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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Clayton Call/Redferns36/100

36. "Shut Out the Light"

Non-album B side, 1984

For anyone wondering if "Born in the U.S.A." was an endorsement or a condemnation of the American dream, all they had to do was flip the single over and play its gripping B side. "Shut Out the Light" took inspiration from the book Born on the Fourth of July, by Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic. Over a supple acoustic backdrop and Soozie Tyrell's violin, Springsteen sings about Vietnam's hellish psychological aftermath. (He removed two verses, one of which alluded to the protagonist's drug problem.) Performing the song in stadiums during the Born in the U.S.A. tour, he said, "This song is about leaving home and not being able to find your way back."

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