5 Essential Albums and Projects Featuring Bruce Springsteen

In the history of American music, few names ring out as loudly and as far as Bruce Springsteen. The New Jersey-born rocker, who wrote songs like “Dancing in the Dark” and “Born in the U.S.A.,” mixed poetry with muscle car emotions for a concoction that fueled the 1970s and 1980s.

Yet, “The Boss,” as he’s known, didn’t spread his music far outside of his solo projects and his work with his E Street Band. But from the few come the inspirational. Below, we culled five examples of Springsteen sharing the wealth that was his talent. Five instances of collaboration from his distinguished career.

1. “Because the Night,” Patti Smith
Released in 1978 on the Patti Smith album, Easter, “Because the Night” was Smith’s sole big hit, reaching No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. But it was written originally by Bruce Springsteen, who thought that a woman delivering its sensual and sexual lyrics would be more fitting than if he sang it. Originally meant for the Springsteen album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, the track was passed to Smith via their mutual record producer Jimmy Iovine.

Take me now, baby, here as I am
Hold me close, try and understand
Desire is hunger is the fire I breathe
Love is a banquet on which we feed

Come on now try and understand
The way I feel when I’m in your hands
Take my hand, come undercover
They can’t hurt you now
Can’t hurt you now, can’t hurt you now

2. “Wasted Days,” John Mellencamp
In 2022, famed Heartland singer John Mellencamp released his then-album, Strictly a One-Eyed Jack. The album included not one, but three guest features from longtime friend, Bruce Springsteen. The Boss sang on the songs “Did You Say Such a Thing,” “A Life Full of Rain” and “Wasted Days.” The latter of which included a music video. Working with Springsteen on the LP, Mellencamp said, was easy. After all, he admires The Boss, both the New Jersey artist’s “tenacity” and “humility.”

How many summers still remain?
How many days are lost in vain?
Who’s counting out these last remaining years?
How many minutes do we have here?

Wasted days
Wasted days
We watch our lives just fade away too
More wasted days

3. Renegades: Born in the USA
You know you’re a big-shot when you put out an entire podcast series with a former U.S. President. But that’s exactly what Springsteen and former POTUS Barack Obama did with their Renegades: Born in the USA series. The two, who became friends when Obama was running for office in 2008, maintained that friendship and parlayed it into a podcast series, as well as a 2021 book. For anyone who wants to learn about the men, their country, and friendship, check it out.

4. “Dustland,” The Killers
In 2008, the Las Vegas-born band the Killers released the song “A Dustland Fairytale” on their album Day & Age. Three years later, the band, which has been heavily influenced by Springsteen, from his passion to his perspective on America, released a new version of the song called “Dustland,” which features Springsteen singing the second verse as well as on the chorus and bridge.

Saw Cinderella in a party dress but
She was looking for a night gown
Saw the devil wrapping up his hands
He’s getting ready for the show down
Saw the minute that I turned away
I got my money on a pawn tonight

5. “When Will I Be Loved,” John Fogerty
Released on the 2009 John Fogerty album, The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again, “When Will I Be Loved,” which concludes the LP, was originally written by Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers. On the Fogerty rendition, Springsteen features a coming together of many icons in American music. The Fogerty LP also features artists like Don Henley and songs by John Denver, Buck Owens, and John Prine, among others.

When I find a new girl
that I want for mine
She always breaks my heart in two,
it happens every time.

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