In addition to being probably the most iconic American rock star, Bruce Springsteen has had a long history of supporting the gay & lesbian community. When Jonathan Demme asked him to write a song for Philadelphia, the resulting masterpiece “Streets Of Philadelphia” had Bruce taking on the persona of a gay man dying of AIDS. Can you think of any other mainstream heartland rockers who would sing these lyrics?
I was bruised and battered, I couldn’t tell what I felt.
I was unrecognizable to myself.
I saw my reflection in a window, I didn’t know my own face.
Oh brother are you gonna leave me wastin’ away
On the Streets of Philadelphia.
“Streets” was an enormous success, winning the Oscar and four Grammys, and it became Bruce’s last Top Ten hit, peaking at #9 in 1994.
Not all of Bruce’s singles have been so lucky, and with such an enormous discography, there are quite a few that have been unjustly forgotten. As Bruce celebrates his 64th birthday, let’s pay tribute by picking his most underrated single. What song do you think should have done better, or wish you heard on the radio more?
My choice is taken from my favorite Bruce album, 1987′s Tunnel Of Love, which, of course, was the studio follow-up to Born In The USA. The first two singles, “Brilliant Disguise” and the title track, both hit the top ten, but my favorite song from the album (and my favorite Boss song, period), is the third single, “One Step Up.” The entire album was about the disintegration of his marriage to Julianne Phillips, and this song perfectly captured the despair … and inevitability of a failing relationship. It’s haunting and gorgeous, and the final line “We danced as the evening sky faded to black … one step up and two steps back” is heartbreaking.
“One Step Up” peaked at #13 on the chart, but should have gone much higher.
Okay, your turn! What’s you favorite underrated Bruce song?