All right, friends, let’s finish this up.
“I’ll Work for Your Love” (2007)
A lot of die hard Springsteen fans will take issue with this, but my favorite Bruce album of the last 30 years is not The Rising; rather, it’s 2007’s Magic. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Rising. if it were three or four songs shorter, I would probably like it better than Magic; it isn’t, however. Given the inspiration for The Rising, the length is understandable. That doesn’t mean that I have to like all those tunes.
Time and place play a big role in which albums become our favorites, also. Our favorite albums are often the ones that introduced us to a band or artist. This also adds weight to why I’m such a big fan of Magic. It was Becky’s first Bruce album, the album upon which her love for Bruce’s music was founded, and there’s nothing like it when the ones we love get into what we’re into.
I was still living in Charleston and making the trip to Gettysburg every week. I would jam the album all the way up the highway and then put the disk in the player while in Gettysburg. After a bit of this, it became evident that Becky needed her own copy, so I left that one and bought another for myself.
So many of those tracks stood out for me, but none more than “I’ll Work for Your Love.” It’s got so many of the aspects of a great Springsteen song for me. It’s got the religious iconography that so many great Springsteen songs have; it’s a rocker and a testimony of love, but it’s not your run of the mill, daydreams of sunshine and rainbows fluff. Ain’t no impossible promises here, nobody taking the moon from the sky or sailing to the ends of the earth. No, here it’s just a dude telling his woman that her love is worth him doing whatever is in his human power to do.
It totally echoed who I was and what I felt at the time, and it still does.
“Murder Inc.” (1982)
While this song wasn’t released until 1995’s Greatest Hits collection, it was written in 1982 and recorded for 1984’s Born in the USA. It has even been reported that it was slated to be the title track for the album that became Born in the USA. It’s interesting that it didn’t even make the album.
Not much guess about this one. I’m a metal head who has always been into mafia stories. This is about as metal as Bruce has ever gotten and about as deeply into organized crime as he has delved. It’s a rocker from a rocker. Turn it up loud and enjoy.
“Blinded by the Light” (1973)
If Manfred Mann had never covered this song, it wouldn’t have made this list. While, I love “Blinded,” there are songs you haven’t heard that I like better. Still, Manfred did cover it and totally recreated. At the beginning of this list I spoke about the people who haven’t heard much more than “Born to Run,” which they don’t like, and upon which they base their whole opinion of Bruce Springsteen’s music.
I believe there’s also a group of people who know Bruce wrote this song and judge him unfavorably because of Manfred’s version.
The thing is, the song that Manfred Mann released was not the song Bruce wrote. Bruce’s original version of “Blinded” is an excellent example of who he was as a young singer and songwriter and who the E Street Band was as a young band. They are almost totally different songs.
They are such different songs that, as much as I love this original version, the Manfred Mann version is the last song that I’ll listen to on the radio, the very last one. There’s not one song that I’ll choose it over.
Not this one, however; this one, Bruce’s version, is just a straight up jam, and it’s a totally different song altogether.
All right, friends, that’s a wrap. Nothing but ramblings and self-stroking here, but I hope you took something from it.
It was difficult narrowing this down to just ten songs, and here are some of the other tunes I considered. I recommend them all.
“Incident on 57th Street,” “Adam Raised a Cain,” “Stolen Car,” “Point Blank,” “Wreck on the Highway,” “Sherrie Darling,” “Highway Patrolman,” “I Wish I Were Blind,” “Long Time Comin’,” “You’ll Be Coming Down,” “Land of Hope and Dreams,” “Frankie Fell in Love,” “Man at the Top,” “Harry’s Place”
I could go on, but I won’t. Not that I think they will, but if anyone would care to listen to all of these, I’m sure they’d go on to find any others that I might have listed.
Be well, people. I hope to see you back here sometime soon.