Today is Bruce Springsteen’s 65th birthday, which is hard to imagine if you’ve recently seen him live in concert. That man has the energy of rockers in their twenties and thirties and routinely puts on three-hour plus shows that leave audience members exhausted from all the dancing and happiness. 65 isn’t old, but I get tired just watching him and I’m only in my thirties. I don’t know what fountain of youth that he’s drinking from, but I wouldn’t mind a sip or two myself. I look young for my age, but that doesn’t mean that my body knows that and I’ve already begun to see a dramatic increase in aches and pains in the last few years.
If you’ve been a regular reader of the blog from the start, you know that I hold Bruce Springsteen in a special place in my heart. Not only do I love his music, but I genuinely like him as a person; though I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Springsteen, he’s one of the few celebrities that I think I wouldn’t me disappointed by. With him I think what you see is what you get and by all accounts he’s a pretty great guy. I’m not surprised – people born in September are notoriously awesome individuals.
In honor of The Boss’ birthday, here are my top five Springsteen songs. I generally like anything that Springsteen does – with or without the E Street Band – but these songs are the ones that are guaranteed to make me smile.
- The Rising
This song was written after 9/11 and though it isn’t all that complicated, it’s simple and exactly the kind of song that I needed to hear to help me get through that dark time. It’s a song about a tragic day, but there is something so upbeat about the chorus that it just made me feel better. Listening to “The Rising,” I got the feeling that things were actually going to be OK; it reminded me of the resiliency of a city that I love the heroism of first responders. There’s a defiance that underlies the song – it’s an anthem of recovery.
- American Land
This is a song that I’ve come to love after seeing it performed live; when I first heard it on the Wrecking Ball album I liked it, but there was nothing in particular that stood out about it for me. Seeing it performed in person was a totally different experience and it has quietly become a song that I now really look forward to. I think the Irish influence really makes it stand out because it doesn’t really sound like any other Springsteen song.
As corny as this sounds, the lyrics of this song will always be important to me – whenever I hear the Boss sing “You spend your life waiting for a moment that just won’t come/Well don’t waste your life waiting” it’s a reminder that sometimes you have to move on from things that just weren’t meant to be and live your life. I have no idea why this particular song resonates so strongly with me, but it was the song that triggered something in me to snap out of a deep funk that I was in a few years ago. I am not one that is necessarily deeply affected by music, but something about “Badlands” touches me in a way that other songs just don’t.
- Glory Days
I first fell in love with Springsteen when I was pretty young and “Glory Days” was my favorite song for the longest time, despite the fact that at eight years old there was no way that I really understood what this song was really all about. At that point of my life, I hadn’t even experienced my glory days yet, but the hook and chorus were so catchy that it didn’t matter if the song wasn’t really applicable to me yet. As I’ve grown older, my affection for this song has only deepened as it has become more relatable. “Sometimes
Springsteen doesn’t seem to play this song in concert very much anymore, which is too bad because it such a great song. I had been cautioned not to expect it before I started going to Springsteen concerts, so I had prepared myself to possible never hear this song performed live. So imagine my delight when at my second ever Springsteen show he and the E Street band decided to dust it off and give it a go. I am not at all understating when I say that when I heard the first few notes of this song I.Lost.My.Mind. Seriously – I’m pretty mild mannered in general, but when they started playing “Rosalita” I jumped up out of my seat and just started dancing with absolutely no care as to what everyone else in our section was doing. If I was the only person in the arena boogieing down, so be it. This behavior was so out of character for me that the person I was with just stared at me in bewilderment. It didn’t matter to me – this was my song. Sadly, I’ve never heard it live since. But I heard it once and that’s enough.
Now it’s your turn – What are your favorite Springsteen songs? Can you believe the boss is halfway to seventy?
Happy birthday Bruce! Here’s to many more years of rock and roll!