Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.

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Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
Studio album by Bruce Springsteen
Released January 5, 1973 (1973-01-05)
Recorded July–September 1972 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, New York
Genre Folk rock
Length 37:08
Label Columbia
Producer Mike Appel, Jim Cretecos
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band chronology
Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
Singles from Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
  1. "Blinded by the Light"
    Released: February 1973
  2. "Spirit in the Night"
    Released: May 1973

Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. is the debut studio album by Bruce Springsteen, released in 1973. It only sold about 25,000 copies in the first year of its release, but had significant critical impact. It was ranked at #379 by Rolling Stone on its list of 500 greatest albums of all time.[1] The album also hit the #60 spot on the Billboard 200 albums listing.


Springsteen and his first manager Mike Appel decided to record the album at the low-priced, out-of-the-way 914 Sound Studios to save as much as possible of the Columbia Records advance and cut most of the songs in a single week.[2]

There was a dispute not long after the record was recorded—Appel and John Hammond preferred the solo tracks, while Springsteen preferred the band songs. As such, a compromise was reached—the album was to have five songs with the band ("For You", "Growin' Up", "Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?" "It's Hard to be a Saint in the City", and "Lost in the Flood") and five solo songs ("Mary Queen of Arkansas", "The Angel", "Jazz Musician", "Arabian Nights", and "Visitation at Fort Horn").[citation needed]

However, when Columbia Records president Clive Davis heard the album, he felt that it lacked a hit single. As such, Springsteen wrote and recorded "Blinded by the Light" and "Spirit in the Night".[3] Because pianist David Sancious and bassist Garry Tallent were unavailable to record these songs, a three man band was used—Vini Lopez on drums, Springsteen on guitar, bass, and piano, and the previously missing Clarence Clemons on saxophone.[3] These two songs bumped "Jazz Musician", "Arabian Nights", and "Visitation at Fort Horn", leaving a total of seven band songs and two solo songs. The album was originally slated to be released in the fall of 1972, but it was moved back to early 1973 to avoid the pre-Christmas crush.[4]

Both "Blinded by the Light" and "Spirit in the Night" were released as singles by Columbia, but neither made a dent in the US charts.[4] Manfred Mann's Earth Band released a version of "Blinded by the Light" on their album The Roaring Silence, which reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100 on 19 February 1977 and #1 on the Canadian RPM chart the same day.[4] This recording of "Blinded by the Light" is Springsteen's only number one single as a songwriter on the Hot 100.[4] His best showing on the Hot 100 as a performer was in 1984, with "Dancing in the Dark", which peaked at number two for 4 weeks.[4]

On November 22, 2009, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. was played in its entirety for the first time by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York, to celebrate the last show of the Working on a Dream tour.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Absolute Punk 4/5 stars[6]
AllMusic 5/5 stars[7]
Chicago Tribune 2.5/4 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[9]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5[10]

In a positive review for Rolling Stone, music critic Lester Bangs hailed Springsteen as daring new artist who sets himself apart from his contemporaries with songwriting that either have a serious meaning or showcase his uninhibited gift for verbose, overloaded lyrics and rhyme scemes.[11] Creem magazine's Robert Christgau gave it a "B" and said that Springsteen's songs are dominated by the kind of mannered emotional transparency and "absurdist energy" that made Bob Dylan "a genius instead of a talent".[12] In a 1981 review, he graded it a "B+" and said that despite the grandiloquent, unaccompanied "Mary Queen of Arkansas" and "The Angel", songs such as "Blinded by the Light" and "Growin' Up" foreshadow Springsteen's "unguarded teen-underclass poetry", while even the maundering "Lost in the Flood" is interesting.[13]

