By In Bruce

Bruce Song Hall Of Fame

OK … time for Phase Two of our Bruce Springsteen song Hall of Fame. The voting.

You can vote here.

About 1,000 people wrote in their Top 5 Springsteen songs — and I thank all of you, even those who voted for “Bruce Sucks” and “Jack Morris.” Just as an FYI, 203 different Springsteen songs were named, which is kind of ridiculous.

Now, I picked the top 27 of them (don’t ask) and it’s time to vote.

You can vote here.

The cool part, I think, is that you don’t just vote for your 10 favorites, I’m asking you to rank them in order. As I’ve written before, I wish the Baseball Hall of Fame would do this. I think we would get more interesting voting that better reflects the feelings of the voters. I’m willing to bet the BBWAA and Baseball Hall of Fame won’t take me up on that. But the Bruce Song Hall of Fame will.

One more time, you can vote here.

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73 Responses to Bruce Song Hall Of Fame

  1. Mergatroid says:

    I’m disappointed in myself for not seeing the nomination form in time to list The E Street Shuffle.

  2. Herb Smith says:

    1. This is an awesome idea, Joe.

    2. But, man that list of 27 songs sucked. I really had a hard time coming up with 10 worthy songs. I finally went with Brilliant Disguise at #10, simply so as to acknowledge the most criminally underrated album of Bruce’s career, Tunnel of Love (of which Brilliant Disguise is probably the 4th or 5th best song).

    • invitro says:

      Please repost your true top ten, then :).

      • Paul Callahan says:

        10 rising
        9 racing in the street
        8 incident on 57
        7 darkness
        6 Atlantic city
        5 born in the USA
        4 promised land
        3 thunder road
        2 jungleland
        1 born to run

        • Paul Callahan says:

          Some shaky choices in top 27
          No surrender, promise, land of hope and dreams, glory days etc

          Where’s valentines day, shut out the light, long time coming, better days?

    • George says:

      Yeah, only one song from Tunnel of Love? That’s insane.

    • arlie green says:

      I agree. Only 1 of my nominees made the final cut. This round was kind of like picking a desert island list, but limiting the selections I could pick from..

    • Ben Underhill says:

      This is great….I wished I had been able to submit my initial list….though I am not sure I could do it! It’s hard not to have BTR first…but I do get tired of hearing that song all the time…to the detriment of others.

      I have been to a number of shows , many of them with Bruce virgins. At the first live show they want a greatest hits show and get disappointed when they don’t hear Dancing In The Dark or Glory Days. For the more passionate fan there is true satisfaction in hearing Bishop Dance for the first time since 73, Incident roll right into Rosalita or he and the band playing The Weight as a tribute to Levon Helm.

      I will say the song that surprised me the most live was Kitty’s Back. I obviously knew the song from The Wild and Innocent….but until I saw it live and watched and listened to the entire band play solos on it, I didn’t realize how great a song it is.

      I will say that Bruce continues to amaze me. Even with his new album, he isn’t afraid to go out, grab Tom Morello and significantly change his sound. In his 20’s he wrote about friends, girls and cars. In his 60’s he writes about opression, bigotry and hope for the future mixed with the realities of the past. I just hope when I am 64 I have half as much energy as he does.

      Bruce and the E Street Band are the best show in Rock and Roll bar none. Picking your top 10 is like trying to eat just one potato chip… CANNOT BE DONE!

  3. Pat says:

    I have no idea if the data is possibly or easily compiled, but I would love to see the totals from the nominations round (mostly to see if I’m the only one who gave a nod to “Brothers Under the Bridge”).

  4. Jofp says:

    Where is “Hometown”? If I vote I would be voting for the 10 ten songs of your list, and not for the top ten songs of Springsteen.

  5. Butch says:

    Wait, so do I give my favorite song a 1 or a 10? Is this a ranking (best is #1) or points (best gets a 10)?

  6. right says:

    I had to create a spreadsheet to figure this out. Shocking not to see 4th of July Asbury Park, Independence Day, Highway Patrolman, or The Wrestler make a list of 27! But not many on this list to quibble with…

  7. jb says:

    Yeah, the list was pretty much a greatest hits compilation. It’s not that I don’t like “Glory Days” or “Brilliant Disguise” – but I can think of 10 songs I like better that weren’t on the list.

  8. Robert Burns says:

    Was It’s hard to be a Saint in the City on that list? I can’t get back to the list to see. That probably my favorite.

