A lot of Bruce Springsteen songs stand out in different ways. But “The Rising,” the title track of his 2002 album, stands out in this way: It’s probably the most purposeful song of his career, an attempt to provide an inspirational anthem for the country after 9/11.
As Springsteen has said, he happened to be in Sea Bright one day, soon after 9/11, when a stranger in a car yelled out, “We need you.” Springsteen took the message to heart.
The song is sung from the point of view of a firefighter, in one of the Twin Towers, facing probable death. He thinks of his family, and the preciousness of life. The gospel-flavored chorus (“Come on up for the rising”) is nothing less than a prayer for resurrection — for the firefighter, of course, but also for the country as a whole.
“The Rising” has become a mainstay of Springsteen’s concerts since then, and one of his most dependably rousing numbers. Perhaps his most memorable performance of it came in January 2009, when he sang it at the Lincoln Memorial, with a 125-member gospel behind him, at President Obama’s “We Are One” inauguration celebration. Check out this performance below.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.