2017 marks the return of Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band to Australia where they will once again be playing at Hanging Rock. To help you enjoy a stress free evening with the lyrical poetry of The Boss, Melbourne on The Move is offering a return chartered coach to and from the event. This week, in no particular order, we’ve compiled a playlist of 10 essential Springsteen songs that capture his lyrical and musical genius.
- Dancing in the Dark
This 1984 hit was the one that really put Springsteen on the map and established him as the voice of the working class. The song was composed and written in a single night, after an altercation with his manager Jon Landau, who wanted a hit single for the album Born in the U.S.A. The lyrics are actually about Springsteen’s frustration at the difficulty of writing a hit single.
- I’m on Fire
Springsteen came up with the moody instrumentals for I’m on Fire whilst trying to make up a tune to lyrics he had written for Spanish Eyes, and drummer Max Weinberg and keyboardist Roy Brittan immediately joined in with an accompaniment. The resulting tune is flavoured with a soft rockabilly beat and lyrics which eloquently describe unfulfilled desires.
- Brilliant Disguise
Like most of the songs on Tunnel of Love, Brilliant Disguise is an autobiographical examination of Springsteen’s failing marriage. The emotional lyrics detail the heartbreaking realisation Springsteen has when he looks into the eyes of his wife, and realises she is no longer the woman he fell in love with.
- Born to Run
Springsteen saw this song as his last shot to become a commercially successful rock star. The result is a song that takes the classic pop tropes of girls and cars, and transforms them into something simultaneously powerful and vulnerable.
- Hungry Heart
Originally written for The Ramones, Springsteen decided to keep the song for himself after being advised by Landau, who wanted to put an end to the practice of Springsteen giving away his catchier, more upbeat songs to other musicians.
- State Trooper
This song was recorded in just one take and like all the tracks on the Nebraska album, it has a raw lo-fi feel as he is unaccompanied by the E-Street Band. The album explores the darker side of the American dream and is characterised by dark lyrics and an overall moody tone.
- Streets of Philadelphia
Written for the film Philadelphia, Springsteen was originally asked by the director to write a rock song to open the film with. Springsteen began working with lyrics he’d written about the death of a friend but they didn’t work over a rock beat. A dissatisfied Springsteen sent the director what he considered to be an unfinished demo, the director loved it, and the rest is history.
- The Rising
Written in response to the September 11 attacks in New York, Springsteen uses this song and the album it’s on to examine the complex array of emotions felt in response to the tragedy. The song went on to win the Grammys for Best Rock Song and Best Male Rock Performance in 2002.
- We Take Care of Our Own
Although it gained popularity as the theme song of Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012, this song is described as a ‘bitter anthem’ and often likened to other his other popularly misconstrued songs Born in the U.S.A and Glory Days. Although it appears outwardly patriotic, this song is pointedly critical of America’s failure to take care of it’s people in times of need, and references the plight of Hurricane Katrina casualties.
- Blinded by the Light
Springsteen has said that the song came about by rifling through a rhyming dictionary in search of of words, but it also makes numerous references to his childhood and personal struggles. This song was Springsteen’s first single and is the only song ever produced by the artist where he wrote the lyrics first and then filled in the music.