    • invitro says:

      Here are the 27 songs:

      Atlantic City
      Born In the U.S.A.
      Born to Run
      Brilliant Disguise
      Dancing in the Dark
      Darkness on the Edge of Town
      Glory Days
      Growin’ Up
      Hungry Heart
      I’m On Fire
      Incident at 57th street [should be “on”]
      Land Of Hope And Dreams
      No Surrender
      Prove it All Night
      Racing in the Street
      Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
      Spirit in the Night
      Streets of Philadelphia
      Tenth Avenue Freeze Out [should be “Freeze-Out”]
      The Promise
      The Promised Land
      The Rising
      The River
      Thunder Road

  9. Phil says:

    Come on – no Ghost of Tom Joad?!? That was my #1 pick!

  10. Tim says:

    The inclusion of “Land of Hope and Dreams” is awkward. Are we talking about the live version that’s on The Essential? Or the version from Wrecking Ball? Because the former is on my top 10 and the latter isn’t in the top 27 (despite Major League Baseball’s best efforts). I’m also curious of the breakdown between The Promise (Darkness era live)/The Promise (18 Tracks version), and The Promise (The Promise album version).

  11. Zack says:

    How does New York City Serenade not make the top 27 list??

  12. Bernard says:

    The Wrestler was screwed!

  13. Karyn says:

    My guess as to how the list was complied: Joe took the top vote-getters from the previous poll, possibly looking for some kind of natural break. By that I mean, Song #27 was much closer in votes to #26 than it was to #28. Or possibly there was a natural break at 25-26 or 26-27, and Joe threw in one or two of his own favorites.

    In other words, I trust Joe. If you don’t like the list, blame the rest of us.

  14. Pat says:

    A lotttttta complaining in this thread.

    To the other voters: C’mon, you had to know this experiment was going to leave you thinking something was left out.

  15. Tarik says:

    Dammit, I boycott the whole thing to protest the disinclusion of Wild Billy’s Circus story.
    hey son, you want to try the big top?

  16. Tim OShenko says:

    As disappointed as I was to see what was more or less a “greatest hits” compilation in the top 27 (with a few dark horses – I had no idea there was so much love for “No Surrender”), I accept the process that presumably led to this batch. It also was no easy task limiting myself to ten songs (had to leave off Brilliant Disguise, and hate myself for it).

  17. Steve says:

    That was fun. Your Bruce is not my Bruce, but that’s like ranking the best baseball players also.

  18. MCD says:

    I am not a huge Springsteen fan, but I guess it is sort of a testament to his prolific output that only one of my 5 nominations made it to a list of 27. If anything, as a cursory fan, one might have thought my nominations would have been more likely to have made the cut. It wasn’t like I was nominating obscure tracks that a diehard fan might.

  19. Charles says:

    I posted on my 10 favorite Bruce songs last year.

    The only really significant omissions on Joe’s list, in my opinion, are My City of Ruins, Youngstown, and Loose Ends.

    Though there are plenty of strong songs that far better than some that made the list. In particular, the inclusion of Glory Days is sadly predictable. I don’t think that’s in the top 270 Springsteen songs.

  20. Steve says:

    Nice underrated Bruce song is “Nothing Man” from The Rising.

  21. doncoffin64 says:

    We should all be glad that Joe didn’t start a poll for Bob Dylan songs…10 best? 100 best?

  22. Marco says:

    No “Lost in the flood” or “It’s hard to be a saint in the city”?

    Both of those have a VORS (Value Over Replacement Springsteen) of at least 11.6

    • mjm says:

      My thoughts exactly, though I reckon their VORS isn’t really that high.

      So many great songs were left out, but that’s what happens, I guess

  23. Herb Smith says:

    Whoever posted the line “Your Bruce is not my Bruce” hit the nail on the head. But then, that’s always been part of the Bruce experience, for better or for worse.

    I look at that list of 27 songs, and my first impression is: “This is a list that a completely NON Bruce fan would come up with.” But then I thought…hmmm…Joe did say that over 200 songs were nominated. It was then I realized that most of you folks probably nominated songs like I did: you listed the deep-cuts that are true gems (for me, “All That Heaven Will Allow” and “Drive All Night” are supreme), but you couldn’t resist throwing in Rosalita or Born To Run or another of the “obvious” ones. And enough people listed the obvious-type hits that those songs tallied the highest overall points.

    Also, Bruce is a unique artist. If this were a poll of almost any other act of his stature, the Top Ten would be practically unanimous. Your Rolling Stones top-ten and mine would probably be pretty close. Same with The Who, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and other mega-stars.

    But Bruce never had big, smash #1 singles. And yet his albums were so exquisitely written and performed, that ANY song on the album could reasonably be somebody’s favorite song. (in fact, Bruce NEVER has had a #1 hit. Manfred Mann did hit the top of the charts with a cover of Springsteen’s “Blinded By The Light,” but it was a bastardized version, and besides, if Bruce ain’t singing it, who cares?)

    So, what can you do? I thank Joe for putting up this poll; it’s been a great thought excercise.
    But I do think he owes us a complete vote tally of the original vote. That I’d like to see.

