- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
There are deliberate echoes of earlier muscle-car tunes in the opening lines: "I got a '69 Chevy with a 396/Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor." "I wanted my street racers to carry the years between the car songs of the '60s and 1978 America," Springsteen wrote in his book Songs. Those years haven't been kind to the Boss's racer, who is desperately holding on to his youth, a crummy job and the girl he won over three years earlier with his hot car. Author Nick Hornby calls "Racing" one of Springsteen's bleakest songs—which is saying something. But for its magic of summoning an entire world of street racing in under seven minutes, it's a powerful piece of songwriting.
5 THE BOXER
Simon & Garfunkel, 1969
When New York City was knocked onto the canvas in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, Paul Simon played this classic about a troubled pugilist on the first episode of Saturday Night Live following the terrorist attacks. Simon sings that, despite being discouraged and down on his luck, "the fighter still remains" and refuses to leave the city—the perfect message of perseverance for a country struggling to get back on its feet after absorbing a brutal blow. Simon told Playboy in 1984 that the boxer in the song was really a metaphor for himself, a way of describing his reaction when the enormously popular Simon and Art Garfunkel started to get negative feedback from music critics in the late 1960s. "Everybody's beating me up," he said, "and I'm telling you now I'm going to go away if you don't stop."
6 FIFTY MISSION CAP
The Tragically Hip, 1992
This clever rocker tells the story of Bill Barilko, a Maple Leafs defenseman who scored only five goals in 47 career playoff games but made his last one count: He won the 1951 Stanley Cup with an overtime score against the Canadiens. Barilko disappeared weeks later, presumed lost in a small-plane crash on his way home from a fishing trip. The Leafs' fortunes plummeted as well. They wouldn't win another Cup until 1962—the same year Barilko's body was found in the wild.
John Fogerty, 1985
Fogerty was in a slump in 1985. He hadn't put out an album in more than a decade and was mired in litigation with an old record company. Like a desperate ballplayer, he needed a hit. "As I thought about different things that were special or important to me," he says, "I remembered the idea of centerfield I'd had as a kid."