Singing ABOUT Springsteen, Part 2: Twenty more songs

Songs About Springsteen

Norma reads a John Updike book while in a boat with a Bruce Springsteen mannequin in the video for her song, “Badlands.”

In a post last year, I featured 20 songs — by Eric Church, John Mellencamp, Randy Newman and others — in which Bruce Springsteen is sung about or at least mentioned in the lyrics. Here are 20 more songs, many drawn from suggestions made by those who read the first post.

There’s one slight difference, though. While I specified that Springsteen’s name had to be mentioned in the lyrics the first time around (and then screwed up by including David Nail’s “Sound of a Million Dreams,” which does not actually do so), this time around I’m widening the scope, and intentionally including songs that touch on him, or his songs, but don’t necessarily mention him by name.

So here they are: 20 more songs about Bruce Springsteen. Some of the artists are extremely obscure, but I think there are a lot of cool “finds” here that a lot of Springsteen fans probably haven’t heard before.

Thanks to all who made suggestions, even if I didn’t use them. Maybe next time!

The Traveling Wilburys: “Tweeter and the Monkey Man”

Does not mention Springsteen by name, but is a Springsteenesque composition with many references to Springsteen songs in lines such as “She made secret calls to the Monkey Man from a mansion on the hill” and “It was out on Thunder Road, Tweeter at the wheel.”

John Wesley Harding: “Bastard Son”

“Bruce and James were family friends/Took my mind to Carolina through the New Jersey bends/Gave me a harmonica when I was 3/Nailed a banjo to my knees/Now Bruce is a foreman and James is a slave/Bruce gave in and James just gave up.”

The Cash Brothers: “Nebraska”

The songs mentions Springsteen’s darkest album, not Springsteen himself, as its narrator sings about wallowing in despair, endlessly listening to Nebraska.

Norma: “Badlands”

It’s very hard to make out the lyrics of this song, by French singer-songwriter Norma, but I definitely hear “I know he ain’t Springsteen” at the 1:55 mark of this video. Extra credit for cuddling with Springsteen mannequin in the video itself.

Kimya Dawson: “Being Cool”

“I was sitting on a couch somewhere watching VH1/When I found out that Bruce Springsteen is his mother’s only son/I’m my mother’s only daughter and we were both born to run/Even he says it’s amazing raising babies in the place where you come from.”

Dar Williams: “FM Radio”

“To feel the sexiness, the passion, and the fusion and the fission/Remember Bruce Springsteen divorced a model and married a musician.”

Steve Forbert: “My Seaside Brown-eyed Girl”

“I’m in Tennessee, you’re not here with me/You’re in Springsteen land, summer waves and sand.”

Rich O’Toole: “Springsteen Gold”

“Take me back to Springsteen gold, and Detroit steel/Yeah, something I can hold and feel … when radio was something real.” Extra credit for mentioning Southside Johnny, too, and including a Clarence Clemons-influenced sax solo.

Bleu Edmondson: “Our World Now”

“I got a tape of a rock ‘n’ roll band/An American band from the Jersey shore … Don’t give a damn about the football team/Or some small town scheme about what we are/Freedom to me ain’t plowin’ a field/It’s the scream of the wheels of my daddy’s car/Singin’, ‘No retreat, baby, no surrender.’ ”

The Gaslight Anthem: “Meet Me by the River’s Edge”

Several song references: “We tattooed lines beneath our skin/’No surrender, my Bobby Jean’/And we’ve been burned by all our fears/Just from growin’ up around here.”

The Hesh Inc.: “Bruce!”

“He was the boss, the doctor, the angel of soul/King of the Jersey Shore, crown prince of rock ’n’ roll/The music he made reached deep inside and took hold.”

Montgomery Gentry: “Hell Yeah”

“She yells out to the band, ‘Know any Bruce Springsteen?’/Then she jumps up on the bar and she starts to scream.”

Highway 9: “Between Your Eyes and Mine”

“We danced around in the midnight moon/And fell in love to a Springsteen tune.”

Bran Van 3000: “Speed”

Includes a rap with rapid-fire references to about a dozen Springsteen songs.

Roger Davies: “Springsteen”

More non-stop song references, from a British singer-songwriter. “I’m going down to the river right now/Gonna find Bobby Jean somewhere, somehow/I’ve been working on a dream, underneath the hot sun/Singing, ‘Tramps like us, we were born to run.’ ”

Link Wray: “It Was Elvis”

“Now Bruce is carrying on with ‘Born to Run’ and ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’/His gun’s for hire, he is making fire in his pink Cadillac, he’s the boss of the rock’n’roll sound.”

