35. "Tougher Than the Rest"
Tunnel of Love, 1987
Night after night, on the Tunnel of Love tour, this subtle ballad made for a singularly intimate duet between Springsteen and his future wife, Patti Scialfa. "I couldn't have written any of those songs at any other point in my career," Springsteen said at the time. "I wouldn't have had the knowledge or the insight or the experience to do it." Spare and tense, "Tougher Than the Rest" is about an emotionally bruised couple meeting at a bar, each hoping this time will be different. "This song is unusual in that it applies this macho way of talking to something sensitive," says Win Butler of Arcade Fire. "But it's even better hearing Patti sing it live with Bruce."