Bruce Springsteen is a singer, songwriter, and musician who was born in New Jersey in 1949. He began his career in the music industry in 1964, and he is known as one of the founders of the heartland rock style of music. This style combines a mainstream rock style with songs that talk about working-class life in America. Many of the singles and albums he has released include his backing band, the E Street Band. During his successful career, Bruce Springsteen has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, including over 64 million albums in the United States. His successful sales record means he is one of the world’s best-selling music artists. Springsteen has also won multiple awards for his music, including 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, a Special Tony Award, and an Academy Award. Since 1964, Bruce Springsteen has released 20 studio albums, 23 live albums, eight compilation albums, 17 video albums, 17 tribute albums, seven box sets, seven Eps, one soundtrack albums, 61 music videos, and 73 singles. Here are the 20 best Bruce Springsteen songs of all time.
20. Hungry Heart (1980)
One of Springsteen’s earliest songs to chart in the UK was ‘Hungry Heart,’ which was the first single released from the album ‘The River.’ In the UK, this track was certified Silver. It was also Springsteen’s first top ten hit in the United States, as it reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was re-released in 1995.
19. Atlantic City (1982)
There are several themes running through the lyrics of ‘Atlantic City,’ including the thrill of escape, the seduction of easy money, facing mortality, and organized crime. Despite the gritty themes, it is a folksy song. Although the song was featured on Springsteen’s solo album ‘Nebraska,’ he has often performed a full band version of the song in concert.
18. I’m Goin’ Down (1985)
‘I’m Goin’ Down’ was the sixth single released from Springsteen’s 1985 album ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ He originally recorded the track in 1982 at the Power Station music studio with the E Street Band. Another contender for inclusion on the album was ‘Pink Cadillac,’ but Springsteen decided that ‘I’m Goin’ Down’ was the better of the two tracks. Many others have since covered this song, including Trampled By Turtles, Vampire Weekend, Dessa, Tina Armstrong, Free Energy, and Frank Black and the Catholics.
17. Fire (1987)
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band released ‘Fire’ in 1987, and it is featured on the album ‘Live/ 1975-85.’ The song was written by Springsteen in 1977, and he hoped it would be recorded by Elvis Presley, his idol. Although Springsteen sent Presley a demo of the song, Presley did before he received the track. A year later, the song was a hit for the Pointer Sisters.
16. Secret Garden (1995 and 1997)
Springsteen first released ‘Secret Garden’ in 1995 and then re-released the track in 1997. The first time it was released, the song reached number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100. It achieved a better position when it was re-released, as it peaked at number 19. It was the final top 20 hit that Bruce Springsteen achieved in the United States.
15. 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On) (1992)
The second single released from the 1992 album ‘Human Touch’ was ’57 Channels (And Nothin’ On).’ It was a top 100 song in various countries worldwide. In addition to providing the vocals for this song, Bruce Springsteen also played bass. The lyrics of the song have a comedy element to them and refer to cable television having lots of channels, but there is still nothing decent to watch. Looking back on this song, Springsteen has said it was different from his usual approach to music and thought he was attempting playfulness and irony. He went on to describe the song as a misfire.
14. One Step Up (1988)
‘One Step Up’ was written by Bruce Springsteen, and it is the third single from the 1988 album ‘Tunnel of Love.’ It reached number two on the Album Rock Tracks chart in the United States, which meant all three singles that had been released from the album at this point had achieved the same position. At the end of the 1970s, Springsteen recorded a track called ‘Roulette,’ which was originally intended for his album ‘The River.’ The song did not make it onto the album but was released as the B-Side to ‘One Step Up.’ ‘Roulette’ was later included on the 1988 album ‘Tracks.’
13. Better Days (1992)
‘Better Days’ is a single from Springsteen’s 1992 album ‘Lucky Town.’ It achieved number two on the Mainstream Rock chart and the Italian charts and was a top 30 hit in Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK. Springsteen wrote the song and co-produced it with Jon Landau and Chuck Plotkin. The B-side to the song was ‘Tougher Than the Rest.’
