Rolling Stone has put together a panel of well-known musicians, journalists and other music-industry figures to assemble a list of Bruce Springsteen's 100 greatest songs, and the Boss' breakout 1975 tune "Born to Run" has landed at the top of the tally.
Among the judges tapped to rank Bruce's songs are E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt, Jackson Browne, recent Springsteen collaborator Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, actor Edward Norton, Arcade Fire singer Win Butler and writers David Fricke, Mikal Gilmore and Alan Light.
Speaking with Rolling Stone about "Born to Run" on the occasion of the song's 30th anniversary back in 2005, Springsteen said, "I wanted to make the greatest rock record that I'd ever heard, I wanted it to sound enormous, to grab you by your throat and insist that you take that ride, insist that you pay attention -- not just to the music, but to life, to being alive."
Coming in at #2 was "Badlands," from the 1978 album Darkness at the Edge of Town. Browne told Rolling Stone that he was impressed by the multiple vocals the Boss contributed to the song, noting, "That's him singing the high part, while his other voice, this full-throated thing, continues below. It's cool and thrilling." Jackson added, "There is an economy of language that comes in here. He's building a persona, a lexicon of references."
In the third spot is "Thunder Road," the lead track from 1975's Born to Run album. Bruce told Rolling Stone that he wrote the song shortly after the end of the Vietnam War. "There's quite a sense of dread and uncertainty about the future and who you were, where you were going, where the whole country was going," he explained, "so that found its way into the record."
You can check out the entire 100 Springsteen songs chosen for the list at RollingStone.com, but here are the top 20:
1. "Born to Run"
3. "Thunder Road"
4. "Racing in the Street"
5. "The River"
7. "Atlantic City"
8. "Darkness on the Edge of Town"
9. "Born in the U.S.A."
10. "The Promised Land"
11. "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"
12. "The Ghost of Tom Joad"
15. "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"
16. "Prove It All Night"
17. "Incident on 57th Street"
18. "State Trooper"
19. "The Promise"
20. "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"
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