4. "Atlantic City"
On March 15th, 1981 Philadelphia-based mafia boss Philip Testa was murdered when a rival member of his own gang blew up his house. He worked in the chicken business (and had horrible chicken pox scars on his face), so he was known in the underworld as the Chicken Man. Springsteen learned of Testa's fate when writing songs for Nebraska, leading to one of the most memorable opening lines in his catalog: "Well they blew up the Chicken Man in Philly last night / Now they blew up his house too." The song goes on to tell the sad tale of a desperate man driven to crime. The song works beautifully as a solo acoustic number or as a booming rock rendition with the E Street Band. The Band also cut a stellar cover on their 1993 LP, Jericho.