12. Human Touch (1992)
‘Human Touch’ was the titular single from Springsteen’s 1992 album, and it was the only single released from this album. It topped the charts in Norway, Italy, Denmark, and Spain, and it was also number one on the Mainstream Rock chart in the United States. Furthermore, it was a top ten his in Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, and Sweden. Toto’s Jeff Porcaro plays the drums for this track, and Randy Jackson plays the bass guitar. ‘Human Touch’ was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
11. Born to Run (1975)
According to Paste Magazine, ‘Born to Run’ was the track that signaled Springsteen’s rise to cult heroism, as it was the first of his songs that pop radio embraced. The lyrics of this energetic song suggest that anything is possible even if you leave everything to chance. It was the second of three singles released from the 1975 album of the same name.
10. Cover Me (1984)
‘Cover Me’ was the second single released from the album ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ It was a top ten hit in the United States, Ireland, and New Zealand. In the United States, it was certified Gold. Springsteen originally wrote the song for Donna Summer, but Springsteen’s manager thought the song had potential, so he suggested that Springsteen kept it to release himself. Springsteen wrote the song ‘Protection,’ that Summer used instead.
9. Tunnel of Love (1987)
‘Tunnel of Love’ was the titular single and the second single released from the album of the same name in 1987. Although it topped the rock charts, it only reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video that accompanied the song was nominated for five MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Male Video and Video of the Year.
8. Brilliant Disguise (1987)
One of Bruce Springsteen’s best love songs is his 1987 single ‘Brilliant Disguise.’ The lyrics of this song are about a man who feels that his lover does not feel the same way anymore and why he is not worthy of her affections anymore. This single featured on the album ‘Tunnel of Love.’ ‘Brilliant Disguise’ reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 but topped the Norwegian charts and the rock chart in the United States.
7. War (1986)
Unlike many of the songs released by Bruce Springsteen, he did not write the song, and he was not the first to release the track as a single. It was written by Norman Whitfield and Barret Strong in 1969, and it has an anti-Vietnam theme. Whitfield released the song with the Temptations and then later with Edwin Starr as the lead vocalist. Springsteen covered the song in 1986, and it appeared on the album ‘Live/ 1975-85.’
6. Glory Days (1985)
‘Glory Days’ is a celebratory song that talks about the days that seem better than preceding days. It is a partially autobiographical song that has a nostalgic feel despite its up-tempo music. Bruce Springsteen wrote the song, and it was the fifth single released from his 1984 album ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ The music video for the single was shot in various locations across New Jersey.
5. My Hometown (1985)
‘My Hometown’ was Springsteen’s seventh and last top ten single in the United States. It topped the adult contemporary chart and reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100. The low-tempo, synthesizer-based track was written by Springsteen, and the B-side to the single was a cover of ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.’
4. I’m on Fire (1985)
When ‘I’m on Fire’ was released in 1985, Springsteen had already become a sex symbol, and the sexual tension in the song reflects his sex symbol status. The lyrics of the track hint at an adulterous affair without confirming if the affair ever becomes a reality. It was a number one hit in New Zealand and peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100.
3. Streets of Philadelphia (1994)
The 1993 film Philadelphia, which starred Tom Hanks, was about the AIDs epidemic and the experiences of one man during that time. Springsteen wrote ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ for this film. It is a powerful and provocative song that won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. This single topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, and Norway and peaked at number two in the UK. It was less successful in the United States, reaching only nine on the charts.
2. Born in the USA (1984)
‘Born in the USA’ is one of Bruce Springsteen’s best-known songs, and it is one that brought him wider recognition. It is about a returning Vietnam veteran, and although many people mistook the lyrics as being about victory, they are actually about defeat and despondency. Ronald Reagan quoted the song in a famous speech when he was a candidate for the presidency, although Springsteen said he did not give Reagan permission to quote the song. Springsteen also turned down a deal with Chrysler, who had wanted to use the song in one of their advertisements. It was a number one hit in Ireland and New Zealand. Surprisingly, ‘Born in the USA only reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100, but it remains one of Springsteen’s most recognizable songs.
1. Dancing in the Dark (1984)
According to Discotech, the best Bruce Springsteen song of all time is ‘Dancing in the Dark,’ and that is certainly true in terms of commercial success. It was a number one hit on the US rock charts and in the Netherlands. The single peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, and it was a top ten hit in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. ‘Dancing in the Dark’ was certified Platinum in the United States. An interesting fact about this single is that actress Courtney Cox features in the music video when she is pulled to the stage by Springsteen to sing the refrain with him.