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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"Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"

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

Springsteen wrote his first real anthem for exactly the purpose it ended up serving for decades: to blow the roof off concert venues of all shapes and sizes. The cadence and melody of the song appeared in a Van Morrison-style soul-folk tune called "Henry Boy," which he performed solo acoustic in 1972. By the time he recorded "Rosalita" in early 1973, it was a surging, exultant, breathless rocker – not to mention, a totally true story: "Tell him this is his last chance/To get his daughter in a fine romance/Because the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance." Springsteen later said, "The stuff I write is the stuff I live with. . . . They're all true. Even the names – Big Balls Billy, Weak-Kneed Willie, all of 'em." (Ex-girlfriend Diane Lozito is believed to have inspired the song, but Springsteen has never given any indication as to Rosie's true identity.) The song's romantic dilemma – Rosie's dad has locked her away – is presented with fierce urgency, except for one lyric, which Springsteen later called "one of the most useful lines I've ever written": "Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny."

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