The Wild The Innocent & E St. Shuffle
Released on November 5, 1973
01. E Street Shuffle
02. 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
03. Kitty's Back
04. Wild Billy's Circus Story
05. Incident On 57th Street
06. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
07. New York City Serenade
With the first Springsteen album selling only to Bruce's immediate friends and
family, 'Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ' sold an estimated 25,000 copies in
its first 12 months. Columbia pushed Springsteen and the Band on tour in an
attempt to drum up interest. In 1973 and 1974, Springsteen played many shows
as an opening act. But gigs opening for Bob Marley, Chicago, Chuck Berry,
Bonnie Raitt, and Dr. John didn't help album sales.
Springsteen said in 1982, "On the second album, I started slowly to find out who I was and where I wanted to be. It was like coming out of the shadows of various influences and trying to be yourself."
The second Springsteen album received favorable reviews, but sales were still stagnant. Ken Emerson wrote in Rolling Stone, "'Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ' . . . was like 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' played at 78 RPM, a typical five-minute track busting with more words than this review. . . 'The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle' takes itself more seriously. The songs are longer, more ambitious, and more romantic; and yet, wonderfully, they lose little of the debut album's rollicking rush. Having released two fine albums in less than a year, Springsteen is obviously a considerable new talent."
Despite the poor sales, Springsteen was growing in confidence. His live show following was increasing all the time and Bruce was tuning his songwriting skills. But Springsteen still needed that killer album to consolidate his fierce live reputation. 'The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle' wasn't it, but it was a step in the right direction. The album was very much a transitional work - Springsteen having got the clumsiness out of his system on his debut album.
Only seven songs made it onto this album. Many others were discarded until they showed up later on the 'Tracks' box set. 'Thundercrack', 'Hey Santa Anna', 'Zero & Blind Terry', 'Seaside Bar Song' and 'The Fever' were finally made public in late 1998. Others, such as 'Angels' Blues', 'Calvin Jones & The 13th Apostle', 'Casper', and 'Ballad of the Self-Loading Pistol' remain in the vaults and on a few obscure bootleg recordings.
'Sandy . . .' is considered by many to be Springsteen's first truly great song. An atmospheric tale of life and love under the boardwalk in NJ. 'Incident on 57th Street' was a bona-fide rock'n'roll classic marked by its slow, stately progress. Springsteen sings as if he knows these characters - a 'West Side Story' reworked for the rock'n'roll era. Of course, we also get 'Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)' - Springsteen's well known, live show-stopper that still hits you in all the right places.
Finally, in mid-1974, a chance encounter with a journalist named Jon Landau put everything in place for Springsteen's future. Jon was so impressed with Springsteen's live show that he wrote in Boston's 'Real Paper', "I saw rock'n'roll's future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen". Landau later became a permanent member of the Springsteen camp and co-produced all but one of the rest of Springsteen's albums and became his manager after a long legal battle.