The Essential Bruce Springsteen

The Essential Bruce Springsteen

by Bruce Springsteen
4.5 11

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The Essential Bruce Springsteen

Encyclopedic and well assembled, this three-disc retrospective tells the story of the Boss in much greater detail than his previously released Greatest Hits set -- with which it shares a dozen songs. The Essential Bruce Springsteen examines every phase of the singer-songwriter's career, from his early days as boardwalk troubadour (best summed up in "4th of July, Asbury Park") through his breakthrough anthems ("Born to Run," of course, and "Thunder Road") right up to the post-9/11 musings of The Rising. In addition to radio staples, the set is peppered with less-often-heard material, notably the spare "The Ghost of Tom Joad" and a live version of the controversial "American Skin (41 Shots)." The set's third disc offers the most interest for Springsteen completists, since it consists mostly of material that has never seen the light of day in official form. Four of the tunes have popped up now and again in live performance -- notably the good-timey "From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)," best known via Dave Edmunds's cover version -- but the studio versions are new to the marketplace. Springsteen also retools a pair of chestnuts, stripping "Countin' On a Miracle" to its acoustic bare bones and raging through a live take on "Held Up Without a Gun." From top to bottom, The Essential Bruce Springsteen lives up to its name -- satisfying listeners with a set that works both as a primer and as an extension to any fan's Boss catalogue.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/11/2003
Label: Sony
UPC: 0827969077320
catalogNumber: 90773

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bruce Springsteen   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Harmonica,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Recorder,Vocals,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping,Group Member
Nils Lofgren   Banjo,Dobro,Guitar,Background Vocals,Slide Guitar
David Sancious   Organ,Piano,Electric Piano,Clavinet,Group Member
Clarence Clemons   Percussion,Saxophone,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping,Group Member
Patti Scialfa   Guitar,Vocals,Harmony
Mike Appel   Background Vocals
Roy Bittan   Synthesizer,Piano,Glockenspiel,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Mellotron,kurzweil,Pump Organ,fender rhodes,Korg M1,Crumar
Richard Blackwell   Percussion,Conga
Danny Federici   Organ,Piano,Accordion,Glockenspiel,Background Vocals,farfisa organ,Vox Continental,Group Member
Bob Glaub   Bass
Jeff Porcaro   Percussion,Drums
Mark Pender   Trumpet
Marty Rifkin   Pedal Steel Guitar
Richie Rosenberg   Trombone
Garry Tallent   Bass,Tuba,Background Vocals,Group Member
Soozie Tyrell   Background Vocals
Steven Van Zandt   Guitar,Mandolin,Background Vocals
Max Weinberg   Drums,Background Vocals
Harold Wheeler   Piano
Gary Mallaber   Percussion,Drums
Jim Hanson   Bass
Jane Scarpantoni   Cello
Suki Lahav   Violin
Randy Jackson   Bass
Jerry Vivino   Tenor Saxophone
Jere Flint   Cello
Tiffany Andrews   Choir, Chorus
E Street Band   Group
Ed Manion   Baritone Saxophone
Mike Spengler   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Jimmy Cliff   Composer
Joe Grushecky   Composer
Bruce Springsteen   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
Mort Shuman   Composer
Mike Appel   Producer
Roy Bittan   Producer
Jon Landau   Producer,Executive Producer
Brendan O'Brien   Producer
Chuck Plotkin   Producer
Doc Pomus   Composer
Steven Van Zandt   Producer
Jim Cretecos   Producer
David Bett   Art Direction
Christopher Austopchuk   Art Direction

