The Essential Bruce: Jody Rosen Picks his 11 Favorite Springsteen Songs

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
March 9 2012 3:23 PM

Where Do I Start with Bruce Springsteen?

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Bruce Springsteen performs at the Grammy Awards last month

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Bruce Springsteen’s 17th studio album, Wrecking Ball, came out this week, as you may have gathered from his (sometimes hilarioustalk show appearances and the abundant media coverage. This has been great fun for all the Boss’s devoted fans—of which there are, of course, many: He has reportedly sold well over 100 million records in his 40 years of making them. But what if you’re new to Springsteen, or have simply never given his music your full attention? Where should you start?

For those who have yet to experience the Human Touch with Bruce yet—younger listeners, perhaps, or those who were in the Darkness on the Edge of Town during his peak—we asked Jody Rosen, who reviewed Wrecking Ball for Slate this week, to recommend 10 essential Springsteen tracks that we could put in a Spotify playlist. He ultimately chose 11 of his favorite Springsteen recordings; it was impossible, he said, to select just 10.

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His choices are below.

“Sandy (4th of July, Asbury Park)” from The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle (1973)

“Thunder Road” from Born to Run (1975)

“Darkness on the Edge of Town” from Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)

“Hungry Heart” from The River (1980)

“Out in the Street” from The River (1980)

“The River” from The River (1980)

“Mansion on the Hill” from Nebraska (1982)

“Bobby Jean” from Born in the U.S.A. (1984)

“Jersey Girl” (Live) from Live/1975–85 (1986)

“Tougher Than the Rest” from Tunnel of Love (1987)

“Trapped” (Live) from The Essential Bruce Springsteen (2003)

Listen to this playlist on Spotify: Where to Start with Bruce Springsteen

Previously:

Jody Rosen is a Slate contributor.

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