Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
I’ve been a Bruce Springsteen fan for four decades and, although there’s a lot to like on every album he’s released, his earliest records remain the ones I return to most frequently. Darkness On The Edge Of Town might be my all-time favorite, but everything from his 1973 debut through 1982’s Nebraska is what the rest of his catalog will always be measured against. That stunning debut, Greetings From Asbury Park N.J., featured an early lineup of the E Street Band, with two stalwarts (saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who was brought in at the end of the recording sessions for two songs, and bassist Garry Tallent) along with David Sancious on keyboards and Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez on drums. The latter’s jazzy drumming brought frenetic energy to The Boss’ verbose poetic songs, and it’s the consistency of those songs that makes this such a special album. It may not have been a commercial success in its day but it’s now considered a classic.
For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.
From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 3:
Bruce Springsteen’s recording career got off to an impressive start with an album featuring songs that would be covered by David Bowie (“Growin’ Up”), The Greg Kihn Band (“For You”) and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. The latter scored a #1 hit with their version of “Blinded By The Light,” and they also covered “Spirit In The Night” & “For You.” Plenty of songwriters release records that are improved in other people’s hands, but that wasn’t the case here. With the assistance of the original E Street Band, the man billed as “the next Bob Dylan” burst out of the gate with his own unique style and a clutch of tunes that most artists would kill to write over the course of their careers. In addition to the aforementioned songs, “Lost In The Flood” and “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City” are two more standouts which help to make Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ one of the most consistently enjoyable albums in his discography. Considering he was only 23 when the album was recorded, you get a sense of just how special a writer & performer he was right from the beginning, and why so many artists clamored to cover his songs.
What do my fellow Springsteen fans think of this record? How about those who are more casual followers of his music? Even if you don’t like his later songs that made him a superstar, I urge you to give Greetings… a chance, as it doesn’t sound quite like anything else he ever recorded.