The Essential Bruce Springsteen

The Essential Bruce Springsteen is a compilation album by Bruce Springsteen, released on November 11, 2003. The collection is part of a series of Essential sets released by Sony BMG (previously Sony Music Entertainment). It includes songs from various Springsteen albums and concerts up to the year 2003. A limited-edition third disc includes previously unreleased cuts, B-sides, contributions to soundtracks and benefit albums, covers, and an alternate, “country-blues” acoustic version of “Countin’ on a Miracle” from The Rising.

The album debuted on the Billboard 200 albums chart on November 29, 2003, at No. 14, with sales of 90,000 copies. The album was awarded gold and platinum records on December 16, 2003, by the RIAA. As of August 2013, the album has sold over 1,079,000 copies in the United States.[2] It reached No. 15 on the UK Albums Chart in 2013. The album was re-released with an updated track listing in October 2015.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Entertainment WeeklyA−[3]

The album received general acclaim from music critics, who appreciated its inclusion of Springsteen’s most recognizable hits throughout his career.[4] AllMusic calls it a better compilation album than 1995’s “misguided, haphazardly selected” Greatest Hits.[1]

Track listings

2003 Track orderTitleOriginal albumLength2015 Track order
“Growin’ Up”Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ, 19733:05disc 1, track 01
disc 1, track 01“Blinded by the Light”Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ5:04
disc 1, track 02“For You”Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ4:40
disc 1, track 03“Spirit in the Night”Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ5:00
disc 1, track 04“4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, 19735:37disc 1, track 03
disc 1, track 05“Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle7:04disc 1, track 02
disc 1, track 06“Thunder Road”Born to Run, 19754:51disc 1, track 04
disc 1, track 07“Born to Run”Born to Run4:33disc 1, track 05
disc 1, track 08“Jungleland”Born to Run9:36
“Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”Born to Run3:11disc 1, track 06
disc 1, track 09“Badlands”Darkness on the Edge of Town, 19784:05disc 1, track 07
disc 1, track 10“Darkness on the Edge of Town”Darkness on the Edge of Town4:31
disc 1, track 11“The Promised Land”Darkness on the Edge of Town4:31disc 1, track 08
“Prove It All Night”Darkness on the Edge of Town3:56disc 1, track 09
disc 1, track 12“The River”The River, 19805:01disc 1, track 10
disc 1, track 13“Hungry Heart”The River3:21disc 1, track 11
“The Ties That Bind”The River3:34disc 1, track 12
“Out in the Street”The River4:20disc 1, track 13
disc 1, track 14“Nebraska”Nebraska, 19824:30
disc 1, track 15“Atlantic City”Nebraska3:57disc 1, track 14
“Johnny 99”Nebraska3:44disc 1, track 15
disc 2, track 01“Born in the U.S.A.”Born in the U.S.A., 19844:42disc 1, track 17
disc 2, track 02“Glory Days”Born in the U.S.A.4:17disc 1, track 16
disc 2, track 03“Dancing in the Dark”Born in the U.S.A.4:04disc 1, track 18
disc 2, track 04“Tunnel of Love”Tunnel of Love, 19875:13
“Tougher Than the Rest”Tunnel of Love4:37disc 2, track 01
disc 2, track 05“Brilliant Disguise”Tunnel of Love4:16disc 2, track 02
“One Step Up”Tunnel of Love4:22disc 2, track 03
disc 2, track 06“Human Touch” (Edit: 5:11)Human Touch, 19926:31disc 2, track 04
disc 2, track 07“Living Proof”Lucky Town, 19924:48
disc 2, track 08“Lucky Town”Lucky Town3:29
“Better Days”Lucky Town3:48disc 2, track 05
“If I Should Fall Behind”Lucky Town2:58disc 2, track 06
disc 2, track 09“Streets of Philadelphia”Philadelphia soundtrack and Greatest Hits, 1994/19953:18disc 2, track 07
“Murder Incorporated”Greatest Hits3:59disc 2, track 08
disc 2, track 10“The Ghost of Tom Joad”The Ghost of Tom Joad, 19954:24disc 2, track 09
disc 2, track 11“The Rising”The Rising, 20024:48disc 2, track 10
disc 2, track 12“Mary’s Place”The Rising6:01
disc 2, track 13“Lonesome Day”The Rising4:08disc 2, track 11
disc 2, track 14“American Skin (41 Shots)”Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Live in New York City, 20017:53
disc 2, track 15“Land of Hope and Dreams”Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Live in New York City9:22
“Devils & Dust”Devils & Dust, 20055:03disc 2, track 12
“Long Time Comin'”Devils and Dust4:17disc 2, track 13
“Radio Nowhere”Magic, 20073:19disc 2, track 14
“Working on a Dream”Working on a Dream, 20093:30disc 2, track 15
“My Lucky Day”Working on a Dream4:02disc 2, track 16
“The Wrestler”Working on a Dream3:51disc 2, track 17
“We Take Care of Our Own”Wrecking Ball, 20123:56disc 2, track 18
“Hunter of Invisible Game”High Hopes, 20144:42disc 2, track 19

2003 bonus disc

Disc three (Limited Edition bonus disc)
1.“From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)”The River outtake2:42
2.“The Big Payback”Nebraska outtake; B-side to “Open All Night” single1:59
3.“Held Up Without a Gun” (Live at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York, December 31, 1980)Live version of song which was the B-side of “Hungry Heart”1:21
4.“Trapped” (Live at Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey, August 6, 1984)We Are the World, 19855:10
5.“None But the Brave”Born in the U.S.A. outtake5:35
6.“Missing”The Crossing Guard soundtrack, 19955:04
7.“Lift Me Up”Limbo soundtrack, 19995:16
8.“Viva Las Vegas”The Last Temptation of Elvis, 19903:10
9.“County Fair”Born in the U.S.A. outtake4:51
10.“Code of Silence” (Live at Madison Square Garden, New York City, Manhattan, New York, June 29, 2000)Recorded live during the Reunion Tour4:33
11.“Dead Man Walkin'”Dead Man Walking soundtrack, 19962:44
12.“Countin’ on a Miracle” (Acoustic version)Originally from The Rising5:01
Total length:47:26


Chart (2003)Peak
Australian Top 50 Albums[6]43
Austrian Top 75 Albums[7]12
Belgium (Flanders) 100 Albums[8]19
Finnish Top 50 Albums[9]14
French Compilations[10]21
Irish Top 75 Albums[11]5
Italian Top 20 Albums[12]8
Netherlands Top 100 Albums[13]22
Norwegian Top 40 Albums[14]4
Portuguese Top 30 Albums[15]13
Swedish Top 60 Albums[16]2
Swiss Top 100 Albums[17]35
UK Albums Chart[18]28
US Billboard 200[19]14
Chart (2004)Peak
Belgium (Wallonia) 100 Albums[20]84
Danish Top 40 Albums[21]17
Chart (2008)Peak
Spanish Top 100 Albums[22]77
Chart (2009)Peak
US Catalog Albums[19]13
Chart (2013)Peak
UK Albums Chart[23]15
Chart (2017)Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[6]41


RegionCertificationCertified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[24]2× Platinum140,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[25]Gold15,736[25]
Italy (FIMI)[26]Gold25,000double-dagger
Norway (IFPI Norway)[27]Platinum40,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[28]Gold50,000^
Sweden (GLF)[29]Gold30,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[30]Platinum300,000^
United States (RIAA)[31]2× Platinum1,079,000[2]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

  • Album contents
  • Album credits

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