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"

15

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

bruce springsteen
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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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