On Jan. 5, 1973, Bruce Springsteen released his first album "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J." and little did we know "it wasn't too early for dreamin'."
When the lyrically jam-packed record entered a market that wanted a new Dylan, it received mixed reviews and sold just 25,000 copies in its first year. It wasn't until more than two years later — in 1975. after the release of Springsteen's third album "Born To Run," — that the album even registered on the Billboard charts. When "Born To Run" caught everyone's attention, new-found fans went out and bought Springsteen's first two albums by the droves.
So most of us came to listen to "Greetings" after we'd already fallen in love with an older Springsteen who was now a very confident and practiced performer, songwriter and rocker. Already having us at "Hello," "Greetings" was a surprise, one even his peers at the time wondered about when it came out. Many of his bandmates remarked about how it was so much lighter, a lot softer than anything they'd been playing with him live for years.
Hearing it several years after its release, most of us remember finally realizing that Manfred Mann's hit "Blinded by the Light" was actually written by Springsteen; and that Bruce would find a way to rhyme any word with another. It wasn't easy to sing along with the songs, but all those characters with their stories told in just a few-words of description became seared in our memories, still alive as ever four decades later. Crazy Janey, Hazy Davy, The Angel, Broadway Mary, The Ragamuffin 'Gunner Man," The Sages of the Subway, Killer Joe, Madman Drummers Bummers and Indians in the Summer. Happy 40th, you Spirits in the Night.