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12 Best Springsteen Albums (Not Made by Bruce)

The E Street bandleader was involved with loads of great LPs recorded by other artists

Bruce Springsteen (C) and the E Street Band, with Nils Lofgren and Steven Van Zandt,

Bruce Springsteen (center) with Nils Lofgren and Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band. The boss was involved in many great records by other artists, including these 12.

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Keyboardist David Sancious was the only member of the E Street Band to ever live on E Street (located in Belmar, New Jersey) – but over the past four decades, E Street has proven to be a state of mind more than a neighborhood. Bruce Springsteen looms so large, straddling the Garden State like a colossus, that there are countless albums made under his influence: records by sidemen past, present and future; discs that he produced; albums by fellow travelers recording the songs he never got around to releasing himself. These are 12 of our favorites – great albums for when you're driving all night on Interstate 95 and you didn't bring along your copy of The River.

Nils Lofgren/Grin

Nils Lofgren/Grin, ‘1+1’

Working with the power-pop trio Grin, Nils Lofgren released two albums before Springsteen issued his own debut, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. The second, 1972's 1+1, is the keeper, evenly split between raucous tracks like "End Unkind" and wistful downtempo tunes like "Lost a Number." Throughout, Lofgren displays the guitar prowess that made him a teenage sideman to Neil Young (and an adult member of the E Street Band) – but he always does so in the service of the songs, which is why this album became the cornerstone of his long solo career.

Bruce Factor: None.

Steven Van Zandt

Little Steven, ‘Voice of America’

Steven Van Zandt left the E Street Band for this 1984 album, missing the lucrative Born in the U.S.A. tour, and it might have even been worth it. Voice of America is a passionate collection of political rock songs about topics like South American repression ("Los Desaparecidos"), conflicted nationalism ("I Am a Patriot," which became an anthem for Jackson Browne) and solidarity ("Solidarity"). The album made it all the way to Number Six in Norway, presaging Van Zandt's later Scandinavian success with the TV series Lilyhammer.

Bruce Factor: None, other than the parting message in the Born in the U.S.A. liner notes ("Buon viaggio, mio fratello, Little Steven").

Patti Scialfa

Patti Scialfa, ‘Rumble Doll’

In 1993, two years after becoming Mrs. Bruce Springsteen, E Street Band backup singer Patti Scialfa released her solo debut. Produced by Springsteen and Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, it's a wonderful showcase for her sultry voice and impressive songwriting chops, featuring emotionally complex tunes like "Baby Don't." Most nights on the 1999-2000 E Street Band tour, Patti sang a few bars of the title track, but it's worth checking out the other 99 percent of the album as well.

Bruce Factor: He's a co-producer and occasional guitarist. E Streeters Nils Lofgren and Roy Bittan play on the album, as well as future E Street violinist Soozie Tyrell.

Gary U.S. Bonds

Gary U.S. Bonds, ‘Dedication’

Springsteen co-produced this thrilling 1981 comeback record for Sixties rocker Bonds (most famous for "Quarter to Three"), keeping The River's party rolling by giving him three songs that didn't make that album's final cut. The following year, Springsteen gave Bonds another seven original songs for On the Line – but Dedication was the one that included Number 11 single "This Little Girl," which explodes out of your speakers the first time you hear it (or when you play it 20 times in a row).

Bruce Factor: Springsteen co-produced the album with Bonds and Steven Van Zandt; he also played guitar and sang a duet with Bonds on "Jole Blon."

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