Bruce Springsteen

Tougher Than the Rest

Composed by Bruce Springsteen

Song Review by

Tunnel of Love is without doubt one of Springsteen's most underrated and most beautiful albums, and "Tougher Than the Rest" is one of its most successful tracks. Many of the songs on the album are filled with self doubt and paranoia about love, but this song sees Springsteen reassured about love's redeeming features. The lyrics are simple, but elegant -- "Some girls they want a handsome Dan/Or some good-looking Joe/There are some girls who want that sweet-talking Romeo/But round here, baby/You learn you get what you can get/So if you're rough enough for love, honey, I'm tougher than the rest." The song is a study of quiet assurance, a simple proclamation. The use of understatement is further highlighted by the sparse musical backing (although far more arranged than on other songs on the album), which draws attention to the lovely, haunting organ line. Springsteen has only performed the song periodically in concert, and only Emmylou Harris has recorded a successful cover of the song, albeit one that stays faithful to Springsteen's original.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Tunnel of Love 1987 BMG / Columbia / Sony Music Entertainment 4:35
Chimes of Freedom 1988 Sbme Special Mkts.
Nebraska/Tunnel of Love/The Ghost of Tom Joad 2002 Sony Music Distribution 4:35
Kuschelrock, Vol. 16 2002
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:35
The Essential Bruce Springsteen 2003 Legacy / Sony Music 4:37
The Collection [#2] 2004 Sony Music Distribution 4:34
Wild [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2014
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music 4:35
Tunnel Vision: The Classic 1988 Stockholm Broadcast 2016 Refractor Records
Sweden Broadcast 1988 2017 Hobo 6:13
blue highlight denotes editor's pick