Little-known facts about “Greetings from Asbury Park” (released 40 years ago today)


1. Both Bruce Springsteen and manager/producer Mike Appel wanted it to sound a lot like Cat Stevens’ albums.

2. Steve Van Zandt showed up with the rest of the band to record the full-band songs, but never took his guitar out of its case — Bruce told him he didn’t need a second guitarist anymore.

3. The second side of the album was originally built around “Visitation at Fort Horn,”  , a nearly 8-minute acoustic epic intended as a metaphorical portrait of, I think, society and survival and militarism and probably other things too, but it’s really abstruse and requires far deeper study/more listens than I’m prepared to do right now. Bruce lost faith in the song late in the process, but no one was sorry to see it go. Particularly when “Blinded by the Light” and “Spirit in the Night” replaced it.

4. “Mary Queen of Arkansas” and particularly “The Angel,” two of the least-loved songs in Bruce’s canon, are actually really interesting and rewarding songs. Ignore them at your peril: both mark the origins of  narrative threads that will weave through the most important work Bruce would ever do, and is still doing.

Here’s the audio of the entire album.


  1. Patti Adams says:

    i’ve listened to it half a dozen times today. enjoyed the Angel much more than I did in the past. still struggle with Mary. thanks for the clip of the pulled track.

  2. Stanton Hall says:

    I agree with Patti. Always thought Angel was a terrific song. Mary’s interesting from a development point of view, but it’s just not that melodic.

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