Customer Reviews

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The Essential Bruce Springsteen 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Walterama More than 1 year ago
The Boss Bruce Springsteen at its best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is truly the Essential Bruce Springsteen collection. It includes selections from all of his albums. The first five tracks on the first disc are selections from his first two albums, which for some reason were omitted on "Greatest Hits". Moving on on the CD are "Thunder Road" and "Born to Run", two of the greatest songs he has ever written. The 9-minute "Jungleland" was a little too much though. The next three tracks are slections from "Darkness on the Edge of Town", which is not one of my favorite Springsteen albums, but at least "Badlands" is one of them. Following those are two selections from his double-LP, "The River", which are the depressing title track, and "Hungry Heart", another one of his masterpieces. The CD closes with 2 songs from "Nebraska", which are really the only two songs from the album you'll ever need. The second disc opens with three selections from his greatest album of all time, "Born in the U.S.A.", which are the three major highlights from the album. The only argument I have about this collection is the fact that the radio hit, "I'm on Fire", is exempt from this collection. Following those three are the two highlights from "Tunnel of Love". Following those two is the title track from his worst album (which is not a bad song really), "Human Touch". Following that is two selections from "Lucky Town", but another thing that dissapoints me is that "Better Days" is not on this collection either, and that was one of "Lucky Town"'s highlights. Next in the lineup is the theme song he wrote for the depressing 1993 movie, "Philadelphia". None of the new songs from "Greatest Hits" are on here, but it probably wouldn't have been a bad idea to add "Secret Garden" to this collection. The next track is the title track from "The Ghost of Tom Joad", which is an album I don't reccomend to anyone unless you're a die-hard fan. Following that are three selections from "The Rising", but I'm a little surprised that "My City of Ruins" was not one of them; I would have guessed that "Ruins" would have been on this collection, since it was written in memory of the victims of the 9/11 attack. The album is overall unbielevable, but the third disc (a.k.a. the bonus disc) was probably too much. If you're a Springsteen fan, then this is the collection for you, but if you only have "Greatest Hits", then you've only heard half of it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite the fact that I am not a very big fan of the "boss", I like some of his work very well. This collection is a good excample to how cd`s like this should be done (chronologic song order aso.). I miss "The E street shuffle" and a few more of his previously stuff. But all in all this is a very good collection of Springsteen songs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is indeed an excellent value set of CD's as it covers most of the material that matters. The one-star-less-than 5 is a result of the exclusion of Cover Me and I'm On Fire, songs that could easily replace two of the existing, mediocre fillers. Alas, one could do worse than own this collection along with Born In The USA -but then, hey, perhaps that's the strategy !!
Guest More than 1 year ago
No doubt designed for music fans who don't own many Springsteen albums, this double CD has selections from every studio album of his 30 year carreer. There are many great tracks that weren't on his 1995 "Greatest Hits" CD: Rosalita, Jungleland, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Nebraska, Tunnel of Love, The Ghost of Tom Joad, The Rising, American Skin (41 Shots), and others. As a big Springsteen fan, I of course recommend buying the albums themselves, but if you just want the "essentials" from 3 decades of music, this is it. The BONUS Disc is pretty cool too. It has tracks from his whole career. "None But the Brave" & "County Fair" are 2 'Born in the USA' outtakes could have been hits if they'd made the cut. These 2 songs I highly recommend. Anyone who digs Springsteen will love these tunes! There's also some rare tracks Springsteen wrote for movies directed by friends Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, & John Sales. These songs are not like his usual music but are very good. Of course there are hits that don't make the cut here: I'm on Fire, Prove It All Night, 10th Ave Freeze Out, My Hometown to name a few. But short of buying the whole Springsteen catalog, this essentials collection will give you many of his biggest, greatest, most famous tunes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like most Springsteen fans, I have all of his albums and CD’s. I’ll even admit to a few 8 tracks! So with my allegiances fully in place, it’s a bit disturbing to give Bruce the Essentials treatment. I feel that each of his completed works have a theme and set a tone for the listener who can’t help but to be drawn into the stories from this great storyteller. When his work is cannibalized into a hit collection of sorts it demeans the art that his faithful have come to respect. Now, does this collection present a snap shot of his work that may lead a casual fan to be satisfied? Of course. If a fan has been on the sidelines then by all means this will provide you with a light cannon of material that hints to what you have been missing for the past 30 years. The problem here is disc 3 to lure in the hardcore fans that have been loyal fans. Clocking in at less than 50 minutes, the disc is sparse at best. The so-called disc of rarities that is designed to cater to fans is a ploy to re-purchase songs that we already have enjoyed for years. If Bruce really cared for those who have paid dearly over the years, then this disc should be a full 80 minutes. Additionally, the sound quality suffers from what seems to be a lack of caring on the part the Bruce camp. What’s with the tape glitch at the 40-second mark on Sandy? That’s simply inexcusable! There are also multiple errors in the booklet. Did anyone bother to look at this project? I don’t mean to be overly critical but I expect better from someone that I consider to the finest rock and roll singer of all time.
rflippen More than 1 year ago
Absolutely the best money I've ever spent on a CD. I can't listen to it often enough. It certainly showcases the 3 decades of Springsteen's finest lyrics and music. I can't imagine anyone not loving this CD.
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