Lana Del Rey: “American”

“You were like dark tan, driving round the city/Flirting with the girls like you’re so pretty/’Springsteen is the king, don’t you think’/I was like, ‘Hell yeah that guy can sing.’ ”

Hannah Hennessy: “Just Like Springsteen”

“He loves every second he’s onstage/It’s amazing to see the smile on his face/Under the neon lights, he moves just like his heroes have before/Rockin’ out in his denim jeans/Looking just like Springsteen.”

Lifehouse: “Hurt This Way”

“Open the screen door, the transistor plays an old Springsteen song from my father’s glory days.”

Marcel: “Country Rock Star”

Springsteen sang the ‘Glory Days,’ I was born in the USA.”


Adam Sandler: “Hanukkah Song, Part 2”

“So many Jews are in showbiz, Bruce Springsteen isn’t Jewish but my mother thinks he is.”


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Mario Herrmann September 4, 2018 - 3:21 pm

Hey, you forget “Poison Grace” by Elliott Murphy. This Song mentioned Springsteen, Asbury Park, Johnny 99 and the Nebraska Album.

Roger September 4, 2018 - 5:05 pm

Wow I have a collection of 370+ tracks mentioning Springsteen, so I am impressed that you had one I did not know about (Bleu Edmondson Our World Now ).
By the way Hannah Hennessy is now called Hannah Mahoney for those that may want to buy her track.
Many of the tracks are country and there are many rap tracks too but all genres seem to be represented. Some only on bandcamp.
Latest addition was released on 21st August this year Springsteen by NIGHT TRAVELER.

Reply September 4, 2018 - 6:54 pm

Wow, is there any way for you to send me that list? Best email would be (No problem if you can’t). Thanks!

Roger September 5, 2018 - 5:55 pm

Let me see what I can do, will email you

Sami September 5, 2018 - 5:06 am

A finnish country rock song about Nebraska too, no mention of Springsteen by name:

Sami September 5, 2018 - 5:11 am

A finnish pop song mentioning Springsteens advice to be born to run and thus deciding to fix an old car and leaving:

RRL September 5, 2018 - 7:11 am

“Ow, A Bad Singer’s Pony Rent” is the only known protest song about the the price to pay to see Springsteen On Broadway. If you want some balance to your list this is the one!

Dennis Graham September 5, 2018 - 8:37 am

I don’t know the title as I’ve only heard the song live but Joe Gruschecky has a song that references his collaboration with Bruce. A line that says something about “Springsteen on the line”.

Dave Warwick September 5, 2018 - 10:30 am

One last dance, by Badly drawn boy from the album Born in the UK.
“and if we still don’t have a plan, we’ll listen to Thunder road”

Robert Mason September 6, 2018 - 2:28 am

The Saw Doctors’ ‘I Want to Kiss the Bangles’ opens with ‘I wouldn’t kiss Bruce Springsteen’!

GAR September 6, 2018 - 11:30 am

The band identified as Samhill was actually called Highway 9 when their album “What the Samhill?” was released with the song Between Your Eyes and Mine, which references Springsteen. They were named Samhill but I believe they had to change it when they got their record contract because there was another band with that name. It was a great band, great album and song. Unfortunately, they broke up before releasing another album.

Reply September 6, 2018 - 2:59 pm

Thanks, will correct

Silver September 6, 2018 - 6:40 pm

Public Enemy, “The Long and Whining Road” – A song that tells the history of the group and is filled with Dylan song title references, it also includes this lyric:

“Beethoven, Bach and Brahms, I want some James Brown
Even Bruce, Brian, Bono, Beck, yeah Chuck Berry
Prince, Stevie, Sly, Smokey, Johnny Cash in my Chevy
Heard some call me Uncle Tom – now that’s Petty”

Live, “People Like You” –

“In a dream I had
I was on the stage with Queen
Michael Stipe and Elton John
Bono, Springsteen
Singing ‘Hallelujiah!
Rock and roll is king'”

Ryan September 18, 2018 - 2:25 pm

Missed a rap song:

Nas – Hero

“Try tellin Bob Dylan, Bruce or Billy Joel they cant sing whats in their soul”

Shelley Haiken September 23, 2018 - 5:22 pm

Here’s another obscure reference. Christine Lavin’s song, “If You’re Drunk You Cannot Buy a Puppy”. She has a whole monologue about The Sopranos in the song – “that actor from Bruce Springsteen’s band turned out to be a punk”.


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