Matt Knight

Weekdays 2pm - 7pm

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest Bruce Springsteen fan. I can appreciate his career and body of work, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a “fan.”

Maybe it’s because I wasn’t born in New Jersey or I just don’t relate to his lyrics, but I certainly grew up hearing his music on the radio in the early 1980’s and seeing his videos on MTV or “Friday Night Videos.”

In celebration of his 73rd birthday on Sept. 23rd, here’s the top 5 Bruce songs that I can say I genuinely like (in no particular order.)

  • "Pink Cadillac"

    1984 (Non-Album Single)

    Maybe it’s because it has an Elvis Presley vibe. “This is a song about the conflict between worldly things and spiritual health, between desires of the flesh and spiritual ecstasy,” Bruce once said onstage. It was the B side to “Dancing in the Dark,” and Natalie Cole had a surprise hit with the song in 1988.

  • "My City Of Ruins"

    2002 “The Rising”

    Springsteen debuted “My City of Ruins” in December 2000 at Christmas shows in Asbury Park, which had fallen on hard times since its heyday as a beach town. But the song took on a new meaning when he performed a gospel-tinged rendition at a TV telethon for the victims of 9/11. In 2012, the song took on yet another meaning when it became a nightly tribute to Clarence Clemons on the Wrecking Ball tour. The “City of Ruins” was now the E Street Band itself.

  • "I'm Goin' Down"

    1984 “Born in the USA”

    This fun, straightforward rocker almost didn’t make it onto Born in the U.S.A. – “It was either this or ‘Pink Cadillac,’” Springsteen said years later when introducing it live. The song ended up being the sixth Top 10 single from the album.  Since the Born in the U.S.A. tour, the E Street Band has rarely played it live. At one of its rare concert appearances, he jokingly called it “one of my more insightful songs about men and women.”

  • “I’m On Fire”

    1984 “Born in the USA”

    “I’m On Fire” is one of his most intimate songs. It’s about fundamental deep-seated desire. The drums are played with a cross stick on the snare. The performance has its own power. It’s something that exists in him. It’s just there. And it’s astonishing to see somebody who relied that much on physical power to let the music and his voice be understated like this. It’s a great moment. In the, Springsteen plays a mechanic with an attractive, married female customer who brings her Ford Thunderbird in for frequent servicing, always requesting that he does the work. She leaves a small bunch of keys with him when she leaves in her car, possibly including house keys implying that she wishes to start an affair with him, but declines his offer to bring the car out to her house when it’s ready. Later that night, he drives the car up to her mansion. He looks to a second floor window with the light on and is about to ring the bell, when he thinks better of it and drops her keys in the mailbox next to the door.

  • “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”

    1973 “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle”

    Springsteen wrote his first real anthem for exactly the purpose it ended up serving for decades: to blow the roof off concert venues of all shapes and sizes. By the time he recorded “Rosalita” in early 1973, it was a rocker – not to mention, a totally true story: “Tell him this is his last chance/To get his daughter in a fine romance/Because the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance.” Springsteen later said, “The stuff I write is the stuff I live with. . . . They’re all true. Even the names – Big Balls Billy, Weak-Kneed Willie, all of ’em.” The song’s romantic dilemma (Rosie’s dad has locked her away) is presented with fierce urgency, except for one lyric, which Springsteen later called “one of the most useful lines I’ve ever written”: “Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.”