3 songs that still stop me in my tracks

Bruce Springsteen is putting out a new album this week, and based on the pre-publicity I’ve decided to plunk down my hard-earned to purchase it. I used to be first in line to buy his stuff — the Springsteen concert I attended in 1984 is one of my best memories — but I could take or leave his last three or four projects. But this one, Letters To You, sounds like a return to old glory.

I checked out the two early releases Saturday morning. The title song and “Ghosts” both sound like Bruce and the E Street Band are as good as ever. More on them later.

It wasn’t fair, but the tunes put me in the mood to revisit the most awesome song the Boss ever produced, where he admittedly attempted to create the greatest rock ’n’ roll song ever and may just have succeeded.

“Born to Run” is one of a handful of songs that made me stop and stare at the speakers the first time I ever heard it, and it retains its power to stop me in my tracks after all these years.

That got me thinking about records that can grab me by the throat like that on repeated listenings, and for different reasons I have to say there are only two: “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys and “The Word” by Sara Groves. They are both perfect songs perfectly executed in the recording.

There are plenty of other songs that transport me — before Bruce, “Devil with a Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly” by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels was my rock champion, and how about “She’s A Lady” by John Sebastian or “Lady-O” or “The Kiss” by Judee Sill or “For Free” by Joni Mitchell … ?

but these three — wow. Another level altogether.

And, to save you a search, here are the two new Springsteen songs.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, and an insistent cat. Author of How to Play a Blue Guitar, A Bridge at Crossroads, Refuse to be Afraid, and A Scream of Consciousness.

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