    • Section_405 says:

      The only other artists/bands where you could have such variance that I can think of are the Beatles and Dylan. For those guys plus The Boss, picking the “top ten” would be totally scattered, just like Joe’s poll.

      And, no matter how you compute the ratings, the #74 song for any of these three is a killer song that average artists would mortgage their soul to have produced. And probably the #146 too. I mean, how many songs do you have to go thru before you descend to “Mary, Queen of Arkansas”?

      • invitro says:

        “The only other artists/bands where you could have such variance that I can think of are the Beatles and Dylan.”

        What a strange statement. Springsteen has had a long and fruitful career, sure, but dozens of other artists have had careers that are as much or more valuable.

    • invitro says:

      “But Bruce never had big, smash #1 singles.”

      This is literally true, but misleading. He has had 11 Top Ten songs. Springsteen is no stranger to the Top 40.

      And of course, he has had a TON of big smash #1 albums; I count 11 of them.

      “Also, Bruce is a unique artist. If this were a poll of almost any other act of his stature, the Top Ten would be practically unanimous. Your Rolling Stones top-ten and mine would probably be pretty close. Same with The Who, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and other mega-stars.”

      Sorry, but I don’t think -any- of this is true. He is unique in one way I can think of: he’s about the only good artist of the 1970s that was backward- rather than forward-looking. But I’m sure my Stones top ten would be much different than yours, and the same for The Who, Radiohead, Talking Heads, R.E.M., the Clash, and David Bowie. That list could go on and on and on.

  24. Anthony says:

    I’m just a casual Springsteen fan, but I still found ten songs to click on. What goaded me into posting here for the first time though, was remembering the very first – and *only* – 45 that I ever bought: ‘Hungry Heart’. That song alone got me into music. From there I have hazy memories of buying a flurry of 8-track tapes – because the 45 adapter wouldn’t come off the center pole of my turntable!!

  25. gogiggs says:

    The best Bruce song is “For You” and if “4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy)” isn’t in your top ten I’m not sure we can be friends.

  26. Azure Ray says:

    Bruce Springsteen sucks. He’s Billy Joel with a guitar and a bigger ego. He’s Bon Jovi with short hair. And yet the one song of his that I can actually not cringe while hearing, “my hometown” is not on this list?!?! WHAT?!?!

  27. Ken Gurnick says:

    I voted Rosalita #1 and left the rest of my ballot blank.

    – Ken Gurnick

  28. Keith W says:

    I’ve never been able to really get into Bruce like I have with Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Townes van Zandt, and Neil Young. I don’t dislike him, but he doesn’t strike the chord that resonates with me like some others. I haven’t looked at the list of 27 or voted. My top ten alphabetically:

    Atlantic City
    Born To Run
    Brilliant Disguise
    The Ghost of Tom Joad
    I’m On Fire
    Lift Me Up
    The River
    Streets of Philadelphia

    And I can’t stand Glory Days.

  29. tombando says:

    Bruuce’s last few cds–Wrecking Ball, Magic, (I got a ) Dirt Devil, basically are bland MOR Bruuce. They don’t register that well. He, Mellencamp, Seger and Tom Petty are all in their ‘Grasping at Relevancy’ phase, they might as well have Dion Dimucci opening for’em and Candlebox working the craft services table.

  30. jim louis says:

    Sandy, Point Blank and Downbound Train would be in my Top 10.

    How about a Top 10 for Paul McCartney-penned songs. THAT would be tough.

    Springsteen’s a good artist, but there’s many others who are equally or more difficult to list a Top10 from. Elton John, U2, Radiohead, Big Star, White Stripes/Jack White, etc. And hundreds of artists who aren’t as masterful at promoting themselves as Bruce is…John Prine, Richard Buckner, Patterson Hood/Mike Cooley (Drive-by Truckers), Paul Westerberg (Replacements), Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Lisa Germano, Doug Martsh (Built to Spill), I could on…

  31. invitro says: compiles critics’ polls, and here are the Springsteen songs in their top 3000, in order:

    Born to Run
    Born in the U.S.A.
    Thunder Road
    Dancing in the Dark
    Atlantic City
    Streets of Philadelphia
    I’m on Fire
    The River
    Brilliant Disguise
    Hungry Heart
    Glory Days

    And these are “bubbling under”:

    Prove It All Night
    Stolen Car
    State Trooper
    Bobby Jean
    Walk Like a Man
    Tunnel of Love
    The Rising
    My City of Ruins
    Radio Nowhere

    Just as one point of comparison, Neil Young has 14 songs in the top 3000, and 6 bubbling under (and I don’t know in what world Powderfinger is only bubbling under).

  32. KHAZAD says:

    It is fun to watch the complaining. It is hard enough to get people to agree on a hall of fame when you have numbers to look at, like in baseball. Put in something entirely objective, like songs, and nobody is going to agree.

