The Best of The Boss: 82 things you need to know about Bruce Springsteen

It's been a Bruce Springsteen kind of week up here at The Mountain and across the U.S.A. And I've enjoyed being a small part of it here on the Mountain website. First, I wrote a blog about "Death To My Hometown," one of the best tracks on Springsteen's new album, "Wrecking Ball." And then a few days later, I blogged a review of the entire CD. That review also appeared in The Weekender. Since then, we've learned that "Wrecking Ball" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and at No. 1 on the local Gallery of Sound chart. Also this week, Springsteen — as its keynote speaker — gave a colorful address at the SXSW conference in Texas. His lengthy interview with Rolling Stone also hit newsstands.

(If you are a fan, which I assume you are if you decided to read this blog, I highly suggest you read the Rolling Stone piece and listen to the SXSW speech.)

Amid it all, we were giving away some copies of "Wrecking Ball," and since Jimmy Fallon dedicated an entire week of his show to Springsteen, I thought I might offer one more blog about The Boss. It's a pretty simple one and it involves my iPod. I have just about everything Springsteen has ever released on CD, but rather than just upload every album to my iPod, I enjoy making "playlists" that include just my very favorite songs from those albums. I do this with a lot of my favorite artists. It's like one of those old "Best Of" cassettes you might have made for your car stereo or your walkman, but it's digital and it's actually a bit easier to assemble. My style has always been to mix up the eras on a playlist. Rather than put the songs in the chronology of their release, I like each playlist to weave throughout the artist's career.

When I did this for Springsteen a few years back, I decided to make five playlists, as if each was its own CD in a five-disc "Best Of" set. When I was done, there were 82 songs in total. They are my favorite songs from his catalog, though this was done before the release of "Wrecking Ball." When I update it, I'll need to add at least a few more. I am posting the songs here. If there is a rare tune here that you never heard of, let me know, and I'll be glad to tell you a little about it and where you can find it. And if you've got a favorite that I didn't include, let me know. And tell me why you like it. I enjoy talkin' some Bruce with people.

Playlist Vol. 1:

Playlist Vol. 2:

Playlist Vol. 3:

Playlist Vol. 4:

Playlist Vol. 5:

There you have it. My 82 favorite Bruce Springsteen songs, prior to 2012. I've been fortunate enough to have seen him in concert nine times, but when I meet people that don't know much about his music, I give them this list. It's where they need to start. And if I worked at Columbia Records and we were putting out a Springsteen boxed-set, this would be it. Are some of these tunes better than others? Certainly. But they're all great and it is — for my money — "The Best of Bruce Springsteen."

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