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The five songs that Bruce Springsteen has played live the most

Picking a setlist for Bruce Springsteen is an almost impossible task considering the immense back catalogue he’s amassed. Even though The Boss is famous for his mammoth sets, he simply cannot play every song he’s ever made, but there are five songs which are Springsteen’s favourites to perform.

Playing live is bread and butter to Springsteen, and his concerts are celebrated as quasi-religious experiences. It’s been five years since he’s been on the road playing stadiums with his trusted E Street Band, but in 2023, they’ll be making up for the lost time when they trek across stadiums across the world.

In recent years, The Boss has been busy with his Springsteen on Broadway project, which was understandably elongated because of the pandemic. It’s taken Springsteen much longer than he’d have liked to get back on the road, and he’s chomping at the bit to return to his spiritual home.

He recently admitted: “It’s kind of mind-boggling, to be honest with you… It doesn’t feel that long, but, you know, we stayed busy over that time, but still, it’s, I’m really, I’ve got the Jones to play live very badly at this point. So, I’m deeply looking forward to getting out there in front of our fans.”

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There’s no place where he feels more comfortable surrounded by 60,000 fans in a stadium, and there’s no track he’s performed live on more occasions than his signature song, ‘Born To Run’. It’s a staple of his sets which Springsteen has astonishingly played live on 1745 occasions.

The track transformed the fortunes of his career and put him on the path toward superstardom. Although he’d already released two albums, ‘Born To Run’ was his first monster hit and has been a mainstay in his live shows for nearly 50 years.

“One day, I was playing my guitar on the edge of the bed, working on some song ideas, and the words ‘born to run’ came to me,” Springsteen once recalled. “At first, I thought it was the name of a movie or something I’d seen on a car spinning around the circuit. I liked the phrase because it suggested a cinematic drama that I thought would work with the music that I’d been hearing in my head.”

His second most played song is ‘Thunder Road’, the opening track from 1975’s Born To Run. Interestingly, although it was released at the same time as the titular effort, Springsteen has played it much less and only performed it 1460 times. Meanwhile, ‘The Promised Land’ from Darkness on the Edge of Town is Springsteen’s third most played effort. Since its release in 1978, ‘The Boss’ has belted it out 1407 times, and it simply wouldn’t be a Springsteen concert without its inclusion.

‘The Promised Land’ is closely followed by ‘Badlands’ which Springsteen wrote after seeing a poster of a film of the same name. He has played the song on 1209 occasions. After eventually seeing the film, Bruce was inspired once more and wrote ‘Nebraska’ as a response.

Bruce Springsteen’s most played songs live

  • ‘Born To Run’
  • ‘Thunder Road’
  • ‘The Promised Land’
  • ‘Badlands’
  • ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’

Springsteen’s top five is completed by ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’ from his breakthrough release, Born To Run. The Boss has performed the classic live in his concerts 1110 times so far, and hopefully, he’ll continue to play it many more hundred times.

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