Bruce Springsteen Busted Out a Standells Classic During the E Street’s Boston Show

Bruce Springsteen always knows how to give the people exactly what they want. The Boss proved it once again on Monday night (March 20) at Boston’s TD Garden Arena when he gave the Beantown faithful a taste of one of their hometown anthems when he busted out The Standells’ 1965 ode to some of the city’s iconic faces and places, “Dirty Water.”

According to, the run through the garage rock tune came at the top of a 50-minute encore and it was just one of several Boston mentions Bruce tossed out over the course of the show. The rocker also dedicated the classic “Thunder Road” to the nurses, doctors and staff at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and encouraged his fans to donate to the volunteers from the Greater Boston Food Bank who were set up around the arena.

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“Dirty Water” was written by the Standells’ producer Ed Cobb, a California native, and it makes mentions of the city’s notoriously fouled Charles River and Boston Harbor (hence, “Dirty Water”), the totally unfair midnight curfew imposed upon female students at Boston University (“Frustrated women… have to be in by 12 o’clock”) as well as the subject of the recent Keira Knightley film Boston Strangler (“have you heard about the strangler?”).

In the years since, the song by the Los Angeles band has become an anthem for Boston sports teams, including hockey’s Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox baseball team. “Dirty Water” peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1965.

Check out footage of the cover below from’s Christopher Gavin.

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen performs at TD Garden on March 20, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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