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Counting Down Bruce Springsteen

His 100 Finest Songs

Jim Beviglia

For 40 years, Bruce Springsteen has held center stage as the quintessential American rock and roll artist, expressing the hopes and dreams of the American everyman and every woman through his vast array of insightful and inspirational songs. In Counting Down Bruce Springsteen: His 100 Finest Songs, rock writer Jim Beviglia dares to rank his finest songs in descending order from the 100th to his no. 1 greatest song.

In this unique book, Beviglia reflects not only on why each song has earned its place on list but lays out the story behind each of the 100, supplying fresh insights on the musical and lyrical content of Springsteen's remarkable body of work.
Counting Down Bruce Springsteen brings together critical historical and biographical information to explain the making and importance of each song to its listeners, painting a fascinating portrait of Springsteen as a major American songwriter and consummate recording artist.

Counting Down Bruce Springsteen is the perfect playlist builder, whether it is for the diehard fan or the newbie just getting acquainted with the work of the Boss!
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 220Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
978-1-4422-3065-1 • Hardback • June 2014 • $41.00 • (£27.95)
978-1-4422-3066-8 • eBook • June 2014 • $39.00 • (£24.95)
Series: Counting Down
Jim Beviglia is a featured writer for American Songwriter magazine, reviewing new albums and looking back at classic songwriters and songs for both the print and online editions. This is his second book in the Counting Down series, following his Counting Down Bob Dylan: His 100 Finest Songs (Scarecrow Press 2013). Jim continues to maintain his blog at Countdownkid.wordpess.com, where he delves deep into the musical libraries of rock’s finest artists.
The Countdown
Appendix: …And 100 More
Beviglia delves deep into the Springsteen oeuvre to retrieve the superstar’s 100 greatest songs, relying primarily on lyrical content to decide the ranking. He reflects on Springsteen’s politics, from the indictment of Wall Street’s 'conscience-free ruthlessness' in 'Easy Money,' to the measured take on the shooting of Amadou Diallo by NYPD in 'American Skin.' The E Street Band is celebrated for their integral part in Springsteen’s success, particularly Clarence Clemons, whose performance on 'Jungleland' is declared 'the most iconic saxophone solo in rock history.' Beviglia notes the cohesion of many Springsteen albums, the grim circumstances couched in catchy melodies of Born in the USA the call to arms message of Wrecking Ball, and the mournful post-9/11 The Rising. Then, there are the Springsteen characters, 'big-hearted gang members, teenage femme fatales, and other spectacularly romantic rogues' like the fight-throwing boxer of 'The Hitter,' the broken-down veteran in 'Shut Out the Light,' and 'Zero and Blind Terry.' Beviglia’s top 10 is peppered with early gems like 'Lost in the Flood,' 'Rosalita,' and 'Incident on 57th Street.' While some might find the ranking system puzzling, Beviglia’s knowledge and enthusiasm for his subject will be appreciated.
Publishers Weekly

Best-of lists most often say more about the author than the topic, but that’s why they’re so entertaining and infuriating. Beviglia admits straightaway that he is a big Springsteen fan. He admires both the singer’s legendary live performances and his recorded output. Beviglia’s self-imposed task—'impossible' but 'fun'—is to choose Springsteen’s best 100 songs, which are described in short essays in order of merit, which are followed by an additional list of 100 more. Many of Springsteen’s most popular songs are here, and rightly so, but so are just as many of his obscure ones. It is heartening to see, for example, such less well-known compositions as 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find (Pittsburgh),' 'Straight Time,' and the great eulogy, 'Terry Song’s.' Like all song-list books, the experience allows readers and listeners to revisit, reconsider, and rediscover an artist’s canon. Of course, Springsteen fans will shake their collective heads in disagreement at times, but that’s part of the fun.

