|Song by Bruce Springsteen|
|from the album Born to Run|
|Released||August 25, 1975|
|Recorded||July 16, 1975 (completed)|
|Studio||The Record Plant, New York City|
"Thunder Road" is a 1975 song written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen, that became the opening track on his breakthrough album Born to Run . One of the artist's most popular songs, while never released as a single, "Thunder Road" is ranked as one of Springsteen's greatest songs and one of the top rock songs in history. It is No. 111 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, and also the 103rd best ranked song on critics' all-time lists according to Acclaimed Music.
"Thunder Road" was written by Springsteen while at his living room piano in Long Branch, New Jersey.In October 1974, it existed as a solo recording, "Chrissie's Song", that included the line, "leave what you've lost, leave what's grown cold, Thunder Road". By early 1975, Springsteen had combined lyrics from another composition, "Walking in the Street", forming a new song, "Wings for Wheels", which he debuted on February 5, 1975, at a benefit for a local club, The Main Point, radio broadcast in the Philadelphia area, and featuring four yet-to-be-released Born to Run songs. Still unsatisfied, he finished dismantling "Walking in the Street", by importing its main coda into "Wings for Wheels" as the instrumental ending, now calling it "Thunder Road". Springsteen stated at a 1978 concert that the name of his song had been inspired by seeing a poster of the 1958 Robert Mitchum film Thunder Road , though he did not see it.
On April 13, 1975, music critic and record producer Jon Landau officially joined the album's production team, marking the start of a life-long professional relationship.At Landau's suggestion, production was moved from 914 Sound Studios to Record Plant studios in Manhattan. When sessions began on April 18, Jimmy Iovine, fresh from recording John Lennon's "Walls and Bridges", replaced Louis Lahav (who returned to Israel in March) as engineer. Bruce later describes as a "brilliant imposter" and a "young studio dog with fastest learning curve I've ever seen". After three intensive days (April 18, 19 and 23) working on "Thunder Road", nothing further was noted in studio logs until July 15–16, when final overdubs and mixing were done.
In his autobiography, Bruce Springsteen says he loosely envisioned Born to Run as a series of vignettes, following its character throughout the day, with "Thunder Road" serving as an "invitation" to the album and opening with a harmonica that suggests the beginning of a "new day".Springsteen also describes Landau as an "astute arranger and editor" who "guarded against overplaying and guided our record toward a more streamlined sound". Speaking to author Brian Hiatt about "Thunder Road" in 2005, Landau states it "was fantastic, but it was a little unwieldy, a little unfocused, a little more like a jam piece. … I remember talking with Bruce about a few ideas about how to just reshuffle the deck a little bit, and keep the song building from the very beginning right through the end."
The lyrics to "Thunder Road" describe a young woman named Mary, her boyfriend, and their "one last chance to make it real". Musically, the song opens with a quiet piano (Roy Bittan) and harmonica (Springsteen) introduction, meant, as Springsteen said years later in the Wings for Wheels documentary, as a signifier that something was about to happen.[ citation needed ] The title phrase is not used until the middle section of the song. After the closing line, there is a tenor saxophone and Fender Rhodes duet played by Clarence Clemons and Bittan in the instrumental coda.[ citation needed ]
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" (1960), was a huge influence on Springsteen.
On July 17, 2021, after 46 years, Jon Landau, Springsteen's longtime manager and co-producer of Born to Run, said the line "Mary's dress waves" was corrected to read "Mary's dress sways" on brucespringsteen.net. It was referred to as a "typo".
During Springsteen's writing of the lyrics to "Thunder Road", instead of "skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets", he had written, "skeletons found by exhumed shallow graves". Max Weinberg convinced Springsteen to move away from the darker lyrics and stay consistent with the blue collar spirit of the album.
In 2004, it was ranked No. 1 on the list of the "885 All-Time Greatest Songs" compiled by WXPN (the University of Pennsylvania's public radio station). 's "You ain't a beauty, but hey, you're alright." The song is featured in the book 31 Songs by British author Nick Hornby.The song came in at No. 226 in Q magazine's list of the "1001 Greatest Songs Ever" in 2003, in which they described the song as "best for pleading on the porch". Julia Roberts, when asked which song lyric described her most accurately, chose "Thunder Road"
It is ranked No. 111 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. It is also ranked number 3 on the magazine's list of his best songs. According to Acclaimed Music, it is the 103rd most celebrated song in popular music history.
It reached No. 5 as its highest position on radio airplay in France.
