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  • Pete Chianca

Happy Birthday, Greetings! Here's how you rated the songs from Springsteen's 1st album


We asked you to rate the tracks on Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 debut album “Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ” in honor of its 50th anniversary January 5, and one thing's for sure: You really like it.


In fact, other than two relative duds you can probably guess (and will see listed below), no song scored under a 3.5 out of 5, and six of the nine tracks finished above a 4. In fact, I had to go out three decimal places to determine the final list.


Tomorrow, we'll celebrate the anniversary with a commentary about how Springsteen's first album was better than it had any right to be. But for now, here’s how the hundreds of Blogness readers who responded scored each of the tracks, in order from least to most favorite — and a Spotify playlist arranged from most to least:


9.) "Mary Queen of Arkansas" (average score: 2.528 out of 5)


Poor "Mary" gets a bad rap for being so lugubriously slow, but you have to admit that “I don't understand how you can hold me so tight and love me so damn loose" is a darn good lyric.


8.) "The Angel" (average score: 2.621 out of 5)


Personally I'd probably put this one on the bottom of the "Greetings" ladder, but Bruce's live take during the 2009 full album performance in Buffalo showed that even this nonsensical nugget is capable of carrying some emotional heft.


7.) "Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?" (average score: 3.561 of 5)


A bouncy number with some of the album's most Dylanesque turns of phrase, and Bruce's first clear assertion that despite it all there was "still hope," there was a big leap in listener satisfaction from "The Angel" to this track.


6.) "Blinded by the Light" (average score: 4.169 out of 5)


Prior to "Dancing in the Dark" this was probably Springsteen's most widely known song (thanks to the Manfred Mann version), and represents one of the best uses of a rhyming dictionary in popular music. Not to mention one great hook. (Frankly, I thought it would finish higher.)


5.) "Lost in the Flood" (average score: 4.271 out of 5)


Springsteen's first "epic," this track can come off as a bit plodding, but its thundering scope still packs a punch when the E Street Band hauls it out in concert. That may have been what gave it enough oomph to finish dead center in our poll.


4.) "For You" (average score: 4.277 out of 5)


The jam-packed lyrics practically trip out of the speaker on this organ-fueled torch song for a girl who may or may not have ended it all. I described it in my book as “an explosive jumble of nostalgia, pain and frustration,” and I stand by it.


3.) “It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City” (average score: 4.291 out of 5)


This is the song that sold John Hammond on signing Springsteen to Columbia Records in the first place, and you can see why: It perfectly captures the frantic, inexplicable claustrophobia that goes along with being young, confused and too darn hot during summer in New York City.


2.) “Spirit in the Night” (average score: 4.359 out of 5)


Clarence’s honking sax is reason enough for this track’s high scores, but throw in the perfectly drawn, colorfully named characters (the first of many in Bruce’s eventual oeuvre) and the call-and-response chorus, and you’ve got a should-have-been greatest hit.


1.) “Growin’ Up” (average score: 4.515 out of 5)


“Now, before my upcoming smash biography, THIS was my biography,” Bruce declared before launching into this song in Foxboro, Mass. (and probably in other places as well) in 2016. Self-deprecating, funny, and utterly relatable, it’s sort of become all of our lives’ story — and 50 years after baby Bruce first put it to record, it’s no surprise that it's still held so close to our hearts.



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