When it comes to curating the ultimate playlist for a lifetime spent on a deserted island, very few individuals possess the musical prowess and storytelling ability to captivate our souls. Bruce Springsteen, lovingly known as “The Boss,” undoubtedly falls into this elite category.
With a career spanning decades and an unparalleled knack for crafting songs that resonate with the working class, Springsteen’s selection of eight songs he couldn’t live without is a testament to his impeccable taste and profound connection with music.
Bruce Springsteen’s Favorite Songs
Bruce Springsteen’s musical preferences recently came to light through the legendary British radio program, “Desert Island Discs.” This iconic show, which has welcomed both prime ministers and rock legends, has been a cornerstone of British pop culture since its inception in 1942.
Each week, a guest is invited to choose eight records that they would bring with them to a hypothetical desert island, along with one luxury item and one book.
Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog”
Springsteen’s first pick, Elvis Presley’s iconic “Hound Dog,” holds a special place in his heart. He recalls, “When I heard it, it just shot straight through to my brain.”
The song ignited a fire within him, sparking a realization that life had more to offer than he had previously known. It was a thunderbolt moment that set him on a path toward a lifelong love affair with music.
He said, “When I heard it, it just shot straight through to my brain. I realized, suddenly, that there was more to life than what I’d been living. I was then in pursuit of something and there’d been a vision laid out before me. You were dealing with the pure thrust, the pure energy of the music itself. I was so very young but it still hit me like a thunderbolt.”
The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
The Fab Four’s “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was another transformative track for Springsteen. He reminisces about the raucous sound that emanated from his radio and the inspiration it provided. This song propelled him to start playing rock and roll music, igniting a passion that would define his career.
Bruce commented, “This was another song that changed the course of my life. It was a very raucous sounding record when it came out of the radio. It really was the song that inspired me to play rock and roll music — to get a small band and start doing some small gigs around town. It was life-changing. It’s still a beautiful record.”
The Rolling Stones’ “It’s All Over Now”
Springsteen’s third essential song choice, The Rolling Stones’ “It’s All Over Now,” carries a sentimental connection. He fondly recalls using his mother’s hair clips to straighten his hair, emulating the look of Brian Jones, the band’s founding member.
This song played a pivotal role in Springsteen’s life as it marked the moment when he decided to become a lead guitar player.
Van Morrison’s “Madame George”
Despite his reputation as a blue-collar rocker, Springsteen appreciates the beauty in softer musical moments. Van Morrison’s “Madame George” finds a spot on his list of favorites. He describes Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” as a record that made him trust in beauty and feel the presence of the divine.
He commented, “Astral Weeks was an extremely important record for me. It made me trust in beauty, it gave me a sense of the divine. The divine just seems to run through the veins of that entire album.”
Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”
Springsteen’s fourth selection, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” is hailed as a masterpiece. He praises its ability to blend sultriness and sexuality with street-level politics, a theme that would resonate throughout his own career.
“This entire record, from start to finish, is a masterpiece. It was sultry and sexual while at the same time dealing with street-level politics. That had a big influence on me.”
James Brown’s “Out Of Sight”
James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, left an indelible mark on Springsteen with his 1964 hit, “Out Of Sight.” Springsteen vividly describes the track as pure excitement and electricity, capable of getting anyone out of their seat and moving to its rhythm.
He commented, “Pure excitement, pure electricity, pure ‘get out of your seat, move your ass’. Pure sweat-filled, gospel-filled raw, rock and roll, rhythm and blues. It’s like a taut rubber band.”
The Four Tops’ “Baby I Need Your Loving”
Springsteen’s connection with Motown music runs deep, and he chooses The Four Tops’ “Baby I Need Your Loving” as a testament to the role Motown played in his youth. Motown, he says, was the school where he honed his craft.
Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”
For his final and most poignant choice, Springsteen selects Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone.” He describes it as a torrent that rushes towards you, flooding your soul and mind. It awakened him to new worlds, new lives, and new ways of being. This track holds a special place in Springsteen’s heart, so much so that he considers it the one disc he would rescue if tragedy struck.
The Boss said, “The first time I heard it, it came out of the radio. I didn’t know anything about Dylan’s acoustic music. I was a creature of top 40, so the first time I really heard him with this song, it just instantly started to change my life.”
Springsteen’s Desert Island Essentials
With his trusty guitar as his luxury item, Springsteen’s musical journey extends to his book choice, “Woody Guthrie: A Life” by Joe Klein. This selection completes one of the finest Desert Island Discs ever heard, cementing Springsteen’s status as one of the most authentic figures in rock and roll.
In summary, Bruce Springsteen’s favorite songs represent a remarkable musical journey, from the electrifying rhythms of Elvis Presley to the thought-provoking melodies of Bob Dylan. These eight songs encapsulate the essence of Springsteen’s deep connection with music and how it has shaped his life. As you explore his selections, you’ll discover the profound impact that music can have on an individual, transcending time and touching the very soul of humanity.