Springsteen: Best of the Rest

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10:  Bruce Springsteen and The E Street band perform onstage at the 29th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on April 10, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Any fan can put together a Greatest Hits record for The Boss, and you’d get very little variety. Asking the same fans to pick a 12-14 (or 2021) track Best of the Rest playlist, I believe, would give a much wider and interesting range of selections.

This is my list (YouTube playlist). Here’s a Deep Cuts list from Apple Music. What’s yours? This is a record so sequence the songs for the best listening experience.

And if you’re saying, Bill my favorite band is Not Bruce well (foolish you) try to do this for your favorites. If they have enough good stuff!

Side One: The Sunny Side

  1. Growin’ Up: an amazing solo performance from 1972.
  2. Waiting on a Sunny Day: Let’s follow that up with a 2008 full band (16? 17? E Streeters) and, at the 4:00 mark, pulls a young girl up to sing for him while he “dances”.
  3. All that Heaven Will Allow: Sweet version from 1988 opening with a beautiful Big Man solo and a pre-song story (actual song starts at about the 8:00 mark)
  4. She’s the One: London 1975, Clarence in his sharp white suit, Bruce in wooly ski cap and Steve still in his fedora blasting the Bo Diddley beat
  5. Thundercrack: “Her bones they rattle and her brains they shake, she’s the angel from Inner Lake.” 2013 performance
  6. Spare Parts: A year before the Wall fell, Bruce did a huge show in East Berlin including this Texas rock version of the Tunnel of Love tune
  7. Mary’s Place: Nice R&B/party rock arrangement, an uplifting end to Side One

Side Two: The Gritty Side

  1. Night: Leads off the side with twin guitars blazing (really hard to find a decent concert version)
  2. Jackson Cage: From Wembley 2002, would prefer to get an early 80s performance but again not finding much
  3. Living in the Future: One of the last Big Man shows, miss him so much!
  4. Point Blank: Hard choice between this and Drive All Night (intimate version with Bruce on piano backed by SVZ on acoustic guitar and Clarence with his sax)
  5. Atlantic City: Paris 1985, electrifying performance
  6. Cover Me: Born in the USA tour, with Bruce in guitar hero mode
  7. Prove It All Night: From a ’78 show great Clarence/Bruce solos, let’s close with a song that’s down in the dirt but enough heart to lift you out.

Bonus EP: “Covers”

From the beginning Bruce and the E Streeters have been a pop music jukebox so I’m throwing in this list of favorites, including a couple of Bruce tunes that he wrote but were hits for other artists.

  1. Fire: Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ, Sep. 1978, black and white but looks professionally shot
  2. It’s My Life: This has one of the classic Bruce story intros, about his dad and trying to understand each other (Atlanta, 1977, decent audio, poor video)
  3. Jersey Girl: Bruce finally gets the band back together in 1999 and blows the roof off the Meadowlands Arena. Hearing this always makes me think of my sister (Hi Jo!)
  4. What’s So Funny (About Peace, Love and Understanding)?: From the 2004 Vote for Change shows, Eddie Vedder, Jackson Browne and John Fogerty join the E Streeters in this power pop gem from Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello
  5. Many Rivers to Cross: More gospel than reggae in Bruce’s version (this 1993 video is “the other band”)
  6. Light of Day: Bruce joins Joan Jett on the screamer he wrote for her 1987 movie (2001 video)
  7. Viva Las Vegas: The Boss pays homage to The King (this 1993 video is “the other band”)

Jeez this was hard to do than I expected! Keeping the list to just these 20 was really difficult but I have a tough time understanding that anyone listening to this playlist wouldn’t come away loving Bruce’s music.