Bruce Springsteen – Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?

After posting about Blinded By The Light yesterday…I was commenting with jeremyjames (Jeremy in Hong Kong) and he mentioned this song which was on the Greetings From Asbury Park debut album by Bruce Springsteen. I started to listen to this album in the 80s and it has remained one of my favorite albums by Springsteen.

I wrote this about the album last summer and started to listen to the album again Saturday afternoon. This was one of the many songs off the album that I liked at first listen and was surprised that I remembered most of the words to the song right off the bat.

“Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?” is a journey through an enjoyable play of words. It was written about a bus journey to a girlfriend’s house. Here is a sample of a verse

“Wizard imps and sweat sock pimps
Interstellar mongrel nymphs
Rex said that lady left him limp
Love’s like that (sure it is)
Queen of diamonds, ace of spades
Newly discovered lovers of the Everglades
They take out a full-page ad in the trades
To announce their arrival
And Mary Lou, she found out how to cope
She rides to heaven on a gyroscope
The Daily News asks her for the dope
She said, “Man, the dope’s that there’s still hope”

From Songfacts

This song is based on people and places Springsteen met in his early years as a songwriter. His father was a bus driver for a time, which helped inspire the song. 

The barrage of images in the lyrics helped earn Springsteen the tag “The New Dylan,” a comparison he played down. He moved away from the Dylan style by writing less introspective, harder rocking songs on his next album, The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle.

This song started with the lyrics, something Springsteen did from time to time when he started out as a songwriter. Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. was his first album, and it marked a turning point in his songwriting: Instead of keeping the lyrics as simple and repetitive as possible to accommodate the bars he was playing with his bands, he started using elaborate wordplay to tell different stories, often within the same song – something you could do in a recording studio but not in a noisy club. This song makes passing reference to a number of characters but leaves the listener to decide their fates. Just what becomes of Mary Lou, the mongrel nymphs and the lucky, young matador who catches the rose is in the ear of the beholder.

Joan Fontaine pops up in the lyrics for no apparent reason:

Broadway Mary, Joan Fontaine
advertiser on a downtown train

She was an actress who starred in the Alfred Hitchcock movie Rebecca.

Does This Bus Stop At 52nd Street?

Hey bus driver, keep the change
Bless your children, give them names
Don’t trust men who walk with canes
Drink this and you’ll grow wings on your feet
Broadway Mary, Joan Fontaine
Advertiser on a downtown train
Christmas crier bustin’ cane
He’s in love again

Where dock worker’s dreams mix with panther’s schemes
To someday own the rodeo
Tainted women in VistaVision
Perform for out-of-state kids at the late show

Wizard imps and sweat sock pimps
Interstellar mongrel nymphs
Rex said that lady left him limp
Love’s like that (sure it is)
Queen of diamonds, ace of spades
Newly discovered lovers of the Everglades
They take out a full-page ad in the trades
To announce their arrival
And Mary Lou, she found out how to cope
She rides to heaven on a gyroscope
The Daily News asks her for the dope
She said, “Man, the dope’s that there’s still hope”

Senorita, Spanish rose
Wipes her eyes and blows her nose
Uptown in Harlem she throws a rose
To some lucky young matador

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

21 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen – Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?”

    1. It is man. I listened to the album again yesterday and it still works…
      he simplified as he got older and I totally get it but man these were great.

      Like

  1. Bruce was wordy back then.. I like the debut I am not crazy about the second album-.. there is a new book out on Bruce’s songs- what they were written about etc- looks interesting…. off topic Max- your Dodgers are scoring some runs and I saw in the box score that Russell Martin pitched a shutout inning to finish it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here with the second album. I like Rosalita of course but I like the debut better.

      They are really clicking. Bellinger looks like he did two years ago.
      I saw when Russell went to the mound and it was really cool. He is not a flamethrower but a 1 2 3 inning. He had a huge smile afterward.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When I was reading the box scores this morning my first thought was – they have two Russell Martin’s? the way the ball is flying out of Dodger Stadium- did they bring in the fences!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. That was a lot of fun to watch. Martin seems really happy to be back with the club.
        They are flying out…A lot of them were not cheap either….the key player looking healthy is Seager… They have a new batting coach…the one that turned JD Martinez around…You know the best thing about last night? Many of the runs were scored with singles and doubles. Last year it was either walk, strikeout, or homerun.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. He looks like he did before last year…he isn’t tenative anymore. I think he has a high ceiling if he stays healthy…seems like a great person also.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Never heard that song before, it’s not bad but I do like the slightly more mature Springsteen better…from as far back as maybe 78. Can hear Dylan influence on that 1.
    Jays coulda used some pitching like that last year, lol. This year though, so far Blue Jays starters 0 runs allowed in 4 games! 158 to go…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yea man I was either going to do Spirit of the night of this one. There are so many I like off the album.
    Yea he was a different artist later on.

    Man, that was fun watching him pitch. You could tell he was really happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t like the second album as much as this one at all. I like the lyrics on this album. The other albums are tighter because the songs are more streamlined.
      This one and Darkness do sound like different artists.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the jump to simplicity was mainly between Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town – musically at least. The early albums have complex chord changes and big suites like Jungleland and Lost in the Flood, he was much into shorter, three chord songs after that.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I agree with that… I see sort of the same thing with Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde to John Wesley Harding…The stream of conscious to a more tight structure.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a wonderful track, and I am perplexed why I can’t recall it. I was a big follower of him too in the early days but probably more so of the The Wild, The innocent album. Man did I wear that album out. Thanks for the heads-up about this awesome early Springsteen track. I now have it in my library.

    Like

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