100 Greatest Bruce Springsteen Songs of All Time

An expert panel of writers and artists pick Springsteen's best songs, from "Rosalita" to "Wrecking Ball"

"4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"
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15. "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"

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

Carried by the seaside swell of Danny Federici's accordion and Springsteen's crystalline lead-guitar intro, this elegiac spiritual descendant of the Beach Boys' "Surfer Girl" remains one of his most moving songs. Springsteen has called it a "love note and a goodbye song" to his musical home of Asbury Park – its imagery of "carnival life on the water" is an early display of ample storytelling and scene-setting gifts. Its depiction of Seventies Asbury is certainly romanticized: "No one would ever go under the boardwalk," said then-E Street drummer Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez. "There were rats under the boardwalk!"

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