Life
252. The Wall
253. Seven Angels
254. Bring on the Night
255. Where the Bands Are
256. Stray Bullet
257. Cross My Heart
258. My Best Was Never Good Enough
259. Lucky Man
260. Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)
261. Santa Ana
262. Breakaway
263. Maria’s Bed
264. Gloria’s Eyes
265. Cautious Man
266. Life Itself
267. My Lover Man
268. Paradise
269. Leavin Train
270. Stand On It
271. Missing
272. The New Timer
273. Heaven’s Wall
274. Night Fire
275. None But The Brave
276. Ramrod
277. Lucky Town
278. Tomorrow Never Knows
279. Spanish Eyes
280. This is Your Sword
281. White Town
282. TV Movie
283. A Good Man is Hard To Find
284. Brothers Under the Bridges
285. Pony Boy
286. Silver Palomino
287. All That Heaven Will Allow
288. Down in the Hole
289. Over the Rise
290. Sinaloa Cowboys
291. Going Cali
292. The Line
293. Happy
294. Balboa Park
295. Wild Bill’s Circus Story
296. Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
297. Part Man, Part Monkey
298. When You’re Alone
299. Valentine’s Day
300. Zero and Blind Terry
301. Dry Lightning
302. Straight Time
303. Highway 29
304. The Long Goodbye
305. Outlaw Pete
306. The Fuse
307. Worlds Apart
308. 57 Channels and Nothin On
309. Let’s Be Friends (Skin to Skin)
310. Across the Border
311. Galveston Bay
312. Reno
313. Black Cowboys
314. Mary Queen of Arkansas
315. The Angel
316. Ricky Wants A Man Of Her Own
317. Adam Raised A Cain
318. Good Eye
319. Real Man
320. Queen of the Supermarket