There are many singers throughout the world who would be positively quaking in their boots to take a seat in the BBC Radio 4 studios and be quizzed on their life and music tastes for Desert Island Discs. But when Bruce Springsteen came to town, we’re pretty sure it was the entire BBC that was shaking.
The show has been running nearly 80 years and has welcomed some of the most important people the entire world has ever known. From actors and musicians to world leaders and forward-thinkers. The premise is simple: you’re trapped on an inescapable desert island with only a few items from home for comfort, one of which is eight songs that you can play over and over again. The Boss picks eight songs he simply couldn’t live without.
The list brought to light as part of the British institution, Desert Island Discs, puts Springsteen firmly in the driving seat for your favourite desert island DJ, as he selects some of the finest musicians the world has ever known. A list that includes James Brown, Van Morrison, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and more, it is a piece of The Boss’ iconography which needs to be heard.
The list of songs is impressive, there is always one moment near the end of the show that catches out most of the guests. Having narrowed down a lifetime of loving music into just eight songs, the next choice is to pick your favourite from that list. “Which song would you save from the waves?” It’s always a difficult question, and Springsteen acknowledges it, “That’s a tough question,” he responds.
“It’d have to be ‘Like A Rolling Stone’,” says The Boss, having selected the track latterly in the conversation. His most poignant choice is that of a kindred spirit. “This could be at the top of the list,” says Springsteen when selecting Bob Dylan’s iconic song. The star reflects, “The first time I heard it, it came out of the radio. I didn’t know anything about Dylan’s acoustic music. I was a creature of top 40, so the first time I really heard him with this song, it just instantly started to change my life.”
“‘Like a Rolling Stone’ feels like a torrent that comes rushing towards you. Floods your soul, floods your mind. Alerts and wakes you up instantaneously to other worlds, other lives. Other ways of being. It’s perhaps one of the most powerful records ever made and it still means a great deal to me along with all of Dylan’s work.”
Springsteen is a well-known adorer of Dylan’s work and has often cited the singer as an undying inspiration for his career. It seems fitting then that the one song Springsteen simply couldn’t live without is perhaps Bob Dylan’s most beloved song of all.