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Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen

Thunder Road

Born to Run
rock classic rock Bruce Springsteen 70s singer-songwriter


"Thunder Road" is a song written and performed by Bruce Springsteen, and the opening track on his 1975 breakthrough album Born to Run. It is ranked as one of Springsteen's greatest songs, and often appears on lists of the top rock songs of all time. The lyrics to "Thunder Road" describe a young woman named Mary, her boyfriend, their hopeless lives and their "one last chance to make it real." Thematically, it reads as a nostalgic companion piece to "Born to Run". Musically, the song opens with a quiet piano and harmonica introduction, meant, as Springsteen said years later in the Wings For Wheels documentary, as a welcoming to both the track and the album, a signifier that something was about to happen. Eschewing a traditional verse-and-chorus structure, the song's arrangement gradually ramps up in instrumentation, tempo and intensity. The title phrase is not used until the middle section of the song, and then is not used again. Finally, after the closing line there is a saxophone-and-piano duet in the instrumental coda. In this song, Springsteen mentions Roy Orbison "singing for the lonely" on the radio. Orbison, one of whose best-known songs is "Only the Lonely," was a huge influence on Springsteen. The song's title comes from the Robert Mitchum film Thunder Road. Springsteen declared that he was somehow inspired from the movie even if, as he says, "I never saw the movie, I only saw the poster in the lobby of the theater." "Thunder Road" is a classic rock staple, and has been covered by artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Cowboy Junkies, Badly Drawn Boy, brazilian singer Renato Russo, Mary Lou Lord[7], Bonnie 'Prince' Billy with Tortoise[8] and Frank Turner. Adam Duritz of Counting Crows often sings large portions of the lyrics to "Thunder Road" in the middle of their song "Rain King." Badly Drawn Boy also ends his album Born in the UK with the line "if we still don't have a plan, we'll listen to 'Thunder Road'". In the movie Explorers starring River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke, the name of the space vessel they create out of a Tilt-A-Whirl is "Thunder Road". In an episode of King of Queens, Doug is seen playing a harmonica and then asking Spence if it "sounded anything like Thunder Road". In the video game Rock Band 2, a clothing item from the Rock Shop that you can purchase is called Thunder Road. In reference to the song's lyrics, the item description reads, "You got a guitar. You learned to make it talk. Slip on this jacket if you're ready for the long walk." In the novel High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, the protagonist Rob Fleming ranks "Thunder Road" as one of his five best side one tracks.


Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949 in Freehold, New Jersey, United States) is an American songwriter, singer, and guitarist. With a recording career stretching back to 1966 that continues to this day, he's recorded multiple award-winning studio albums and toured constantly, inspiring generations of pop and rock musicians. He's often known as "The Boss". He has frequently played as Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. Most widely known for his brand of heartland rock infused with pop hooks Show more ...

Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen

The screen door slams
Mary’s dress sways
Like a vision, she dances across the porch
As the radio plays

Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey, that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone, again

Don't run back inside
Darlin’ you know just what I’m here for
So, you're scared and you're thinkin’
That maybe we ain’t that young anymore

Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain’t a beauty, but, hey, you're alright
Oh, and that's alright with me

You can hide 'neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain

Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets

Well, now I’m no hero
That's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood

With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey, what else can we do now?

Except, roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair
Well, the night’s bustin’ open
These two lanes will take us anywhere


We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back
Heaven’s waiting down on the tracks

Oh-oh, come take my hand
We’re riding out tonight to case the Promised Land
Oh-oh-oh, thunder road, oh, thunder road, oh, thunder road

Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey, I know it's late, we can make it if we run
Oh-oh-oh, thunder road, stay tight, take hold
Thunder road

Well, I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk
And my car’s out back
If you're ready to take that long walk

From your front porch to my front seat
The door’s open, but the ride it ain’t free
And I know you're lonely
For words that I ain’t spoken
Tonight, we’ll be free
All the promises will be broken

There were ghosts in the eyes
Of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road
In the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets

They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines, roaring on
But, when you get to the porch they're gone

On the wind
So, Mary climb in
It’s a town full of losers
I’m pulling out of here to win



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