Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ - Studio Sessions


flickr:39420105765
Commercially Released: January 5, 1973
Produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos
Recorded June-October 1972 at 914 Sound Studios (Blauvelt, NY)
Recording Engineer: Louis Lahav

Overview

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 ok from Appel-Cretecos) constituted the entire line-up of the former 'Bruce Springsteen Band' - David Sancious, Gary Tallent, Vini Lopez and Steve Van Zandt (Steve 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 band 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 for until early January.

1. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT 5:03 GREETINGS
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
8. SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT 4:57 GREETINGS
9. IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY 3:11 GREETINGS

Additional Recordings

In addition to what was released on the official Greetings album, Springsteen recorded other songs (most in solo mode) at 914 Sound Studios during the Greetings sessions. Some of these recordings were later utilized as copyright/publishing demos – and therefore can be categorized as both Greetings session outtakes and publishing demos. It is difficult to distinguish in every case between the Greetings album session solo outtakes recorded at 914 Sound Studios and some demo recordings made slightly earlier at other locations. Please refer to the On The Tracks section under “Demo” for a detailed listing of all known demo recordings and the best available information as to the timing and location of when/where these recordings emanate.

ARABIAN NIGHTS Circulating
VISITATION AT FORT HORN Circulating
JAZZ MUSICIAN Circulating
LADY AND THE DOCTOR Circulating
COWBOYS OF THE SEA Circulating
TWO HEARTS IN TRUE WALTZ TIME Circulating
STREET QUEEN Circulating
THE CHOSEN Uncirculating

Details

THE ANGEL - V1 3:37 U3 / HDT
THE ANGEL - V2a uncirculating
THE ANGEL - V2b 3:26 PS / EY
THE ANGEL - V2c 3:23 GREETINGS

Note: V1 recorded at CBS Studios on May 3, 1972. V2 recorded June 26-27 and 29, 1972 at 914 Sound Studios. V2a is just acoustic guitar and vocals. Near the end of the sessions Bruce had Richard Davis overdub upright bass onto the track - this overdub was recorded October 26, 1972. V2b and V2c (both which contain the bass) are the same recording (i.e. same instrumentation and vocal). V2b is allegedly a different mix than V2c but the difference, if there is one, is not perceptible. Running time variation is at fade out.

MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS - V1 1:15 HDT
MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS - V2 4:18 TRACKS / U3 / HDT
MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS - V3a uncirculating
MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS - V3b 5:19 GREETINGS

Note: V1 and V2 were both recorded at CBS Studios on May 3, 1972. V1 was Bruce's first attempt, followed by V2, which was a complete take and has been officially issued on Tracks. Both V3a and V3b are the same basic recording from June 26-27, 1972 at 914 Sound Studios, with a harmonica overdub added later on V3b.

DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET? - V1 1:55 TRACKS / U3 / HDT
DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET? - V2a 2:05 PS / EY
DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET? - V2b 2:04 GREETINGS

Note: V1 was recorded at CBS Studios on May 3, 1972 and officially issued on Tracks. V2a and V2b are the same recording (i.e. same instrumentation and vocal). V2a is allegedly a different mix but the difference, if there is one, is not perceptible. Running time variation is only at fade out. Recorded at 914 Sound on June 26-27 and July 12, 1972.

GROWIN' UP - V1 2:35 TRACKS / U3 / HDT
GROWIN' UP - V2a 3:08 PS / EY
GROWIN' UP - V2b 3:05 GREETINGS
GROWIN' UP - V3 uncirculating

Note: V1 was recorded at CBS Studios on May 3, 1972 and officially issued on Tracks. V2a and V2b are the same core recording (i.e. same instrumentation and vocal), cut on June 27, 1972. V2a is allegedly a different mix but the difference, if there is one, is not perceptible. Running time variation is only at fade out. V3 was recorded at the first session on June 7, almost certainly in its solo acoustic guise. This recording does not circulate.

IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY - V1 2:48 U3 / HDT / TRACKS
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY - V2 2:38 U4
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY - V3a 3:16 DDITV
IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY - V3b 3:11 GREETINGS

Note: V1 recorded at CBS Studios on May 3, 1972 and officially issued on Tracks. V2 likely recorded at Pocketful Of Tunes Studios, New York, NY in May-June, 1972. V3a and V3b are the same core recording (i.e. the same instrumental and vocal take). The only difference is that Bruce’s vocal on V1b is faded out several seconds earlier than in V1a, which reveals that there were a few “street rapping” words spoken by Bruce that were cut from the officially released version. Recorded June 26-27, 1972 with overdubs/mixing work undertaken on October 26.

FOR YOU - V1a 4:43 PS / EY
FOR YOU - V1b 4:40 GREETINGS

Note: Recorded June 27, 1972 at 914. Some overdubs may have been recorded at the final session of October 26, 1972. V1a and V1b are the same core recording (i.e. same instrumentation and vocal). V1a is allegedly a different mix but the difference, if there is one, is not perceptible. Running time variation is at fade out.

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

Note: Both V1a and V1b are the same core recording from June 27, 1972. V1b contains sound effects (courtesy of Steve Van Zandt) that were added on late in the sessions. V1a does not include the dubbed sound effects.