During the 1974 to 1977 Born to Run tours, "Thunder Road" was always played by Springsteen accompanied only by Roy Bittan's piano and Danny Federici's glockenspiel, an example of which is found on Hammersmith Odeon London '75 . Not until later in the tour did "Thunder Road" make full-band appearances. In the 1978 tour "Thunder Road" usually opened with Springsteen telling a story as to why he wrote the song, and it might segue out of some other more dirge-like song such as "Racing in the Street".[ citation needed ]
In concerts during the 1980s, the coda of the song was stretched out to showcase E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons. Clemons and Springsteen would charge at each other from opposite ends of the stage, with Springsteen sliding into Clemons in an embrace.[ citation needed ]
The early 1990s "Other Band" Tour performed the song on acoustic guitar with an organ in the background; this arrangement is documented on the 1993 concert video and album In Concert/MTV Plugged .[ citation needed ]
The song then disappeared from Springsteen concerts until emerging again in 1999 in the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Reunion Tour, where it was played at a significantly slower tempo than the studio version while Springsteen pointed to people he knew or to women in the front rows. An example of such a performance can be found in the 2001 release Live in New York City . Although played fairly regularly on The Rising Tour as on Live in Barcelona , the song then rarely appeared on the Devils & Dust Tour, this time on piano. The song was not performed during the Sessions Band Tour; it reappeared on 2007–2008 Magic Tour and continued to be played regularly on the 2009 Working on a Dream Tour.[ citation needed ]
On June 14, 2008, on stage at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Springsteen dedicated a performance of the song to political broadcast analyst Tim Russert, a longtime Springsteen fan who had died the previous day. On June 18, 2008, Springsteen performed the song, with acoustic guitar, for a Russert memorial event in Washington DC via tape-delayed satellite.
On November 7, 2016, Springsteen performed the song at a Hillary Clinton presidential election rally in Philadelphia.
In 2016 a fan made a video compilation of Springsteen performing "Thunder Road" over 41 years. The video illustrates how Springsteen's performance of the song has changed over the years.
According to authors Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon:
"Thunder Road" is a classic rock staple and has been covered by artists such as Eric Church, Melissa Etheridge, Cowboy Junkies, Badly Drawn Boy, Brazilian singer Renato Russo, Frank Turner, Tori Amos, Brian Vander Ark (Live at Eddie's Attic), Kevin Rowland, Nate Ruess during his Grand Romantic world tour, Matt Nathanson, Mary Lou Lord and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy with Tortoise. (Tortoise's version is interpreted in minor key.) Adam Duritz of Counting Crows often sings large portions of the lyrics to "Thunder Road" in the middle of their song "Rain King".[ citation needed ]
Michael Chabon referenced "Thunder Road" in his 1988 novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. "We were discussing Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen. I said that it was the most Roman Catholic record album ever made. 'Look what you've got,' I said. 'You've got Mary dancing like a vision across the porch while the radio plays...."
In a 2010 interview, Stephen Merchant stated that the script for the film Cemetery Junction was loosely based upon the lyrics of "Thunder Road".
In 2011, a limited, signed, letterpressed , handbound chapbook with the lyrics of "Thunder Road" along with Nick Hornby's essay on the song was released. (26 copies were signed by both, Bruce Springsteen and Nick Hornby, 200 copies were signed by Hornby only.)
In 2016, actor, writer and director Jim Cummings released a comedy/drama film called Thunder Road, which includes an extensive scene depicting Cummings dressed as a policeman at his mother's funeral singing along to "Thunder Road", playing on his daughter's pink boombox. It won the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
Sometime after the release of Born to Run, Springsteen wrote a follow-up to "Thunder Road" called "The Promise", which explicitly mentions the first song by name but reveals a far more pessimistic outlook on the narrator's life and future. [ citation needed ]Unreleased for years, "The Promise" gained considerable legend for its 1978 Tour performances; it finally materialized in a re-recorded version on 1999's 18 Tracks , before appearing on its namesake album The Promise , released in 2010.
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000|
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen is an American singer and songwriter. He has released 21 studio albums, most of which feature his backing band, the E Street Band. Originally from the Jersey Shore, he is an originator of heartland rock, combining mainstream rock musical styles with narrative songs about working class American life. Nicknamed "the Boss", his career has spanned six decades. Springsteen is known for his poetic, socially conscious lyrics and energetic stage performances, sometimes lasting up to four hours.
"Rosalita " is a 1973 song by Bruce Springsteen, from his The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle album, and is especially famed as a concert number for Springsteen and The E Street Band. The song, which clocks in at just over seven minutes, is a story of forbidden love between the singer and the titular Rosalita, whose parents disapprove of his life in a rock and roll band. It is included on the compilation albums The Essential Bruce Springsteen and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Greatest Hits. In 2021, Rolling Stone ranked it the 446th greatest song of all time on their updated 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.
Darkness on the Edge of Town is the fourth studio album by American rock singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, released on June 2, 1978, by Columbia Records. The album marked the end of a three-year gap between albums brought on by contractual obligations and legal battling with former manager Mike Appel.
Born to Run is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, released on August 25, 1975, by Columbia Records. As his effort to break into the mainstream, the album was a commercial success, peaking at number three on the Billboard 200 and eventually selling seven million copies in the United States. Two singles were released from the album: "Born to Run" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"; the first helped Springsteen to reach mainstream popularity. The tracks "Thunder Road", "She's the One", and "Jungleland" became staples of album-oriented rock radio and Springsteen concert high points.
The River is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was released on October 17, 1980, by Columbia Records. Springsteen's only double album, The River was produced by Jon Landau, Springsteen, and bandmate Steven Van Zandt. The album was Springsteen's first to go number one on the Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart and spent four weeks at the top of the charts. "The River" was nominated for Best Rock Vocal Performance at the 1982 Grammy Awards.
"Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" is the second song on Bruce Springsteen's breakthrough album Born to Run, released in 1975.
The E Street Band is an American rock band, and has been musician Bruce Springsteen's primary backing band since 1972. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. For the bulk of Springsteen's recording and performing career, the band consisted of: guitarists Steven Van Zandt, Nils Lofgren, and Patti Scialfa, keyboardists Danny Federici and Roy Bittan, bassist Garry Tallent, drummer Max Weinberg, and saxophonist Clarence Clemons.
"Jungleland" is the closing song on Bruce Springsteen's 1975 album Born to Run. It contains one of E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons' most recognizable solos. It also features short-time E Streeter Suki Lahav, who performs the delicate 23-note violin introduction to the song, accompanied by Roy Bittan on piano in the opening.
"I'm Goin' Down" is a rock song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was released on August 27, 1985 by Columbia Records as the sixth single from his 1984 album Born in the U.S.A. The song was recorded with the E Street Band in May 1982 at the Power Station music studio, and co-produced by Springsteen, Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, and Steve Van Zandt. Although Springsteen had changing ideas about the songs to put on the album, "I'm Goin' Down" was ultimately selected for inclusion.
"Badlands" is the lead track on Bruce Springsteen's fourth studio album Darkness on the Edge of Town, and its second single.
"She's the One" is a song by Bruce Springsteen. Frequently featured in Springsteen and E Street Band concert performances, it first appeared on the Born to Run album in 1975. It was also released as the B-side to Springsteen's "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" single.
"Backstreets" is a song by Bruce Springsteen from the album Born to Run, which was released in 1975. In the original vinyl release, it concludes side one of the record.
"Bobby Jean" is a song written and performed by Bruce Springsteen, from his 1984 album Born in the U.S.A. Although not released as a single, it reached number 36 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
"Darlington County" is a 1984 song written and performed by Bruce Springsteen. It was released on the album Born in the U.S.A. and has remained a popular concert song for Springsteen and the E Street Band.
"The River" is a song written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen, accompanied by the E Street Band, in 1979. The title track of his fifth album, it was a hit single in parts of Europe in 1981; it reached No. 25 in the Netherlands, and the top 10 in both Sweden and Norway. Its B-side was either "Independence Day" or "Ramrod", depending on the country of release.
"Out in the Street" is a song written and performed by Bruce Springsteen from the 1980 album The River. It was recorded at The Power Station in New York between March and May 1980, as one of the last songs recorded for the album. Originally, Springsteen was going to keep the song off the album because it was so idealistic.
"Cadillac Ranch" is a song written by Bruce Springsteen that was first released on Springsteen's 1980 album The River. In 1981 it was released as a single in Europe, backed by "Be True" in France and by "Wreck on the Highway" in the UK. Although it was not released as a single in the US, it did reach #48 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. A favorite in concert, a live version was included on Live/1975–85. A version was also included on the documentary film Blood Brothers.
The Agora, Cleveland 1978 is a live album by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, released in December 2014 and was the second official release through the Bruce Springsteen Archives. The concert is available on CD-R and digital download at http://live.brucespringsteen.net.
Palace Theatre, Albany 1977 is a live album by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, released in August 2017. It is the fifteenth such release by the Bruce Springsteen Archives. The show was recorded on February 7, 1977 at the Palace Theatre in Albany, NY and is the first-ever soundboard recording to surface from the 1977 tour which features early renditions of “Something In The Night,” “Rendezvous” and “The Promise” along with the unreleased original “Action In The Streets” featuring the Miami Horns.
Auditorium Theatre, Rochester, NY 1977 is a live album by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, released in August 2017. It is the sixteenth such release by the Bruce Springsteen Archives. The show was recorded on February 8, 1977 at the Auditorium Theatre in Rochester, NY and is one of the first soundboard recordings to surface from the 1977 tour which features early renditions of "Something in the Night", "Rendezvous" and "The Promise" along with the unreleased original "Action in the Streets" featuring the Miami Horns.