In All Music Guide to Rock (2002), William Ruhlmann gave Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. five stars and said that it combined the mid-1960s folk rock music of Bob Dylan, accessible melodies, and elaborate arrangements and lyrics: "Asbury Park painted a portrait of teenagers cocksure of themselves, yet bowled over by their discovery of the world. It was saved from pretentiousness (if not preciousness) by its sense of humor and by the careful eye for detail ... that kept even the most high-flown language rooted."[14] In 2003, the album was ranked number 379 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[1] They ranked it 37th on their list of greatest debut albums.[15]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bruce Springsteen.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Blinded by the Light"   5:06
2. "Growin' Up"   3:05
3. "Mary Queen of Arkansas"   5:21
4. "Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?"   2:05
5. "Lost in the Flood"   5:17
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "The Angel"   3:24
7. "For You"   4:40
8. "Spirit in the Night"   5:00
9. "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City"   3:13

Unreleased outtakes[edit]

As with every album to follow, Springsteen recorded more songs than he could possibly fit onto the album. Many of the outtakes have been released throughout the years on various bootlegs however never have been given an official release. Most are in a raw, demo form featuring just Springsteen and were not fully completed. Demos such as "Mary Queen of Arkansas", "Growin' Up", Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?" and "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City" were released on the Tracks boxset.[16]

  • Arabian Nights
  • Visitation At Fort Horn
  • Jazz Musician
  • Lady and the Doctor
  • Cowboys of the Sea
  • Two Hearts in True Waltz Time
  • Street Queen
  • The Chosen


The E Street Band[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]


  • Louis Lahav – engineer
  • Jack Ashkinazy – remixing
  • John Berg – cover design
  • Fred Lombardi – back cover design

Song-by-song musician credits[edit]

1. Blinded by the Light

  • Springsteen – guitar, electric bass, keyboards, vocals
  • Clemons – saxophone, backing vocals
  • Lopez – drums, backing vocals
  • Wheeler – piano

2. Growin' Up

  • Springsteen – guitar, vocals
  • Lopez – drums
  • Sancious – piano, keyboards
  • Tallent – electric bass

3. Mary Queen of Arkansas

  • Springsteen – guitar, harmonica, vocals

4. Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?

  • Springsteen – guitar, vocals
  • Lopez – drums
  • Sancious – piano
  • Tallent – electric bass

5. Lost in the Flood

  • Springsteen – vocals
  • Lopez – drums
  • Sancious – piano, organ
  • Tallent – electric bass
  • Van Zandt – sound effects

6. The Angel

  • Springsteen- guitar, vocals
  • Davis – double bass

7. For You

  • Springsteen – guitar, vocals
  • Lopez – drums
  • Sancious – piano, keyboards
  • Tallent – electric bass

8. Spirit in the Night

  • Springsteen – piano, electric bass, clapping, vocals
  • Clemons – saxophone, clapping, backing vocals
  • Lopez – drums, clapping, backing vocals

9. It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City

  • Springsteen – guitar, vocals
  • Lopez – drums
  • Sancious – piano
  • Tallent – electric bass

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "379 | Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. - Bruce Springsteen". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 5 March 2006. 
  2. ^ "Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ". 1973-01-05. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Happy 40th: Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey’". CBS. 1973-07-05. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  4. ^ a b c d e By Lester Bangs (1973-07-05). "Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  5. ^ Goldstein, Stan (November 15, 2009). "Bruce Springsteen to play the entire 'Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.' album in Buffalo". Retrieved 16 November 2009. 
  6. ^ "Bruce Springsteen - Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. - Album Review". Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  7. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. at AllMusic. Retrieved 29 November 2005.
  8. ^ Kot, Greg (August 23, 1992). "The Recorded History of Springsteen". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Bruce Springsteen". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 771–773. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.  Portions posted at "Bruce Springsteen > Album Guide". Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "Review: Bruce Springsteen - Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  11. ^ Bangs, Lester (July 5, 1973). "Bruce Springsteen Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. > Album Review". Rolling Stone (138). Archived from the original on 20 June 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2004. 
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (April 1973). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". Creem: 70. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). Rock Albums of the '70s: A Critical Guide. Da Capo Press. p. 366. ISBN 0306804093. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  14. ^ Ruhlmann, William (2002). "Bruce Springsteen". In Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (3rd ed.). Backbeat Books. p. 1062. ISBN 087930653X. 
  15. ^ "The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Carlin, Peter Ames (2012). Bruce. New York, NY: Touchstone. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-4391-9182-8. 

External links[edit]