Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. - Studio Sessions


disco_greetingsfromasburyparknj.jpg
Commercially Released: January 5, 1973
Label: Columbia
Produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos
Recorded by Louis Lahav at 914 Sound Recording Studios (June - October 1972)
Remixed by Jack Ashkinazy
Design by John Berg and Fred Lombardi

Overview

Springsteen's Record Deal

The Bruce Springsteen Band dissolved in the middle of March 1972. Around this time, Springsteen signed 'Exclusive Recording' and 'Exclusive Management Agreements' with Laurel Canyon (Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos). However Springsteen did not sign any Songwriting Agreement at this time, apparently wishing to think this matter over a bit longer. During April Springsteen travelled to New York on occasions to visit Mike Appel at the publishing company Pocketful Of Tunes, where Appel was then employed. During April some spontaneous, 'off-the-cuff' Springsteen performances were recorded in a songwriting room (not the studio) at Pocketful Of Tunes. To date, only a couple of these demos have surfaced. There may have been other songs (titles unknown) similarly taped that have yet to circulate.

In late April 1972 Mike Appel was able to procure a May 2 meeting with CBS A&R Manager John Hammond so that Hammond could meet and listen to Bruce. Hammond loved what he heard and Springsteen’s first studio demo session took place at CBS Studios the following day (the so-called 'John Hammond Demo Session'). Fourteen recordings were made of twelve different songs; two performed twice. Session log information survives so it has been verified that these recordings encompass the complete session. John Hammond was prepared to sign Bruce on the spot on May 3. But administrative formalities within CBS meant that it would take several weeks for that to become reality. Mike Appel sent cassette copies of some (not all) of this May 3 material to several record company executives during May in an attempt to create a bidding war for Springsteen’s services. However, none of the other companies were interested in Bruce.

A week or so following the demo session Springsteen finally signed his 'Exclusive Songwriting Agreement' with publisher Sioux City Music (Appel & Cretecos). It was following the signing of this Agreement that Springsteen began a series of May-June demo sessions for Sioux City Music at Wes Farrell’s Pocketful Of Sounds Studios (where Appel was still employed). Despite this timeline it appears that some of these recordings may have been cut in April 1972. Laurel Canyon Productions (Appel & Cretecos) finally signed a recording contract with CBS ('the CBS Agreement') on June 9, 1972. Bruce was not signed directly to CBS - his services were subcontracted to CBS by Laurel Canyon.

Recording Sessions

There is no doubt that 1972 was a massive song writing period for Bruce. Although some have their genesis in 1971, Springsteen wrote dozens of songs during 1972, prior to the January 1973 release of his debut album. The vast majority of the known recordings were made during a three-four month period, from May thru August 1972. From this large pool of recordings Appel-Cretecos selected and distributed some of them during 1973-74 - most notably to the UK – European based publisher Intersong Music Ltd. Some recordings were distributed on tape, others on acetates. Most of these acetates were manufactured at Media Sound in New York City and Angel Sound in Bedford, MA. Intersong also pressed its own acetates for distribution within the industry. This audio gradually filtered into collector circles in the late 1970s, often under the misnomer 'the London Publishing Demos'.

The audio from these sessions that has circulated to date was recorded at either: a) CBS Studios, b) Mediasound Studios at West 57th Street, New York City, c) 914 Sound Studios or d) Jim Cretecos’ apartment (location uncertain - stories contradict each other). Interestingly neither the material recorded at CBS Studios (the so-called 'Hammond tapes') nor the material recorded in Jim Cretecos’ apartment (the so-called 'Cretecos Tapes') was ever sent to publishers. The Cretecos apartment tapes never circulated until the early 1990s, when Jimmy Cretecos sold his private audio collection (which also included recordings from both Mediasound Studios and 914 Sound Studios) to a third party – and it was this third party (JEC Music USA) that attempted to claim copyright of the material and to release it commercially. Springsteen took the matter to court in both the UK and USA – litigation that, all totalled, spanned nearly 7 years (1994 – 2001). In the end Bruce won both the UK and USA cases convincingly – however not before much of the material had leaked out on various unauthorized and/or bootleg CD releases.

Although the general time frame and sequencing of these 1972 demo-recording sessions has become clearer, much of the finer details (i.e., exact locations, dates and times for each recording) remain unclear. The full scope of Springsteen’s songwriting catalogue that was actually committed to audio tape by Bruce during this period remains a mystery. As can be seen below, nearly half of the songs that Springsteen is believed to have written have yet to surface in any audio form.

