Bruce Springsteen revealed his eight “desert island” song choices – including tracks by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Marvin Gaye – during an hour-long conversation with the BBC Radio 4.
“It’s songs that a lot of people are going to be familiar with and affected many others,” Springsteen said of his choices. “But this was the music that electrified me and galvanized me into changing my life in some way.”
Among Springsteen’s picks is Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog,” a track that still inspires the way the E Street Band capture their snare drum sound.
“When I heard it, it just shot straight through to my brain,” Springsteen said of the 1956 single. “And I realized, suddenly, that there was more to life than what I’d been living. I was then in pursuit of something and there’d been a vision laid out before me. You were dealing with the pure thrust, the pure energy of the music itself. I was so very young but it still hit me like a thunderbolt.”
Also on Springsteen’s list of essentials are the Four Tops’ “Baby I Need Your Loving,” James Brown’s “Out of Sight,” the Rolling Stones’ “It’s All Over Now” and the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
“This was another song that changed the course of my life,” Springsteen said of the Meet the Beatles classic. “It was a very raucous sounding record when it came out of the radio. It really was the song that inspired me to play rock and roll music – to get a small band and start doing some small gigs around town. It was life changing. It’s still a beautiful record.”
Springsteen added of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” “This could be at the top of the list.”
“‘Like a Rolling Stone’ feels like a torrent that comes rushing towards you,” he said. “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 also praised a pair of albums as being highly influential on his work: Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks (“It made me trust in beauty, it gave me a sense of the divine”) and Gaye’s “masterpiece” What’s Going On (“It was sultry and sexual while at the same time dealing with street level politics. That had a big influence on me.”)
Check out Springsteen’s full hour-long interview with Desert Island Discs at the BBC Radio 4 site.