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Springsteen serenaded at Kennedy Center

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

An interesting roster of musicians honored Bruce Springsteen last night at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Eddie Vetter with “My City of Ruins” was a brilliant touch. And Sting fronting a gospel choir for “The Rising,” as expected, brought everyone to their feet. But two choices made the most sense.


Photo: Ngan/AFP/Getty

One was Melissa Etheridge, in leather pants, singing “Born to Run.” She has long embodied Bruce’s passion and vision — and once said, flat-out, that he made her want to play rock and roll.

The best selection of all, though, was John Mellencamp — who delivered a mournful version of “Born in the USA” dedicated to the U.S. troops in the Middle East.

Remember, Bruce isn’t only the rocker who once popularized the Jersey Shore bar scene. He’s also a protest singer, and “Born in the USA” is by far his fiercest diatribe, outstripping any cut on the at-times snarling “Magic.”

CLIFFVIEWPILOT offered some of its own choices before the show — none of which apparently came close to being selected. And although it was meant for shouts and Googles, we’d have put money on Tom Morello.

The Pilot’s choices included:

Billy Bragg (“Mansion on the Hill”)?

The Pointer Sisters (“Fire”)?

Ani DiFranco (“Used Cars”)?

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Bruce’s personal favorite could be Tom Morello ‘s “The Ghost of Tom Joad”:


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Or his pal Joe Grushecky playing a “Light of Day” duet with Joan Jett .

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But there are other worthy choices.

Patty Griffin does a haunting version of “Stolen Car”:

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Steve Earle honors Springsteen every time he performs “State Trooper”; Cowboy Junkies cover it, as well — and did so, in Jersey, earlier this year:

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(These admittedly are eclectic selections.)

Elvis Costello does an outstanding version of “Brilliant Disguise.” Or, if the Kennedy Center wants to rock out, they could get Elvis’ old pub-rock mate Dave Edmunds for “(From Small Things) Big Things Come”:

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Or bring on Los Lobos for a barrelhouse version of “Johnny 99″:

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Maybe Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes : “The Fever”:

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For all that brilliance, though, my personal favorite would be this guy:

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All he’s missing is the slow pan in and out, along with the open milk carton.

Any other worthy choices?

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