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Bruce Springsteen Releases a Historic Debut Album

On January 5, 1973, Columbia Records released Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., the first album from Bruce Springsteen.  As an unknown newcomer, his debut record enjoyed only modest sales, but received acclaim from leading rock critics such as Robert Christgau and Lester Bangs.  Greetings peaked at #60 on the album charts, but achieved double-platinum sales status over time.           

Although it featured musicians who were regulars on the Asbury Park music scene, and who would later become members of the E Street Band – Clarence Clemons, David Sancious, and Garry Tallent – Greetings was released as a solo record.  As he has done throughout his career, Bruce balanced songs performed by a full band with songs performed solo. 

The album was recorded at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, N.Y., produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos. 

In 2003, the album was ranked #379 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and in 2013 the same magazine named Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. #37 of the 100 Greatest Debut Albums of All-Time. 

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band released a version of Blinded by the Light on their 1976 album The Roaring Silence. The track reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s recording of Blinded by the Light is Bruce Springsteen’s only #1 single as a songwriter on the Hot 100; Dancing in the Dark reached #2 in 1984.

Photo from Asbury Park Press interview with Bruce Springsteen, 1973. Courtesy Asbury Park Press.

On February 9, 1973, in an interview with the Asbury Park Press, Bruce said of himself:

All you can ask of a person is that he’s honest about what he’s doing.  I hope I’ll never change in that respect.  The world does not need another four-piece rock ‘n’ roll band, and the market needs less to be flooded with more junk.

On February 10, 1973, after a week of performances at the legendary rock club Max’s Kansas City in New York City, Springsteen performed his new material at the Sunshine Inn in Asbury Park.  From there, he toured in California for six weeks sharing the bill with bands such as The Beach Boys, Paul Butterfield, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and other headliners of the day.

One of two singles released from this album. Image courtesy Columbia Records.

Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. (LP format)

Side One

1. Blinded by the Light

2. Growin’ Up

3. Mary Queen of Arkansas

4. Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?

5. Lost in the Flood

Side Two

6. The Angel

7. For You

8. Spirit in the Night

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

Sources:   

Album photos courtesy of Columbia Records.

100 Best Debut Albums of All Time.  (2013).  Rolling Stone, October 13, 2013.  Available: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/100-best-debut-albums-of-all-time-143608/the-fame-2-151275/

Levy, Joe; Van Zandt, Steven. (2003). 379 | Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. – Bruce Springsteen. Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, 3rd ed., London: Turnaround

Ruhlmann, William (2021). Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Review. AllMusic.com.

Schoenewels, Barbara. (1973). Springsteen Takes City Aloft. Asbury Park Press, Asbury Park, N.J., February 9, 1973, P. 23.

This Week Calendar of Events. (1973). Asbury Park Press, February 4, 1973, P. C11.

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