Bruce Springsteen has churned out countless hit songs, and his music is recognizable to almost anyone. So what exactly is his best song of all-time? We thought this would be a fun question to ask as we prepare for the arrival of our next feature exhibition direct from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen (Feb. 17 – Sept. 3).
While you think about what your favorite Springsteen tune is, take a look at what songs our staff likes and why they chose them:
“Streets of Philadelphia”
Mike Simzak, Youth Programs Coordinator
I’ve always been a fan of this song because I feel that it captures the essence of the city. No mater how beat up or broken down we may be, we’ll figure out a way to press on.
“Born to Run”
Richard Distefano, Development Assistant
This song is a poetic anthem that addresses some of life’s visceral and elemental aspects, looking at it directly in the eye, and daring it to take it by the horns.
“I’m on Fire”
Karen Gross, Communications Writer/Editor
As a hopeless romantic, I’ll admit that this song gets to me. I love the rawness of the lyrics and simplicity of the production, and how his voice goes from a whisper to a howl. And the video is vintage 1980s cheese.
“Racing in the Street”
Betsy Murray, Director of Membership
I don’t know anything about cars and I’ve never raced one in my life. The first line of this song – I got a sixty-nine Chevy with a 396 / Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor – I don’t even know what that means. There is something about this song that I get in a very big way. Of course, it’s not really about racing cars at all. Mythical and tragic, vividly accessible, with a melody that is both uplifting and sad, it’s a haunting tribute to finding hope when it can be so easy to lose. This song is about redemption in a very American sort of way. The belief that despite where you come from, what you do or who you are, you can always find salvation in who you want to be.
Ashley Berke, Director of Public Relations
I’m always drawn to songs like “Factory” and “Adam Raised a Cain” that deal with Springsteen’s relationship with his father. It’s very relatable. “Factory” depicts how much Springsteen appreciated his father’s hard work.
“Jersey Girl”[Live Version]
Karen Fink, Director of Human Resources
Although I’m not from Jersey, and thus, not a Jersey girl, I love this song because it makes you feel like you are right there walking the boardwalk, enjoying the beach, listening to the sounds of the shore, and taking in all of the flavors, smells, and sights. The song itself is smooth and Bruce’s voice is fluid and controlled. I like how the song starts off slow and then builds up. The crowd is screaming in the background and you can almost feel the excitement, even though you’re listening to the song in your car, at home, in the office, or at the shore! For anyone who grew up in this area and remembers summers at the Jersey shore, the excitement of a drive down there with your best girl or guy can be immediately transported back there when listening to this song . It’s a classic!
“Born in the U.S.A.”
Steve Shiekman, Senior Operations Manager
Anytime I hear Bruce’s name, this is the first song that pops in my head.
Jen Darley, Vice President of Visitor Services
This song always reminds me of my journey and how much I’ve grown in the last few years. It gives me the strength and courage to keep working towards fulfilling my dreams.
Alice Emerson, Exhibits Intern
To me, it is the perfect description of how you leave your youth behind, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same to your dreams. There is also a profound sense of self-reflection that highlights the beauty, triumph, and meaning in the lives of everyday people. It isn’t just my favorite Springsteen song , it is my favorite song, period.
Ray Salva, Director of Museum Partnerships
While it is impossible for me to choose and absolute favorite, I will select “Thunder Road.” While far from a unique or esoteric choice, this song is a stellar example of Springsteen as a crafter of story and metaphor. The lyrics are incredibly visual, painting a vivid picture of time, place, desire, youthful freedom, courage, and hope (and cars, too, of course), all in just under five minutes in 4/4 time!
Now it’s your turn to tell us – what is your favorite Bruce Springsteen song of all time and why? Leave us a comment below and vote on our Facebook poll!