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