Friday, 8 February 2013

My Top Ten Songs About Bruce Springsteen

This year is the 40th anniversary of Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., the debut album by the one artist whose music has meant more to me throughout my life than any other (sorry, Moz). While I still don't feel able to compile a Top Ten Springsteen Songs... maybe I never will... here's the closest I can get to a tribute. Ten songs that mention The Boss...

10. Ezio - Bruce Springsteen

Only just discovered Ezio in the course of compiling this Top Ten. They're from Cambridge. You wouldn't know it...
I'll never be the boss just lower management I guess
I've never had a Thunderbird
A beat up Volvo is less absurd

I'd do anything to impress you
I'd do anything to caress you
I grew up in a town called Whittlesey
I've never been to New Jersey
I don't know too much about you
But your friend said you like Bruce Springsteen
9. Rick Springfield - Bruce

Jessie's Girl coveter Rick Springfield finds himself confused for his more famous (half-)namesake. A witty song about not being as famous as that other guy.

8. Titus Andronicus - A More Perfect Union 

Fellow New Jersey-ites Titus Andronicus mix Bruce with Billy Bragg on this, one of their best songs, when they declare...
No, I never wanted to change the world
But I'm looking for a new New Jersey
Because tramps like us
Baby, we were born to die
7. The Gaslight Anthem - Meet Me By the River's Edge

Another New Jersey act, unkindly dubbed by some critics a "Springsteen tribute band", and tracks like this, baby, they were born to back up that argument. "No surrender, my Bobby Jean" the GA sing, amid lyrics that sound like Bruce's songbook chopped up and reassembled Bowie-style. But, as I've said before, if you're gonna wear your influences on your sleeve... these cufflinks are 24 carat gold.

6. Nosferatu D2 - Springsteen

Ben Parker released one album as Nosferatu D2 (with his brother Jamie) prior to taking on the solo mantle of Superman Revenge Squad. This song, a tirade against Ben's hometown of Croydon, was written around a loop of the guitar from Springsteen's 'My Hometown' before Ben ditched that in favour of a somewhat more aggressive backing track.
Throw away your autographs
Of people you don't care about
Andy Peters, Andy Crane
They're all the same, they're all the same
5. Lana Del Rey - American

It was obvious the second I first heard Video Games that Lana was a Springsteen groupie. And like Titus Andronicus before her, she too is Born To Die.
Play house, put my favorite record on
Get down, get your crystal method on
You were, like, dark tan driving round the city
Flirting with the girls like you're so pretty
"Springsteen is the king, don't you think?"
 I was, like, "hell, yeah, that guy can sing."
4. Frank Turner - Redemption

 There are few bigger Bruce fans than Frank Turner. Frank just gets it...
I was walking home to my house through the snow from the station 
When Springsteen came clear in my headphones with a pertinent question
Oh, is love really real and can any of us hope for redemption?
Or are we all merely biding our time down to lonely conclusions?
3. Bran Van 3000 - Speed

In which the Bran Vanners pay tribute with a Born To Run rap. God, that really shouldn't work. And yet...
Sliup - Ummm - Crack
Goes the backscreen door
She wanted to go for coffee
But I sleep an hour more
See Mary dancing across the porch
She put her rolled up Ziggys in her rock and roll jersey
Jersey, she was born to run
She was the spirit of midnight
She was blinded by the light
She was holed up in jungleland
Straight up
The rock and roll big boss
Turnpike down by the river of desire
Just off Thunder Road
Where you catch her in the Tenth Avenue
Freeze out
She was lost in a flood
Mary, Queen of Arkansas
Dreaming of a Cadillac ranch with a hungry heart
But most of all she was born in the USA
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Inner state babe
To be exact she was her own rock and roll video
Rolls Royce, low riding
Speed climbing, driving by the sea
Making mad love on other people's private property
While being on the run from the local law for unpaid parking tickets! bloody does.

2. Prefab Sprout - Cars & Girls

There's tremendous irony at work here: Paddy McAloon (of all people!) having a sly, if affectionate, dig at Bruce for being a lyrical romantic.
Brucie dreams life's a highway, too many roads bypass my way
Or they never begin. 

Innocence coming to grief
At the hands of life's stinking car thief, 

That's my concept of sin.
Does heaven wait all heavenly over the next horizon?
But look at us now, quit driving, 

Some things hurt more much more than cars and girls.
That said, Paddy can't help but conclude:
Brucie's thoughts - Pretty streamers
Guess this world needs its dreamers 

May they never wake up.
And the same goes for you, Paddy. 
1. Eric Church - Springsteen

One of my favourite songs of last year. It's not so much a tribute to Bruce as a tribute to the kind of golden sunset nostalgia he used to reflect on songs like Glory Days and Bobby Jean. Good times...

When I think about you, I think about 17.
I think about my old Jeep.
I think about the stars in the sky.
Funny how a melody, sounds like a memory.
Like a soundtrack to a July, Saturday night....

I don't expect anybody else will have much of an opinion about this Top Ten... but it's my blog and I've got to keep my number one fan happy!


  1. It isn't about Bruce, it doesn't reference Bruce and it in no way even sounds like Bruce, but just because it's called 'The Boss' may I direct your readers to my current jam

  2. Musically I am hanging out in Bruceless zones. I realize I should rectify this 'cos from what I know of the guy I quite like.

    1. I always find with music that it's better to make your own way to new artists than be directed to them. There's nothing worse than feeling obliged to listen to something...


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