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March 9, 2014 / thackersam

March 9 – Sunday – Bruce Springsteen – Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

Bruce - GreetingsYes, it’s true. I am a Bruce Springsteen fan. Not to worry, though. For those of you who are not Springsteen fans, I don’t have too many albums, and they only go so far in time. But, unlike the other albums in my whole record collection, which are in alphabetical order by artist then title, this mini-collection is in chronological order. And so we start with Greetings From Asbury Park, Bruce’s debut album that was released in 1973.

A couple of the songs are duds, and a couple are just okay. However, the good ones, well they’re real good and demonstrates Bruce’s mastery of story-telling by painting vivid pictures with both music and lyrics. I began with side two, which includes “For You,” “Spirits in the Night” and “It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City.” “For You” is an amazing song about attempted suicide that is far from a dark and somber song. It’s a song of admission and admiration with a quick tempo that echoes the singer’s perception of urgency. At least that’s what I think it’s about. The album is kind of short, so I flipped to side one and danced to “Blinded by the Light,” a song that I had heard long before I knew who Bruce was. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, a group that successfully crossed over from the 1960s’ British Invasion, had a hit with it, even though the controversial word in the song that they sang, was not what is in Bruce’s version. He wrote “deuce,” they sang “douche.”

I think it might have been 1976 before I knew who Bruce Springsteen was, and maybe 1978 before I started to really take notice. But it wasn’t until 1980 that I became a fan – definitely short for fanatic.

If I had to pick my favorite song from this album, it would have to be “Growin’ Up,” a song that captured the awkwardness and confusion of, well, growing up, while poking good-natured fun at it. While Greetings is pre-E Street Band, saxophonist Clarence Clemmons and bassist Garry Tallent were with Bruce from the beginning.

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