Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, "Does This Bus Stop At 82nd St?" (1973)

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A young Bruce flashes a lot of exuberance in a rambling, upbeat dedication to New York City. Reported points of interest on the song include Bruce’s dad working as a bus driver and Bruce taking a bus trip from Freehold to Manhattan to visit a girlfriend. True meaning(s) aside, I was always drawn the imagery presented in “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd St?” because of it’s Beat Generation-like use of free association. In between “Hey bus driver keep the change” and “Uptown in Harlem she throw a rose to some lucky, young matador” we see dock workers and billboards, newspaper headlines and celebrities. The images might be kind of non-specific but they on come rapid-fire, imparting an indirect energy to the trip being taken. I can kind of see where people got that “new Dylan” thing from songs like this (John Hammond included), but a few minutes of live listening would make it pretty obvious that Bruce was going for something else.

A lot of ground is covered in a little over two minutes, that last line being put into sharp relief with an abrupt tempo drop and piano trio accompaniment. You can almost see that rose tumbling slowly through the air.


Next up: Lost In The Flood

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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