Over the course of his career Bruce changed his band lineup many, many times. When you list the greatest bands of all times, the E Street Band has to be up there near or at the top. Some bands are great but flame out in a short period of time. Other bands can last for years but never make it above moderately good. The E Street Band has longevity, skills, cohesiveness and all the attributes that comprise the ideal rock and roll band. They have certain aspects that set them apart and which some bands can never achieve. Here I include the Beatles, the Stones, The Who, The Band, The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and the list of bands people think of as “great” but really aren’t, or tend to be one trick ponies, Kiss and Grand Funk Railroad, among others.
One example: The Beatles can’t compare to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in technical musical ability. Bruce as a guitarist can outplay them, Miami Steve can outplay them. Max is a far superior drummer to Ringo. Roy Bittan can probably out duel Paul McCartney on the piano. We’ll never know, but I can’t see the Beatles playing a four hour concert. I’m not sure many of their concerts lasted more than an hour.
The Beatles were hampered by poor sound equipment (not their fault)and primitive touring support (not their fault). And many of the reasons they’d fall short was probably because they pioneered much of what we now take for granted. But what I am saying is that the Beatles are known for the tremendous pop song writing teamwork of Lennon and McCartney and for being in the right place at the right time, changing a popular musical form and then catching a cultural movement and milking and riding its crest. They were historic, game-changing originals. They are just not as good performers as Bruce and the E Street Band.
I will always believe the Darkness Tour lineup was the best:
Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitars, harmonica
Roy Bittan – piano, background vocals
Clarence Clemons – saxophone, percussion, background vocals, clarinet
Danny Federici – organ, electronic glockenspiel, accordion
Garry Tallent – bass guitar
Steven Van Zandt – guitars, background vocals
Max Weinberg – drums
The following PDF, graphically lists the entire lineups of the E Street Band over the years.