Born in the U.S.A., 1984
When Jon Landau heard Born in the U.S.A., he felt something was missing. "He suggested we didn't have a single," said Springsteen. "[So] I wrote 'Dancing in the Dark.' It went as far in the direction of pop music as I wanted to go – and probably a little farther." The glossy, synth-driven song masks a story of outright desperation, but it helped reach a whole new audience (especially after Springsteen filmed a video where he dances with 20-year-old Courteney Cox), and it remains his most successful single. "It was much, much, much more produced," says Van Zandt. "I didn't like that song when I first heard it. Much later I learned to like it."