Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.

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Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 5, 1973 (1973-01-05)
RecordedJune 7 – October 26, 1972[1]
Studio914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, New York
ProducerMike Appel · Jim Cretecos
Bruce Springsteen chronology
Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
Bruce Springsteen and 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 the American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was produced from June through October 1972 by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos at the budget-priced 914 Sound Studios. The album was released January 5, 1973, by Columbia Records to average sales but a positive critical reception.

Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. first charted in the United Kingdom on June 15, 1985, in the wake of Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. tour arriving in Britain; it remained in the top 100 for ten weeks.[2] In 2003, the album was ranked at No. 379 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list[3] and in 2013 the same magazine listed Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. as one of the "100 Greatest Debut Albums of All Time".[4] On November 22, 2009, the album 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]


Springsteen and his first manager Mike Appel recorded 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 during the last week of June 1972.[6][1]

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 feature 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").[7]

However, when Columbia Records president Clive Davis heard the album submitted on August 10, 1972, he felt that it lacked a potential hit single, and rejected it. Springsteen quickly wrote "Blinded by the Light" and "Spirit in the Night",[8] and recorded both on September 11, 1972. Because pianist David Sancious and bassist Garry Tallent were unavailable, a three-man band was used—Vini Lopez on drums, Springsteen on guitar, bass and piano, and the previously missing Clarence Clemons on saxophone.[8] Columbia accepted the revised album, and Davis was personally pleased with Springsteen's response.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[11]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[12]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[14]
MusicHound Rock2.5/5[15]
New Musical Express6/10[16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[18]
Tom Hull – on the WebB[19]

Reviewing for Rolling Stone in July 1973, Lester Bangs hailed Springsteen as a daring new artist who sets himself apart from his contemporaries with songwriting that either has a serious meaning or showcases his uninhibited gift for verbose, overloaded lyrics and rhyme schemes. "Some of [his words] can mean something socially or otherwise", Bangs said, "but there's plenty of 'em that don't even pretend to, reveling in the joy of utter crass showoff talent run amuck and totally out of control".[20] Peter Knobler wrote in Crawdaddy that "he sings with a freshness and urgency I haven't heard since I was rocked by 'Like a Rolling Stone' ... the album rocks, then glides, then rocks again. There is the combined sensibility of the chaser and the chaste, the street punk and the bookworm."[21] Creem magazine's Robert Christgau said 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".[13] In Christgau's Record Guide (1981), he wrote 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.[12]

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."[22] In 2003, the album was ranked number 379 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[3] They ranked it 37th on their list of greatest debut albums.[23]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Bruce Springsteen

Side one
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
1."The Angel"3:24
2."For You"4:40
3."Spirit in the Night"5:00
4."It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City"3:13
Total length:37:08


  • Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, piano, keyboards, handclaps, bass guitar on “Blinded by the Light” and “Spirit in the Night”

Additional musicians


Chart (1975) Peak
US Billboard 200[27] 60
Chart (1985) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[28] 71
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[29] 35
UK Albums (OCC)[30] 41

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[31] Gold 35,000^
France 8,000[32]
Germany 100,000[33]
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[35] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Heylin, Clinton (2012). Springsteen Song by Song A Critical Look. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc. pp. 8–13. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  2. ^ The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums, 1996
  3. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  4. ^ "100 Best Debut Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 13 October 2013.
  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. ^ "Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ". 1973-01-05. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  7. ^ Gaar, Gillian G. (2016). Boss: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – The Illustrated History. Minneapolis: Voyageur Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-7603-4972-4.
  8. ^ a b "Happy 40th: Bruce Springsteen's 'Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey'". CBS. 1973-07-05. Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  9. ^ Carlin, Peter Ames (2013). Bruce!. London, United Kingdom: Simon & Schuster. pp. 38–56. ISBN 978-1471112348. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  10. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. at AllMusic. Retrieved 29 November 2005.
  11. ^ Kot, Greg (August 23, 1992). "The Recorded History of Springsteen". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Bruce Springsteen: Greetings from Asbury Park NJ". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Da Capo Press. p. 366. ISBN 0306804093 – via
  13. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (April 1973). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". Creem: 70. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  14. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Bruce Springsteen". Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  15. ^ Graff, Gary (1996). "Bruce Springsteen". In Graff, Gary (ed.). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Detroit: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0787610372.
  16. ^ Bailie, Stuart; Staunton, Terry (11 March 1995). "Ace of boss". New Musical Express. pp. 54–55.
  17. ^ Williams, Richard (December 1989). "All or Nothing: The Springsteen back catalogue". Q. No. 39. p. 149. Retrieved February 12, 2024 – via Rock's Backpages.
  18. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Bruce Springsteen". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). 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.
  19. ^ Hull, Tom (October 29, 2016). "Streamnotes (October 2016)". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  20. ^ Bangs, Lester (July 5, 1973). "Bruce Springsteen Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. > Album Review". Rolling Stone. No. 138. Archived from the original on June 20, 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2004.
  21. ^ Knobler, Peter; Mitchell, Greg (2004). "Who Is Bruce Springsteen and Why Are We Saying All These Wonderful Things About Him?". In Sawyers, June Skinner (ed.). Racing in the Street: The Bruce Springsteen Reader. Penguin Books. pp. 30, 36. ISBN 0142003549.
  22. ^ Ruhlmann, William (2002). "Bruce Springsteen". In Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (eds.). All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (3rd ed.). Backbeat Books. p. 1062. ISBN 087930653X.
  23. ^ "The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  24. ^ Carlin, Peter Ames (2012). Bruce. New York: Touchstone. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-4391-9182-8.
  25. ^ Margotin, Philippe; Guesdon, Jean-Michel (2020). Bruce Springsteen All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track. London: Cassell Illustrated. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-78472-649-2.
  26. ^ Steven Van Zandt [@StevieVanZandt] (September 9, 2016). "No. Darkness was the first record I was on" (Tweet). Retrieved 21 July 2023 – via Twitter.
  27. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  28. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  29. ^ " – Bruce Springsteen – Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.". Hung Medien.
  30. ^ "Bruce Springsteen | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  31. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2008 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  32. ^ "Springsteen Tour Of Europe A Triumph Covering 10 Nations" (PDF). Billboard. June 20, 1981. p. 73. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  33. ^ "Springsteen Tour Of Europe A Triumph Covering 10 Nations" (PDF). Billboard. June 20, 1981. p. 40. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  34. ^ "British album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J." British Phonographic Industry.
  35. ^ "American album certifications – Bruce Springsteen – Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]