    It is an interesting experiment, but my guess is that we will have a list of the ten Springsteen songs that you hear on the radio most often. I still would like to see it done for other things as well, because these things are fun. Voting is fun, reading the comments is fun, finding out the opinions of the masses is fun.

    I looked in Vain for Ghost of Tom Joad and Tunnel of Love. But I’m not complaining.

  33. Dan Connolly says:

    I hope “The Promise” I just voted for is the stripped down, piano version–not the full band version. Might be his best piece of songwriting.

  34. Herb Smith says:

    Sometimes, there are multiple ways in which to rate a song. For instance, as a stand-alone tune, I don’t think Hungry Heart is one of Bruce’s 30 best songs. However, for his career, that tune was his “gateway drug” song; a frothier, lighter, easier-to-digest type of Bruce-song, perfect for the listeners who just weren’t going to invest in things like Jungleland.

    So, as far as importance, Hungry Heart ranks just below Born To Run as perhaps the most important track of his career. So where do you rank it? Somewhere between 2 and 30?

    • invitro says:

      It’s a fine song, and I like it best in the middle of the River album. It is lighter but I don’t know if it is any easier to digest than Jungleland… there are some complicated things going on with that song. Dancing in the Dark is a simple song but HH isn’t.

      But for “the listeners who just weren’t going to invest in things like Jungleland”, couldn’t they get into Born to Run? I was a toddler at the time so I don’t know, but I have a cynical feeling that you are talking about people that will not listen to a song unless it’s Top 10. Born to Run was a hit, but only peaking at #23 or so, and Prove it All Night got to about the same spot, so there is some murkiness about your claim that people were waiting for a hit before they would get into Springsteen. Waiting for a Top 10 hit, maybe, but that scares the dickens out of me.

      Anyway, for makin’ dollars, there ain’t no doubt that Dancing in the Dark is his most important song. For artistic merit, it’s Born to Run or maybe any of the other three corners of BtR.

      • invitro says:

        I’ll add that while singing this song in my head, it naturally segued into Out in the Street, and I am happy that even with a fair amount of radio-station listening I still mainly hear HH as part of an album. It does make me worry some as I don’t want to hear that song as a single. Albums are a dying art and I don’t want to help them into the grave. And Out in the Street is a real gem of a song.

        • RGRKen says:

          Totally agree, HH is a different song on it’s own. “Jungleland” too is a different song alone on the radio compared to listening to the “Born to Run” album front to back.

  35. James says:

    But is there somewhere we can vote on the best Bruce songs?

  36. RGRKen says:

    I wish this poll considered the variance in song quality from an album/acoustic/live performance. As an artist that is remembered as one of the great live performers, personally I feel that “Racing In The Street” and “No Surrender” concert versions as well as on his 1985 live album were superior compared to the regular album versions. As is “My City of Ruins” from the 9/11 benefit concert compared to the album version. On the other hand I ended up dropping a spot “Hungry Heart” after I heard the ’85 live album version (not the best quality…). Lots of tough choices.

  37. Herb Smith says:

    That’s a pretty interesting comment…Bruce often does a song entirely different in concert.

    In fact, I was thinking of nominating “For You” a song on Bruce’s debut album, but I didn’t because I didn’t want people to think I considered that album version to be one of his10 best songs. That recording is fine, as a frenetic, jumbled uptempo tune.

    But there is a different version of it, on a bootleg, of Bruce sitting solo at a piano, and doing a slow, deeply meaningful interpretation of the same song, and it’s spine-tingling.

  38. Zach says:

    Thunder Road is the only choice for #1. After that, it’s a free-for-all.

  39. Silas Brock says:

    I would have liked to see more choices. There were several missing songs that might have made my Top Ten: Cover Me, Sandy, Kitty’s Back, Tunnel of Love and One Step Up, to name a few.

  40. doncoffin64 says:

    Anyone know when the poll colases and we get to see the results?

  41. section303 says:

    Just voted. So hard. So many great songs. When it comes to ranking Bruce songs, I feel it depends on the mood you are in at the time. When the original write in votes happened, I was enjoying Thundercrack again. This time, I’m more into more of the pop-like songs – Glory Days, The Rising, etc. Which I blame on it almost being the start of summer. Something about pop-Bruce and the summer just go together

  42. Paul Garza III says:

    Hey Joe, I would like to know the name of the song that was playing in the background at the RnR Hall of Fame show when Bruce inducts the band and they are walking to the stage to say their speeches. I know they played Kitty’s Back and E Street Shuffle live together. Thank you for your help.

  43. […] a accurate same favorite musician? Pos even combined a Hall of Fame for Springsteen songs (it is not confined to usually one post, either). How did this outrageous HOT TAKE BONER for a Boss come to […]

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