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"

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47. "Lost in the Flood"

Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., 1973

With its images of returning veterans, Chevy races and post-Vietnam America beginning to erode, this grand, apocalyptic parable foreshadows themes Springsteen would explore throughout his career. It was, he says, about "trying to get a feeling for . . . the forces that affected my parents' lives . . . the whole thing of the wasted life." (Tellingly, he performed it during the Vote for Change concert in 2004.) The recording also marks Van Zandt's first appearance on a Springsteen album: Although he didn't play guitar, Van Zandt supplied the sound-effects blast that opens the song.

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