Reason to Believe: In search of the Ultimate Bruce Springsteen Playlist


Bruce Springsteen performs April 17, 2012, in Cleveland. Photo by Kevin Hall

With all apologies to Reese and his Cups, there are no wrong ways to listen to Bruce Springsteen.

Want to hear a story, with themes uniting the music from beginning to end? Pop in a full album. More interested in checking out singles, bouncing from rock to pop to folk to beyond? Put your iPod on shuffle and move through his individual songs. Hits? He’s got them. Obscure tracks? Those, too. Fan favorites? Duh.

No matter your mood, there’s Springsteen.

Which can be a problem when trying to compile An Ultimate Springsteen Playlist. How can you narrow down a top 40 or 50 songs, let alone a top 10-15? Do you include any complete albums (really, Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town deserve this), or do you pick and chose the best tracks? Do you use studio versions or live cuts?


There are many, many directions you can go, and that’s the beauty of his music. When I’m sad, I can play “Racing in the Street.” When I’m happy, I can play “Ramrod” (the version off Live in New York City, of course). Or I can play “Thunder Road,” which satisfies any mood, any time.

So, Springsteen fans, I ask you this: Please share with me your suggestions for the Ultimate Springsteen Playlist(s). I’m looking for the 50-60 songs you think best represent his work, particularly for people who are familiar with him, but not overly so. I’m looking for creativity more than just a “here are my favorite Bruce songs.” Try something like “Songs That Sound Like They’re About Cars But Are Really About Girls,” or “Songs About My Dad,” or “Bruce is Angry” followed by “Bruce is Happy.”

Think about your suggestions, then leave your playlists in the comments section below. Your help is greatly appreciated.

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4 thoughts on “Reason to Believe: In search of the Ultimate Bruce Springsteen Playlist

  1. PENSIVE BRUCE

    “Nebraska”
    “Youngstown”
    “Thunder Road” (75-85)
    “No Surrender” (75-85)
    “With Every Wish”
    “My Hometown”
    “Mary Queenof Arkansas”
    “State Trooper”
    “Racing in the Street”

    FIERY BRUCE
    “The Rising”
    “We Take Care of Our Own”
    “Badlands” (75-85)
    “Radio Nowhere”
    “Youngstown” (with Tom Morello)

  2. Thanks for the comment at my place. I could call this my “Bruce, pump me up” set…

    Streets Of Fire
    Don’t Look Back
    Rendezvous
    Who’ll Stop The Rain (live cover)
    Growin’ Up
    She’s The One
    Night
    Badlands
    The Promised Land
    No Surrender
    Lost In The Flood
    Trouble River
    Ramrod
    Seaside Bar Song
    Bobby Jean

  3. I like your “Songs about my dad” suggestion, so I’m going to go with “Songs that remind me of my dad,” since he is the one with whom I share Bruce the most! This is an awesome idea!
    “Thunder Road”
    “Kitty’s Back”
    “She’s the One” (our song)
    “Streets of Fire”
    “Backstreets”
    “Rosalita”
    “Badlands”
    “Thundercrack”
    “Growin’ Up”
    “Sandy”
    “Candy’s Room”
    “Racing in the Street”
    “Atlantic City”
    “Because the Night” (75-85)
    “Darkness on the Edge of Town”
    “The E Street Shuffle”
    “Incident of 57th Street”
    “Jungleland”
    “Spirit in the Night”

  4. Jungleland.
    My Father’s House
    Atlantic City
    Thunder Road.
    Backstreets.
    Racing in the Street.
    Jungleland.
    Mary’s Place.
    Dancing in the Dark.
    Highway Patrolman
    Used Cars
    Blinded by the Light
    Streets of Fire
    The Promised Land
    Lost in the Flood.
    Jungleland.

    Yes, I know I put Jungleland in there 3 times. There’s a reason for that. I maintain that that is the single greatest song ever composed. “Beneath the city, two hearts beat. Soul engines running through a night so tender. In a bedroom locked, in whispers soft; refusal and then, surrender.” and “No one watches the ambulance pull away, or as the girl shuts off the bedroom light.” still cause chills to run down my body, a full year after hearing it for the first time.

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