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YMMV / Bruce Springsteen

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  • Covered Up:
    • Springsteen didn't write "Jersey Girl", Tom Waits did on his album Heartattack and Vine.
    • "Blinded By The Light", which became the signature song of Manfred Mann's Earth Band, is actually a cover of the "first" Springsteen song, as it opens his debut album.
    • An odd case with "Because the Night". He wrote it, then gave it to Patti Smith, who rewrote some of the verses and released it as a hit single on her album Easter. He later released his version (which means his is technically the covernote ), and they are credited as cowriters. (To make things even more confusing, Springsteen and Smith often sing each other's version of the lyrics, or a blend of the two, for fun. This is what happens when two great singer-songwriters are good friends.)
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    • "The Ghost of Tom Joad" was probably better known in the rather different Rage Against the Machine version for a long time... and then things went full circle on High Hopes, where Morello joined Springsteen for a new version that sounds somewhere between the two and got significant airplay.
    • "Pink Cadillac" is not a Natalie Cole-written song, though she did pretty much make it her own.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: His section is here.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The Big Man, Clarence Clemons. Always introduced last, to the loudest applause. You could usually hear, on live recordings, a swell in the crowd noise when he got a solo. Also The Stoic and usually The Voiceless, although he could and sometimes did sing.
    • Steve Van Zandt could claim this now, but for very unmusical reasons.
    • Clemons sometimes toured on his own with a band called "The Big Man's Temple of Soul". And his shows were every bit as intense as Bruce's.
    • Album variant: Magic, which had only two singles (neither of them hits) and was (allegedly) denied radio airplay by major radio stations, still managed to become his fastest-selling album of the decade thanks to its fan-favorite tracks like "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" and "Long Walk Home."
  • Epic Riff:
    • "Born to Run"
    • "Thunder Road" (Harmonica)
    • "Backstreets" (Piano)
    • Jungleland (Piano/Violin)
    • "Born in the U.S.A." (Synthesizer/Piano)
    • The new version of "Land of Hope and Dreams" highlights a killer banjo / acoustic guitar riff.
    • "Last to Die" (guitar; violin/keyboard live)
    • "Radio Nowhere" (guitar)
    • "Dancing in the Dark" (synthesizer/guitar)
    • "Hungry Heart" (piano)
    • "Badlands" (organ)
  • First Big Hit Wins: "Born to Run" is easily his most popular song, and it is also one of his earliest.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: 1973's "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)," often simply called "Sandy," gained a distinctly dark undertone when Hurricane Sandy completely trashed Asbury Park in 2012 (although that happened closer to Halloween than the 4th). Sensitive to this, Bruce pointedly did not play that song at the post-Hurricane Sandy benefit concert that December.
  • Ho Yay: Played for Laughs with guitarist Steve Van Zandt.
    • Seeing as "Bobby Jean" is about Steve leaving the band in the eighties, not just for laughs...
    • He used to close "Thunder Road" by sliding across the stage, ending up on his knees in front of Clarence Clemons, who would proceed to kiss him passionately.
    • Clemons had a girlfriend who dumped him because she thought he was cheating on her with Bruce.
    • The song "My Lover Man", which has Bruce singing about a man leaving his woman for him.
    • The song Backstreets has it... possibly.
      "Terry you swore we'd live forever/taking it on them backstreets together"
  • I Am Not Shazam: The protagonist of "Johnny 99" is named Ralph, not Johnny. The title refers to his 99-year prison sentence for trying to rob a nightclub, which the song is about.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: There's a contingent of hardcore fans who dismiss Born in the USA because it was too commercially successful.
  • Memetic Badass: Clarence. The story of how he joined the band: They were playing in a small club on a rather stormy night, he showed up and accidentally tore the door off its hinges and told Bruce "I want to play with your band."
    • According to legend, Bruce's response was, "...uh, you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT, man..."
  • Memetic Molester: "I'm On Fire".
  • Misaimed Fandom: How many times has "Born in the USA" been trotted out on July 4th or otherwise associated with some form of patriotism?
    • "Born in the USA" got used in Republican campaigns during the 80s. Needless to say (given his political views), The Boss was not impressed...
    • Bruce's music is quite popular among blue collar conservatives in the US and treated as anthemic, despite Bruce being decidedly liberal and writing songs from a viewpoint that reflects this.
    • "Born to Run" is considered one of New Jersey state's songs despite it being about, in Springsteen's own words, "about leaving Jersey.".
      • Notably, at the time, working-class Freehold, which he also somewhat bittersweetly skewers in My Hometown, and In Freehold.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The last few lines of "Magic": On the road the sun is sinkin' low / Bodies hanging in the trees / This is what what will be / This is what will be...
    • From "Hey Blue Eyes," The line "in this house there's just the dust of bones, the basement's filled with lye." Very disturbing imagery.
    • "State Trooper" is a pretty sinister song. Appropriate, given that it was inspired by Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop".
  • Retroactive Recognition: Conan O'Brien's drummer used to be in a rock band?
  • Values Resonance: "American Skin (41 Shots)" sounds like something that could have been released in the mid 2010s in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the various controversial police shootings that made the news around that time. In actuality, it was released in 2001, in response to a single controversial shooting.
    • His entire oeuvre of work has essentially earned a testament to how much values resonance it has in the 2019 film Blinded by the Light, which is about the impact his music had on a Pakistani-British teenager in the late '80s, over a decade after much of his most famous work was recorded. In turn, the film itself arguably serves as a testament for how this still applies an entire generation later.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Springsteen being an outspoken liberal, coupled with several of his songs chronicling the struggle of working-class people in America, makes this trope kind of unavoidable.


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