With his long and storied career, Bruce Springsteen has a wide body of work. So it’s hard to point to a few songs and say “These are the best”. So instead, we’ll be checking out some essential listening for new fans that want to know what Springsteen is all about.

“Streets of Philadelphia” was written at the request of Jonathan Demme, the director of Tom Hanks’ Philadelphia. The song was recorded in Springsteen’s home studio and has then gone on to win an Oscar and 3 Grammy Awards. It was also included on Springsteen’s 1995 Greatest Hits album.

“Darkness on the Edge of Town” is the title track of Springsteen’s 4th album. This album reflects the frustrations Springsteen faced during the legal battle that prevented him from recording new music around the time of the Born to Run tours. But despite that frustration, the song and Springsteen was finally able to feel hope. It’s a song about staying strong when life tries to beat you down.

“Born in the USA”, is one of Springsteen’s most misinterpreted songs. While it’s easy to see the song as a patriotic anthem, as many fans including President Ronald REagan have, it’s actually a scathing indictment against how Vietnam veterans were treated after the war. It was written after Springsteen read Borno n the Fourth of July, a memoir of the war written by a disabled veteran.