Laurel Canyon Productions (Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos) signed a recording contract with CBS ('the CBS Agreement') on June 9, 1972. Springsteen’s services were subcontracted to Columbia Records by Laurel Canyon (i.e. Bruce was not signed directly to CBS/Columbia). Laurel Canyon was to receive an immediate cash advance from CBS and this money was to be used to pay for the studio time at 914 Sound Studios to record the album. A delay by CBS in delivering the advance money to Laurel Canyon resulted in the band sessions at 914 not starting until late June, although Springsteen had cut four solo acoustic tracks at 914 ("Growin' Up", "Street Queen", "Arabian Nights" and "Lady And The Doctor") on June 7. During June Springsteen had finalized the selection of the musicians that would be used for the initial sessions at 914 Sound. The musicians chosen (with an approval from Appel-Cretecos) constituted the entire line-up of the former Bruce Springsteen Band - David Sancious, Gary Tallent, Vini Lopez and Steve Van Zandt. However, Van Zandt ended up partaking in almost none of the 914 Sound band sessions because of a prior commitment to tour as a member of The Dovells backing group)

Recording sessions for the Greetings album spanned a four-month period, from early June to late October 1972. All sessions took place at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, New York. The initial sessions at 914 Sound Studios involved the recording of the band material. Apparently Springsteen had pretty much decided what songs were going to be given a band arrangement before entering the studio. So the core band sessions were completed in only about two weeks. No unreleased band recordings from the debut album sessions have surfaced. Following these band sessions the various members scattered (keeping in mind Bruce had not decided to form a touring band at this stage).

Springsteen spent the next few weeks recording solo material. It was during this period that differences of opinion surfaced about what material (band vs solo) was going to dominate the eventually released LP. There were two sides in this disagreement. Mike Appel and John Hammond wanted a solo-dominated album, while Springsteen and Jimmy Cretecos preferred a band-dominated album. During early August a compromise was reached and the album track selection was decided upon – featuring five band recordings ("Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?", "Growin’ Up", "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City", "For You" and "Lost In The Flood") and five solo recordings ("The Angel", "Mary Queen Of Arkansas", "Jazz Musician", "Arabian Nights" and "Visitation At Fort Horn"). On August 10, 1972 Laurel Canyon transferred the sound recording copyrights to these ten songs to CBS. So it seemed the album was finalized. However when then-CBS President Clive Davis listened to the ten tracks he commented that not only did he prefer the band tracks, but he also felt the album lacked a potential hit single. In essence Davis was siding with Springsteen’s vision of the album as being more rock-orientated.

In August Springsteen composed two more commercial-sounding songs, "Blinded By The Light" and "Spirit In The Night". Consequently a further “band” session was required. However both Sancious and Tallent, then-employed at Alpha Sound Studios in Richmond, were unable to return to New York to record. Bruce wished to incorporate saxophone in both new songs and contacted Clarence Clemons, a member of Norman Seldin & The Joyful Noyze at the time. So the studio session line-up for these two songs was Clemons, Lopez and Springsteen (who played all other instruments, except for the piano on "Blinded By The Light", which was handled by Harold Wheeler. "Blinded" and "Spirit" (as well as the only uncirculated track from the sessions, "The Chosen") were completed by early September. These two band recordings replaced the three solo recordings ("Visitation", "Arabian Nights" and "Jazz Musician") that had previously been shortlisted. Therefore the final album was reduced from ten tracks to nine, encompassing seven band tracks and two solo tracks. Columbia Records original intention was to release the album in late November 1972. However the company decided the album might get overlooked among the massive amount of pre-Christmas releases so the album was held back until early January.

Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. was commercially released January 5, 1973. Springsteen continued composing new material after the sessions ended and was allegedly supplied with a reel-to-reel recorder by Appel-Cretecos and is thought to have made some home demos on his own during this period. None of this audio from the September-December 1972 period has ever emerged. However at least two further publishing demo sessions were held at 914 Studios – one on January 29-30 and the other on February 19-20, 1973. See The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle studio sessions page for more information on those sessions.

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT 5:03 GREETINGS / 1973 single
2. GROWIN' UP 3:05 GREETINGS
3. MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS 5:19 GREETINGS
4. DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET? 2:04 GREETINGS
5. LOST IN THE FLOOD 5:13 GREETINGS
6. THE ANGEL 3:23 GREETINGS
7. FOR YOU 4:40 GREETINGS / 1973 b-side
8. SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT 4:57 GREETINGS / 1973 single
9. IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY 3:11 GREETINGS

Total Running Time: 37:13

Visit our release-pages for additional information.

Additional Recordings

In addition to what was released on Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., Springsteen recorded other songs (most solo) at 914 Sound Studios during the album sessions. Some of these recordings were later utilized as copyright/publishing demos – and therefore can be categorized as both album outtakes and publishing demos. It is difficult to distinguish in every case between the Greetings album outtakes recorded at 914 Sound Studios and some demo recordings made slightly earlier at other locations. Please refer to details below for the best available information as to the timing and location of when/where these recordings emanate.

Details

ARABIAN NIGHTS - V1 uncirculating
ARABIAN NIGHTS - V2 5:25 US1 / ESR / EDR
ARABIAN NIGHTS - V3 5:05 US3 / MT1 / EDR
ARABIAN NIGHTS - V4a 5:52 UNE / PS / EY / EDR
ARABIAN NIGHTS - V4b 5:39 DT
ARABIAN NIGHTS - V5 uncirculating

Note: V1 recorded at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY on February 14, 1972. V2 was probably recorded at Mike Appel's office, New York in April 1972. V3 was recorded at the John Hammond audition at Studio E Columbia Records building, 6th floor, 49 East 52nd Street, New York City on May 3, 1972. V4a is from a session at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY, on June 7, 1972. Each version is a more polished than its predecessor, and leads up to the second take on June 7, a stunning solo acoustic number which was left off the Greetings album. This very same recording was later utilized as a publishing demo by Laurel Canyon. V4b is from a downstream source and of weaker sound quality. Springsteen finished the song V5 on June 27, which is probably a full band take that was set to go on the album, until three songs were bumped to make room for "Blinded By The Light" and "Spirit In The Night". V5 remains uncirculated.

BABY DOLL - V1 uncirculating
BABY DOLL - V2 5:00 BTF / EY

Note: Written in September/October 1971, a moving story about a blind girl who "dances to a silent band." According to Bruce and Mike Appel, it was performed by Bruce (on piano) to Mike at their first-ever meeting at Mike's employer, Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY, on November 4, 1971 (not recorded). V2 is on acoustic guitar, recorded at Jim Cretecos's apartment in New York City in April 1972. Differing accounts report it was recorded at the offices of Laurel Canyon Music, 75 East 55th Street, Suite 706, New York, NY, in mid May–June 1972.

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT - V1a 5:03 GREETINGS / ESSENTIAL: 2003 / GH09
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT - V1b 3:58 1973 Single

Note: According to Springsteen in Songs, both "Blinded By The Light" and "Spirit In The Night" were written to order after Clive Davis told him in mid-August 1972, there was nothing on Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. which could get radio play. Bruce's response was to go home with a rhyming dictionary, which is what he used to write "Madman’s Bummers", which he changed to "Blinded By the Light", and without delay, "Spirit In The Night" and "Blinded By The Light" were both recorded on September 11, 1972.

After the Greetings sessions were completed, and the master submitted on August 10, most of the not-yet-called The E Street Band had dispersed to other obligations; David Sancious and Danny Federici were in Virginia, and Miami Steve was playing with the Dovells. Bruce found his drummer, Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez, special guest star Clarence Clemons, who had not played in the June sessions, and Harold Wheeler to play piano; he played the rest of the instruments. It is not known how many takes were needed to finish "Blinded By The Light", but it was completed in one day. Before it was released as a single on February 23, 1973, coupled with "The Angel", the engineers at Columbia edited out a verse, reducing the time below four minutes. It was given an extremely limited commercial release in the United States. The lyrics on the back of the 7" picture sleeve are also missing a verse. A stereo fold down mono version is available as the b-side of the white label promo 45.

BORDER GUARD 6:13 BTF / UNE / EY

Note: Recorded at Jim Cretecos's apartment in New York City in April, 1972.

CAMILLA HORN 1:03 BTF / UNE / PS / EY / MT1 / EDR

Note: Recorded at Mediasound Studios in April–May, 1972.

COWBOYS OF THE SEA - V1 uncirculating
COWBOYS OF THE SEA - V2 4:38 US3 / HDT / FOFC / RARITIES / DIHTSHN / EDR
COWBOYS OF THE SEA - V3 4:15 DT / EDR
COWBOYS OF THE SEA - V4 4:13 BTF / US4 / EY / EDR

Note: Written by Bruce in 1971. Performed with The Bruce Springsteen Band in late 1971 and early 1972. A wild, full band live performance at The Backdoor Club in Richmond in February 1972 is circulating. This seems to be the earliest of his compositions to incorporate substantial scattershot imagery. V1 recorded at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY on February 14, 1972. V2 recorded at the John Hammond audition at Studio E Columbia Records building, 6th floor, 49 East 52nd Street, New York City on May 3, 1972. V3 recorded at Mediasound Studios, 311 West 57th Street, New York, NY during April-July, 1972. V4 is a solo acoustic number left off the Greetings album, recorded June 7, 1972 at 914 Sound Studios. A full-band take may well have been recorded as well, but there are no mentions of the song (in either arrangement) in the studio logs.

DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET? - V1 1:55 TRACKS / US3 / HDT
DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET? - V2 uncirculating
DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET? - V3a 2:05 PS / EY
DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET? - V3b 2:04 GREETINGS

Note: V1 was recorded at Columbia Studio E for Bruce's Columbia audition tape on May 3, 1972 and is officially released on Tracks. V2 was recorded on June 26, 1972 during the Greetings sessions. V3a was recorded the following day and is allegedly a different mix, but the difference, if there is one, is not perceptible. Running time variation is only at fade out. Final overdubs were recorded at 914 Sound Studios (for V3b) and mixing of the album version was on July 12, 1972.

FAMILY SONG - V1 5:40 US1 / EDR
FAMILY SONG - V2 5:03 BTF / UNE / PS / EY / MT1 / EDR

Note: "Family Song", also known by early titles, "California" and "California, You’re A Woman". Both V1 and V2 were recorded at Mike Appel's office at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, New York, in early March 1972 (reported dates of April–June 1972 are dated after Appel quit this job, and set up his own office). The V1 take (which is definitely from Pocketful Studios, as the control room engineer is heard giving Bruce a directive to begin) is delivered at a slower pace and is slightly off-key. V2 is likely a second take, and is the superior performance. Both recordings were produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos, and Cretecos was also the recording engineer. According to a Springsteen lyric sheet, the song's title is "California". However, the song was copyrighted in 1995 by JEC Music USA under the title "Family Song", and in 1999 by Bruce Springsteen (after winning lawsuit) under the title "Family Song". One account says it was written in January 1972 during Springsteen's month long stay in San Mateo, California visiting his parents; though not verified, it is plausible and worth mentioning.

FOR YOU - V1 uncirculating
FOR YOU - V2a 4:43 PS / EY
FOR YOU - V2b 4:40 GREETINGS / ESSENTIAL: 2003

Note: V1 was recorded on February 14, 1972 at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY, at the audition for Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos. V2a was recorded June 27, 1972 at 914 Sound Studios for Greetings. V2b was an overdub session on October 26, 1972, when the track was completed.

ELOISE - V1 1:05 BTF / UNE / PS / EY / EDR
GROWIN' UP - V2 uncirculating
GROWIN' UP take 1 - V3a uncirculating
GROWIN' UP take 2 - V3b 2:35 TRACKS / US3 / HDT / CHAPTER / EDR
GROWIN' UP - V4 uncirculating
GROWIN' UP - V5 3:18 PS / EY
GROWIN' UP - V6 3:05 GREETINGS / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: V1 is 'Eloise', a work-in-progress take with soon to be discarded lyrics, recorded at Mediasound Studios in April 1972. V2 was recorded in John Hammond's office on May 2, 1972, and V3 was cut the next day at Columbia Studio E for his Columbia audition tape, and V3b was officially released 26 years later on Tracks. V4 was an acoustic take, recorded without the band at the first Greetings session on June 7, 1972, and does not circulate. V5 was cut on June 27, 1972, and V6, the final take from that session, was chosen for release on Greetings.

HENRY BOY 3:13 US4 / DT / EY / CHAPTER

Note: "Henry Boy" was recorded as a publishing demo at MediaSound Studios, 311 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019 in June 1972. It has been described as an "early version of what would evolve into 'Blinded By The Light'", which would maybe explain why it vanished from Springsteen's live repertoire after being played live in August 1972. "Henry Boy" was officially released on September 23, 2016 on Chapter And Verse, the companion to Springsteen's autobiography Born To Run. It was dated only as "June 1972" in the liner notes, confirming the well-known idea the studio logs from the time are not complete.

HOLLYWOOD KIDS - V1 uncirculating
HOLLYWOOD KIDS - V2 2:28 BTF / UNE / EY

Note: First recorded at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY on February 14, 1972. V2 recorded at Jim Cretecos's apartment in New York City in April, 1972.

IF I WAS THE PRIEST - V1 uncirculating
IF I WAS THE PRIEST - V2 5:53 US1 / EDR
IF I WAS THE PRIEST - V3 uncirculating
IF I WAS THE PRIEST - V4 5:13 US3 / HDT / EDR
IF I WAS THE PRIEST - V5 5:33 BTF / US4 / DT / EY / MPD / EDR
IF I WAS THE PRIEST - V6 6:44 LETTER

Note: V1 recorded at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY on February 14, 1972. V2 recorded at Mike Appel's office, Laurel Canyon, 75 East 55th Street, Suite 706, New York, NY during April, 1972. V3 was performed at John Hammond's office at "the Black Rock" aka CBS Records, 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY on May 2, 1972. V4 recorded at the John Hammond audition at Studio E Columbia Records, 6th floor, 49 East 52nd Street, New York City on May 3, 1972. V5 recorded at Mediasound Studios, 311 West 57th Street, New York, NY during May–July, 1972, a solo acoustic number. It was never recorded at the Greetings sessions. According to comments by Bruce this was written in late 1970 or early 1971. Performed live at The Student Prince in the fall of 1971. V6 was recorded over a five-day period in November 2019 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey, with the E Street Band.

IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY take 1 - V1 3:05 uncirculating
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY take 2 - V2 7:08 uncirculating
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY - V3 4:18 uncirculating
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY - V4 2:50 US3 / HDT / TRACKS / URT2 / EDR
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY - V5 2:40 US4 / EDR
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY - V6a uncirculating
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY - V6b 3:08 DDITV / TFTV / SA914
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY - V6c 3:09 GREETINGS

Note: V1 and V2 were recorded at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY on February 14, 1972, at Bruce's audition for Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos. Bruce started off with a new song, "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City", which was performed a second time at the request of Appel, who was dazzled by the lyrics. V3 was performed at John Hammond's office, CBS Records, 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY on May 2, 1972. V4 recorded at Studio E Columbia Records building, 6th floor, 49 East 52nd Street, New York City on May 3, 1972 and officially issued on Tracks. V5 likely recorded at Pocketful Of Tunes Studios, New York, NY in May–June, 1972. V6a was recorded on June 26, 1972, and V6b mixed the following day, June 27. The only difference is that Bruce's vocal on V6b is faded out several seconds earlier than in V6a, which reveals that there were a few "street rapping" words spoken by Bruce that were cut from the officially released version. V6c is the final album track after overdubbing and mixing on October 26.

JAZZ MUSICIAN - V1 4:55 HDT / EDR
JAZZ MUSICIAN - V2 5:20 HDT / US3 / EDR
JAZZ MUSICIAN - V3 6:01 US4 / EDR
JAZZ MUSICIAN - V4 6:04 BTF / UNE / PS / EY / EDR

Note: V1 and V2 were both recorded at Studio E at Columbia Records Studio on May 3, 1972, on Bruce's audition demo. V3 was recorded at Mediasound Studios, NY in May 1972. V4 on the other hand, is from 914 Sound Studios on June 27, 1972, a cut that was all set to go on the album. All four versions are solo piano takes and each version is a slight improvement on its predecessor. In V3 Bruce sings one line as "and you were pretty big in the south." In V4 Bruce sings this line as "and, YEAH, you were pretty big in the south." "Jazz Musician" was one of three songs bumped from Greetings to make way for last minute additions "Blinded By The Light" and "Spirit In The Night". Some have speculated that the recording of the song that was eliminated from Greetings is not V4, but another take from that day that has yet-to-surface. V4 was later utilized as a publishing demo by Laurel Canyon. Springsteen salvaged the line, "now the park is dark, but the sidewalk's bright and alive with the light of the living" for "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out".

JESSE 3:05 BTF / UNE / PS / EY

Note: Likely recorded at Jim Cretecos's apartment in New York City in April 1972, although this is possibly from Pocketful Of Tunes Studios in May/June.

LADY AND THE DOCTOR - V1 3:22 US4 / EDR
LADY AND THE DOCTOR - V2 4:12 BTF / UNE / PS / EY / EDR
LADY AND THE DOCTOR - V3 uncirculating

Note: V1 recorded in Mike Appel's office in New York City in April 1972. V2 recorded at 914 Sound Studios on June 7, 1972. V1 is a very tentative performance and the sound quality seems to indicate it was recorded on non-professional equipment. V2 is vastly superior on all levels. Named "The Lady And The Doctor" by some sources. V3 was a full band take recorded on June 27, 1972 at 914 Sound Studios, which remains uncirculated.

LOST IN THE FLOOD - V1a 5:13 uncirculating
LOST IN THE FLOOD - V1b 5:13 GREETINGS

Note: V1a was recorded on June 27, 1972 at 914 Sound Studios and is the Greetings take. V1b contains sound effects (courtesy of Steve Van Zandt) that were overdubbed to complete the track.

MARIE 4:44 BTF / UNE / PS / EY / MT1 / VAFH / MPD

Note: Recorded at Mediasound Studios, New York, NY in April–May, 1972.

MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS - V1 uncirculating
MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS - V2 1:15 HDT
MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS - V3 4:18 TRACKS / US3 / HDT
MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS - V4a 5:19 uncirculating
MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS - V4b 5:19 GREETINGS

Note: V1 was recorded at John Hammond's office, CBS Records, 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY, on May 2, 1972. V2 and V3 were both recorded at Columbia Studio E for Bruce's Columbia audition tape on May 3, 1972. V2 was Bruce's first attempt, followed by V3, which was a complete take and has been officially issued on Tracks. V4a and V4b are the same basic recording from June 26–27, 1972 at 914 Sound Studios, with a harmonica overdub added later on V4b, released on Greetings.

MOTHER uncirculating

Note: "Mother" is a song that is known from 1972, rough audio and not in circulation. Listed by Charles Cross in the second edition of Backstreets: The Man and His Music. It is not known if the song was ever finished, but it was on a Greetings song list.

NO NEED - V1 uncirculating
NO NEED - V2 6:18 US4 / MT1 / VAFH / MPD / EDR

Note: V1 recorded at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY on February 14, 1972. V2 likely recorded at Mediasound Studios, New York in June/July of 1972. Bruce on piano. This is one of the masters purchased by JEC Music USA, registered by them at the Library Of Congress, but never issued on any of JEC's associated CD releases ('Prodigal Son', 'Unearthed' and 'Before The Fame'). Collectors will have to make do with the same (but lesser sound quality) recording found on 'Unsurpassed Springsteen Vol. 4'.

PRODIGAL SON 7:08 BTF / UNE / PS / EY

Note: Likely recorded at Jim Cretecos's apartment in New York City in April, 1972. One of Bruce's major works from the period.

RANDOLPH STREET 3:52 BTF / UNE / PS / EY / MT1 / EDR

Note: Recorded at Jim Cretecos's apartment in New York City in April of 1972. Written in 1971, maybe even earlier. Also known as "Randolph Street (Master Of Electricity)". About as autobiographical as anything Bruce has ever written, about his grandfather Frederick Springsteen who was an electrician: "He was a master of the art of electricity / He lectured on tubes and circuitry / He was self-employed, but he could never see his way into the light."

SHE'S LEAVING - V1 2:45 US4 / DT / EDR
SHE'S LEAVING - V2 5:10 US4 / EY / EDR

Note: V1 and V2 both recorded at Mediasound Studios in May-June, 1972. V1 is an abandoned (incomplete) take, with Bruce forgetting the words. V2 is complete. Written in 1971 and performed with The Bruce Springsteen Band in late 1971 and early 1972. A full band live performance from late 1971 is circulating.

SOUTHERN SUN - V1 3:52 US3 / HDT / FOFC / RARITIES / DIHTSHN / EDR
SOUTHERN SUN - V2 4:15 BTF / UNE / US4 / DT / EDR

Note: Written as "It's A Southern Sun That Shines Down On This Yankee Boy" in late 1971–early 1972. V1 was recorded at Columbia Studios, Studio E, New York, NY on May 3, 1972. V2 recorded at Mediasound Studios, 311 West 57th Street, New York, NY in May–June, 1972. Original Sioux City Music documentation has the song titled as "Southern Sun", but it was copyrighted under the incorrect title "Southern Son" in 1995 by JEC Music USA, who had purchased it from Jim Cretecos. Springsteen subsequently registered it under the correct title "Southern Sun" in 1999, after winning a lawsuit in British court against JEC. Springsteen had clearly written "sun" on a handwritten setlist from the period, and the lyrics of "It's A Southern Sun That Shines Down On This Yankee Boy" clearly indicate it should be "Sun". One source of the confusion is that the song became well known via the US 10-inch acetate titled "Southern Son", with "Associated Recording Studios" on the label, typewritten song title and a handwritten "Sioux City Music Ltd." remark.

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT - V1 uncirculating
SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT - V2 4:57 GREETINGS / 1973 Single / ESSENTIAL: 2003

Note: "Spirit In The Night" was written around August 20, 1972 in response to Clive Davis's request for some radio material. Springsteen first tried using the music from "The Fever", but quickly thought otherwise and composed a fresh melody. V1 was recorded on September 11, 1972 at 910 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, New York. The Greetings take, with only Springsteen, Clemons, and Lopez, had Bruce playing multiple instruments. Session man Harold Wheeler provided additional piano. Final dubs and mixing were completed on October 26, 1972, and the song was issued as a single, backed with "For You" and hard on the heels of "Blinded By The Light", on May 11, 1973, produced by Bruce Springsteen, Mike Appel, and Jim Cretecos. A stereo fold down mono version is available as the b-side of the white label promo 45.

STREET QUEEN - V1 3:44 US3 / HDT / EDR
STREET QUEEN - V2 3:52 DT / MT1 / MPD / EDR

Note: V1 recorded at Studio E at Columbia Records Studio, New York, NY on May 3, 1972, the John Hammond demo session, with Bruce on piano. V2 is from the first Greetings session at 914 Sound Studios on June 7, 1972. Bruce plays an electric keyboard. V2 is one of the master tape recordings purchased by JEC Music USA, registered at the Library Of Congress, but never issued on any of JEC’s associated CD releases 'Prodigal Son', 'Unearthed' or 'Before The Fame'.

THE ANGEL - V1 5:00 uncirculating
THE ANGEL - V2 3:37 US3 / HDT
THE ANGEL - V3 uncirculating
THE ANGEL - V4a 3:26 PS / EY
THE ANGEL - V4b uncirculating
THE ANGEL - V4c 3:23 GREETINGS

Note: Written in early 1972. V1 was recorded by Bob Spitz on a reel-to-reel tape recorder at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY on February 14, 1972, at Bruce's audition for Appel and Cretecos. This recording has never surfaced, and was long ago presumed lost. V2 recorded at Columbia Studio E on May 3, 1972, with John Hammond producing. Track title on tape box for reel 2 mistakenly listed as "Angels". V3 recorded on June 26, at 914 Sound Studios. V4a was cut the next day with a new vocal take. V4b was recorded on June 29, an instrumental track by Richard Davis on upright bass, which was later overdubbed on the finished track. V4c logged on October 26, 1972, overdubbing and final mixing for Greetings.

THE CHOSEN uncirculating

Note: The only uncirculated song from the Greetings sessions, recorded on September 11, 1972. Not much is known, but Springsteen may have referred to the song in an unprinted interview with Paul Nelson, describing it as nine minutes long with a great Clarence solo. Bruce couldn't remember the title, but could recall a single lyric, "Blow the whistle from the mountaintop." Alternative title may be "Let The Words", known from a provisional album sequence that post dates the September 11 session.

THE WORD - V1 3:44 DT / EY / LCD / EDR
THE SONG - V2 - take 1 private cdr

Note: Recorded at Mediasound Studios, New York in May–June, 1972. Historically this has been listed under the title "The Word" or "I Heard The Word". However a perfect sound quality tape of this performance exists in limited collector circles and includes the previously unheard introduction ("The Song, take 1") – indicating the correct title is "The Song". However, "I Heard The Word" can be found on a list of possible album tracks, dated around August 1972.

TWO HEARTS IN TRUE WALTZ TIME - V1 3:31 US3 / HDT / EY / EDR
TWO HEARTS IN TRUE WALTZ TIME - V2 3:38 BTF / MT1 / ATMF / EDR

Note: V1 recorded at CBS Studios, New York, NY on May 3, 1972. Written in April 1972 and performed (tentatively, with a couple of words mumbled) by Bruce as part of the CBS Studio session. V2 recorded at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY on either June 27 or 29, 1972. The 914 Sound Studios version (which features either Garry Tallent or Richard Davis on bass) is stunning. Seriously considered for Greetings, appearing on an August 1972 shortlist.

WAR NURSE 2:05 BTF / UNE / PS / EY / MT1 / EDR

Note: Likely recorded at Jim Cretecos's apartment in New York City in April 1972.

VISITATION AT FORT HORN 7:44 BTF / PS / EY / UNE / VAFH / MPD / AT

Note: "Visitation At Fort Horn" is a solo acoustic number left off the Greetings album, recorded June 27, 1972. This very same recording was later utilized as a publishing demo by Laurel Canyon. Bumped from the Greetings LP to make way for last minute additions "Blinded By The Light" and "Spirit In The Night". Performed by Bruce live at least a couple of times during the August 1972–January 1973 period, although no live audio is circulating. The title song of the bootleg 'American Tune' is actually a bad copy of this track. Where they got the Steel Mill story and January 13, 1970 date is anybody's guess.

Potential Album Sequences or Song Lists

Listed below are two handwritten documents in Springsteen's handwriting that were listed on auction sites in 2012 and 2013. Despite claims by the auctioneer that these documents are setlists, they are more likely to be lists of songs that Springsteen was working on.