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT - V1a 5:03 GREETINGS
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT - V1b 3:58 original USA 7” single

Note: The band lineup for this track was Springsteen-Clemons-Lopez, plus sessionman Harold Wheeler on piano. Both V1a and V1b are the same recording (from September 11, 1972), however V1b has been edited, with an entire verse removed. The lyrics on the back of the rare 7” picture sleeve are also missing this edited verse. A stereo fold down mono version is available as the b-side of the white label promo 45.

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT 4:57 GREETINGS

Note: The band lineup for this track was Springsteen, Clemons and Lopez, with Bruce playing multiple instruments. Sessionman Harold Wheeler provided additional piano. A stereo fold down mono version is available as the b-side of the white label promo 45.

ARABIAN NIGHTS - V1 5:25 U1 / ESRR
ARABIAN NIGHTS - V2 5:05 U3
ARABIAN NIGHTS - V3 5:54 BTF / UNE / PS / EY
ARABIAN NIGHTS - V4 4:57 BTF / PS / EY / UNE / DT
ARABIAN NIGHTS - V5 uncirculating

Note: V1 was probably recorded at Mike Appel’s office, New York in April 1972. V2 was recorded at the John Hammond audition at CBS Studios on May 3, 1972. V3 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. V4 is from a downstream source and of weaker sound quality. Springsteen returned to the song on June 27 and may have recorded a full band take (V5), which remains uncirculated.

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

Note: Solo acoustic number left off the 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.

JAZZ MUSICIAN - V1 4:55 HDT
JAZZ MUSICIAN - V2 5:39 HDT / U3
JAZZ MUSICIAN - V3 6:03 U4
JAZZ MUSICIAN - V4 6:08 BTF / UNE / PS / EY

Note: V1 and V2 were both recorded at CBS Studios on May 3, 1972. V3 was recorded at Mediasound Studios in May-June. V4, on the other hand, is from 914 Sound Studios on June 27, 1972. All four versions are solo-piano takes and each version is a slight improvement on its predecessor. However the V3 and V4 takes are remarkably similar in studio ambience and delivery – extremely difficult to tell apart. 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 another, yet-to-circulate take. V4 was later utilized as a publishing demo by Laurel Canyon.

LADY AND THE DOCTOR - V1 3:22 U4
LADY AND THE DOCTOR - V2 4:12 BTF / UNE / PS / EY
LADY AND THE DOCTOR - V3 uncirculating

Note: 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. Springsteen returned to the song on June 27 and may have recorded a full band take (V3), which remains uncirculated.

TWO HEARTS IN TRUE WALTZ TIME - V1 3:31 U3 / HDT / EY
TWO HEARTS IN TRUE WALTZ TIME - V2 3:40 BTF / MT1

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 June 27 and 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 short-list.

COWBOYS OF THE SEA - V1 4:38 U3 / HDT / FOFC
COWBOYS OF THE SEA - V2 4:15 DT
COWBOYS OF THE SEA - V3 4:13 BTF / U4 / EY

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 CBS Studios on May 3, 1972. V2 recorded at Pocketful Of Tunes Studios in May-June, 1972. V3 is a solo acoustic number left off the Greetings album, recorded June 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.

STREET QUEEN - V1 3:49 U3 / HDT
STREET QUEEN - V2 3:52 DT / MT1 / EY

Note: V1 recorded at CBS Studios, New York, NY on May 3, 1972. Bruce on piano. V2 is from the first Greetings session at 914 Sound Studios on June 7, 1972. Bruce plays an electric keyboard on V2. V2 is one of the master tape recordings 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 - Before The Fame).

THE CHOSEN uncirculating

Note: The only uncirculated song from the Greetings sessions. Recorded at the penultimate session of 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', which does not fit any known song from the period. Alternative title may be "Let The Words", known from a provisional album sequence that post dates the September 11 session.

Possible GFAPNJ-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 WIESS sessions section, as some of those titles may turn out to be from the Greetings era.

  • AMERICAN DREAM
  • ANGELINA
  • BALBOA VS. THE EARTH SLAYER
  • BALLAD OF ELMER THE PEA
  • BEFORE THE FLOOD
  • BILLY BOY
  • BLACK NIGHT IN BABYLON
  • BUSTED
  • CALVIN JONES AND THE 13TH APOSTLE
  • CASPER
  • CIRCUS TOWN
  • DANNY JONES
  • DOWN TO THE RIVERSIDE
  • HIGH NOON
  • IT'S EASY
  • IT'S JUST YOU
  • LET THE WORDS
  • LONELY STREET
  • LORRAINE
  • MISSIE
  • ON A DAY OF THE COWBOYS
  • ORLEANS
  • PRISONER OF WARS
  • SHILO
  • SHE'S GOT NOTHING YOU NEED
  • SHE'S NOT MY WOMAN
  • SPANISH ROSE
  • SUMMERTIME IN MY MIND
  • TAKE ME DOWN
  • TEN COMMANDMENTS
  • TEXAS CARNIVAL
  • WHITE HOUSE
  • WISCONSIN

Disclaimer | © 1996 - 2019 | Brucebase

icon_facebook.png icon_twitter.png icon_flickr.png icon_youtube.png icon_google_plus.png
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License