Over the course of his 40-year career, singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen has established himself as an institution in the annals of rock music. He is revered by fans for his energetic live performances and acclaimed by critics for his thoughtful and empathetic vignettes of working-class Americans. In Counting Down Bruce Springsteen, Jim Beviglia ranks and analyzes 100 original songs culled from the 22 albums Springsteen recorded and released between 1973 and 2012. Music aficionados may recognize Beviglia’s name from his blog at Countdownkid.wordpress.com and his contributions to American Songwriter magazine. The book itself is one of a newly launched series of titles intended to highlight the best songs of influential contemporary musicians. . . . Counting Down Bruce Springsteen offers readers an easily digestible survey of Springsteen’s vast catalog of songs. The rankings may infuriate some hardcore fans, but Beviglia deserves credit for undertaking the challenge in a capable and comprehensive fashion.
American Reference Books Annual

Bruce Springsteen His 100 Finest Songs is a book written by a fan and for all the fans of Bruce Springsteen. But author Jim Beviglia has created so much more than a list in this collection. It is a well-researched, labor of love. If you have ever seen Springsteen perform live in concert, those musical memories will all come rushing back as your turn the pages of Counting Down, published by Rowman & Littlefield. Likewise, longtime Springsteen fans will immediately recall the first time the needle hit the vinyl playing his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, reading through this detailed list. Each song in the list tells a story.
Osceola News Gazette

Throw down any random 100 songs by Bruce Springsteen, and you'd have a respectable list. But to decide exactly which 100 songs are his 'finest' is a challenge. Jim Beviglia, who previously wrote a 'Counting Down' book on Bob Dylan's songs, felt up to the task. . . .[This book] makes for great debate among friends at your next tailgate.
Asbury Park Sunday Press

Counting Down Bruce Springsteen brings together critical historical and biographical information to explain the making and importance of each song, painting a fascinating portrait of Springsteen as a major American songwriter and consummate recording artist. ... For newcomers to his work, it's the perfect introduction to his vast catalog. For diehard fans, it's a fresh take on well-known songs.

Jim Beviglia creates another wonderful music book that will start many conversations among music aficionados for years to come. . . .Springsteen fans will love the book for the wealth of knowledge that can be gleaned from reading it. Even the most die-hard fan is bound to pick up a new morsel of info. Lots of history of the band and little nuggets of information for your brain to chew on are spread throughout this nearly 200 page, hardcover reference book. As a bonus Beviglia includes, at the end of the book, a list (without essays) of his next 100 favorite songs. . . .Being a hardcover book it is perfect library addition for fans of music and certainly any fan of Springsteen.
Scared Stiff Reviews

It’s easy to pick the great songs from Born to Run through Tunnel of Love, a period that was arguably Springsteen's most commercial. Mr. Beviglia digs deeper. He examines the pre-'Thunder Road' period as well as the post-Tunnel of Love years. In doing so he proves there is more to the Boss than the songs you hear on the radio. He gives the songs perspective in relation to their position on the record, the time, the world and Springsteen's life. That's a lot of work, but it goes a long way to making this book a good read.

After scanning the table of contents and girding up your loins to debate with Beviglia's choices, be prepared to read some very tight and balanced reasoning for the list. Beviglia excels at placing all the songs in the context of the Springsteen canon, especially noting their significance to the albums on which the tracks first appeared. He economically but vividly points out how the songs were inspired and composed, the roles the E Street Band players contributed, but mainly describes how each song compares to others of a similar vein in the Springsteen catalogue. He shows a deep understanding of Springsteen's lyrical gifts as a storyteller as well as The Boss's mastering of shaping creative musical settings in the studio.

Counting Down Bruce Springsteen is an entertaining and informative read but its greatest value probably lies in the fact that by book's end readers will have a newfound craving for the music whether they try to pick favorites or not.

The book is about the songs. But, you learn a lot about Bruce through the lyrics and their use or analysis of course. And, Counting Down Springsteen is fun to read for people who love music; it is equivalent to well-read gallery essays on say Van Gogh. But, it is simply a must have for Springsteen fans. You may debate, adore or dislike Beviglia's views, but still relish in the study of each work.
Blunt Review

Counting Down Bruce Springsteen belongs in every bar on the shore—not just from Atlantic Highlands to Barnegat Bay, from Maine to Florida, too. Guaranteed to start all sorts of arguments, and settle a few too.
Dave Marsh, author of Two Hearts: The Definitive Bruce Springsteen Biography

Jim Beviglia has graduated from the school of rock journalism with an A+. Jim's understanding of the catalog of Bruce Springsteen's work is extensive, and his summations of 'The Boss's work are succinct. If you want to read a fine rating of Bruce's recorded works, this book is the #1 place to turn.
Bob Wilson, writer at Live For Live Music