Dates from potentially the summer of 1972. "Mother" is a song that is known from circa 1972 rough audio not in circulation. It is not known if the song was ever finished.

note_album_greetings_1972.jpg
Songlist #1
1. Arabian Nights
2. Mary Queen Of Arkansas (crossed out)
3. Southern Sun
4. Growin' Up
5. Jesse
6. Marie
7. The Jazz Musician
8. Street Queen
9. Mother

Possible Greetings-era Songs

The following titles emanate from the April 1972 to February 1973 period. All the titles below are based on information garnered either from completed lyric sheets, partially completed lyric sheets or documents in Springsteen's handwriting containing song titles (but no lyrics). Springsteen often creates song titles first and then attempts to write words and music around it. So the existence of a song title is no assurance that a song was ever created. There is as yet no solid evidence these were completed songs (words and music) and no evidence they were recorded during any of the Greetings From Asbury Park sessions. If they do exist as recordings the may likely be either as work-in-progress home cassette recordings or solo publishing demos from 914 Sound Studios. It's also possible that some of these songs are merely work-in-progress or alternative titles for other tracks that we are more familiar with. Only time will tell what emerges from the vaults. Please also refer to "Rumoured Songs" in the Born To Run and The Wild, The Innocent sessions section, as some of those titles may turn out to be from the Greetings era.

AMERICAN DREAM uncirculating

Note: Included in a list of "other songs" in Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross. Known from a lyric sheet that includes some lines later used in "Two Hearts In True Waltz Time". Cross says the song is filled with urban imagery like 'garbage truck vigilantes'.

ANGELINA uncirculating

Note: Listed in Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross. Contains the first two lines of "Thunder Road", but it's Angelina's dress that sways, not Mary's.

BALBOA V. THE EARTH SLAYER uncirculating

Note: Before the first album was released, he placed a call to the NBC producer in charge of the NFL Super Bowl festivities, suggesting that instead of opening the game with “The Star Spangled Banner,” NBC should use Bruce Springsteen singing an original, antiwar song, “Balboa Vs. The Beast Slayer.” That anyone who lives in the United States could suggest such a thing is astonishing enough. But when he was immediately and understandably turned down, Appel reportedly became enraged. “Someday I’m gonna give you a call and remind you of this,” he told the stunned producer. “Then I’m gonna make another call and you’ll be out of a job.” (So the story goes. Appel admits making the call.

BALLAD OF ELMER THE PEA uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a title found on a list of songs from 1972.

BEFORE THE FLOOD uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a title from a 1972 inventory of songs.

BILLY BOY uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a title from a 1972 inventory of songs.

BLACK NIGHT IN BABYLON uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, "Black Night In Babylon" is a biblical drama complete with Moses and a pillar of fire. Apparently, the lyrics are the first in Springsteen's repertoire to mention "the promised land".

BUSTED uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, "Busted" can be found on a early lyric sheet, about a man 'busted, locked in a jail house'.

CALVIN JONES & THE 13TH APOSTLE uncirculating

Note: Instrumental written by Bruce in 1972.

CASPER uncirculating

Note: Said to be pre-cursor to 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).

DANNY JONES uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a title from a 1972 list of songs.

HIGH NOON uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a title from a 1972 list of songs.

IT'S EASY uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a title from a 1972 list of songs.

IT'S JUST YOU uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a title from a early lyric sheet, also called "It's You".

JENNIFER uncirculating

Note: Written in 1968 or 1969 and performed in concert regularly throughout 1969. According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, possibly recorded for Greetings, but no further evidence has yet emerged. Apparently this is a soft ballad and may well be related to the "Jennifer" known via Laurel Canyon copyright documentation.

LONELY STREET uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, "Lonely Street" precedes the demos with John Hammond, dating it to early 1972 at the latest.

LORRAINE uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a simple love song that dates from around the middle of 1972.

MISSIE uncirculating

Note: Included in a list of Laurel Canyon demos in Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross. He writes that "Missie" is a ballad recorded during a studio session, the only known recording of the song is incomplete.

ON A DAY OF THE COWBOYS uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a title from a 1972 song list. Not related to "Cowboys Of The Sea", that can be found on the same list.

ORLEANS uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a 1972 song about jazz in New Orleans.

PRISONER OF WARS uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, "Prisoner Of Wars" was written with most of the songs from his first album and has references to Hitler and Israel.

SHILO uncirculating

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SHE'S GOT NOTHING YOU NEED uncirculating

Note: From a list of 1972 songs, according to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross.

SHE'S NOT MY WOMAN uncirculating

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SPANISH ROSE uncirculating

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SUMMERTIME IN MY MIND uncirculating

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TAKE ME DOWN uncirculating

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TEN COMMANDMENTS uncirculating

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TEXAS CARNIVAL uncirculating

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WHITE HOUSE uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, written in 1972 and does not refer to the President's home. With Mexican imagery, like a lot of Springsteen's writing at the time.

WISCONSIN uncirculating

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, from a lyric sheet dating from 1972.


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