Here are your 68 favorite covers of Bruce Springsteen songs! Now it's time to narrow them down.
When I first suggested that Blogness on the Edge of Town visitors name their favorite cover of a Bruce Springsteen song, with a promise to narrow it down to 68 finalists (in honor of the 68 teams in NCAA March Madness, natch), at least one reader on Twitter questioned whether there would be enough nominees to fill out the list.
Well, as it turns out ... YES. In fact, there are literally hundreds of recordings of Springsteen songs by other artists, including numerous artists you've never heard of do versions you'll probably never hear. But there were more than enough mainstream choices to assemble our list of the 68 covers most popular with Blogness readers. Some interesting takeaways, by the numbers:
Songs most mentioned: "Atlantic City" (5), "Dancing in the Dark" (4), "Tougher Than The Rest" (4)
Artists most mentioned: Emmylou Harris (6); Johnny Cash (4); and two each from Jason Isbell, Linda Ronstadt, Lauren Jenkins, and Eddie Vedder.
Only father/son pair on the list: Steve Earle ("State Trooper") and Justin Townes Earle ("Glory Days")
Surprisingly under-represented song: "I'm On Fire" (only one version cited, by Bats to Lashes, despite it being covered by every band in the Western Hemisphere)
So now it's time to narrow the field.
As a reminder, we considered official releases only, although we stepped away from our studio-version requirement for a few live tracks that were officially released as singles or on albums. Also, songs that Bruce gave away before releasing them himself, like "Because The Night," weren't eligible — but to satisfy lovers of those rare tracks, we've separated them out into a separate question in our follow-up poll below (or here).
So your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to answer below so we can narrow the list of 68 down to an "Elite 8" of Springsteen covers — which we'll bring back to you for one last go-around to crown the top dog.
If some of these are unfamiliar, no worries — keep scrolling and underneath you'll find video clips with full versions of all 68 songs, and a Spotify playlist with the 53 of them available on that service. Some of them probably don't have much of a shot; I don't see Meryl Streep's version of "My Love Will Not Let You Down" from the "Ricki and the Flash" soundtrack or "Synnyimme Lähtemään," the Finnish version of "Born to Run" by Popeda getting top honors, for instance.
But trust me — they're still all worth a listen! (Some favorites of mine you should check out, IMHO: "Factory" by Melissa McClelland; "For You" by The Format; "Tougher Than The Rest" by Camera Obscura; "Radio Nowhere" by Noush Skaugen; and "Valentine's Day" by Hem.)
Answer the poll here, and check back for results: