|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|
|Born to Run track listing|
"Thunder Road" is a song written and performed by Bruce Springsteen, and is the opening track on his 1975 breakthrough album Born to Run . 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 one of his most popular songs, and it is on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. It is also the 92nd best ranked song on critics' all-time lists according to Acclaimed Music.
"Thunder Road" was written by Springsteen while at his living room piano. [ citation needed ] Between November 1974 and January 1975, Springsteen took "Chrissie's Song" and lyrics from another composition, "Walking in the Street", and combined them into a new song he recorded in February 1975.[ citation needed ] From "Walking in the Street" he took the lines "they case the promised land" and "Oh baby I can't lay the stars at your feet, but I think we could take it all, just you and me, Oh come on and see there's a lot of room, For you baby in this front seat". This recording of "Walking in the Street" was later lost.[ citation needed ]The song started out in 1972 as "Angelina", then reappeared as "Chrissie's Song" during a solo recording in October 1974 at 914 Sound Studios, including the line, "leave what you've lost, leave what's grown cold, Thunder Road".
"There were two outtakes from Born to Run: 'Linda Let Me Be the One' is one track, and there was another one called 'Walking in the Street' which I would have liked to have put on, but I couldn't find the master. We searched and searched. It might have been simply recorded over, because in those days, if something wasn't going to make it, you're going to need that tape so you recorded something else over the top." - B. Springsteen, MOJO Magazine interview 1999.
In 1975, music critic and record producer Jon Landau joined the album's production team, marking the start of a life-long professional relationship.A close friend of Springsteen, who describes his relationship with Landau as one having an "instant chemical connection" , Springsteen trusts Landau to make the steps necessary to get the production through its "midflight stall". At Landau's suggestion they moved production from 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, New York to the Record Plant recording studio in Manhattan and replaced engineer Louis Lahav with Jimmy Iovine, who Bruce later describes as a "brilliant imposter" and a "young studio dog with fastest learning curve I've ever seen".
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 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 the movie itself.
In his autobiography Born to Run, Springsteen 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."
Joining Landau were musicians Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg, who would go on to form the core of the E Street Band and work with Springsteen for the next forty years.
Speaking with author Brian Hiatt, Bittan describes the song's instrumental coda as a collaboration with Springsteen: "it seemed like it needed something. So I said, 'well, what if we do a little instrumental?' I'd play a little something, and then Bruce would play something, so it kind of came about in a very beautiful way."
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.[ citation needed ]
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.
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).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"'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.
It is ranked No. 86 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 92nd most celebrated song in popular music.
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 females 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 suddenly 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.
"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 ]
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.
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen is an American singer, songwriter, and musician who is both a solo artist and the leader of the E Street Band. A native of the Jersey Shore, he received critical acclaim for his early 1970s albums and attained worldwide fame upon the release of Born to Run in 1975. During a career that has spanned five decades, Springsteen has become known for his poetic and socially conscious lyrics and lengthy, energetic stage performances. He has been given the nickname "The Boss". He has recorded both rock albums and folk-oriented works, and his lyrics often address the experiences and struggles of working-class Americans.
Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. is the debut studio album by Bruce Springsteen. It was produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos from June through October 1972 at the budget-priced 914 Sound Studios. The album was released January 5, 1973, by Columbia Records to average sales but positive critical reviews.
Darkness on the Edge of Town is the fourth studio album by Bruce Springsteen, released on June 2, 1978. 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. 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 six 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.
Clarence Anicholas Clemons Jr., also known as The Big Man, was an American musician and actor. From 1972 until his death in 2011, he was the saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.
"Born to Run" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, and the title song of his album Born to Run. Upon its release, music critic Robert Christgau took note of its wall of sound influence and called it "the fulfillment of everything 'Be My Baby' was about and lots more".
"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.
"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.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Darkness Tour was a concert tour of North America that ran from May 1978 through the rest of the year, in conjunction with the release of Springsteen's album Darkness on the Edge of Town.
The 1975 album Born to Run was Bruce Springsteen's last, best hope for fortune and fame. As such it became a torturous recording process, and to make ends meet Springsteen and the E Street Band toured constantly during the first set of recording sessions for it, performing his new songs as he developed them. Before, during, and immediately after the album's commercially successful release, he toured again, sometimes in battle against his now highly promoted image. Financial success was short-lived, however, as he was soon plunged into legal battles with his former manager and enjoined from further recording. Again he toured to make a living, long after the conventional period of playing in connection with an album's release was over; only when his legal issues were finally resolved did he stop. From 1974 through 1977, these outings are collectively the Born to Run tours.
"Badlands" is the leadoff 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.
"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.
"Racing in the Street" is a song by Bruce Springsteen from his 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town. In the original vinyl format, it was the last song of side one of the album. The song has been called Springsteen's best song by several commentators, including the authors of The New Rolling Stone Album Guide.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Greatest Hits is Bruce Springsteen's fifth compilation album, released as a limited edition first in the United States, Canada and Australia on January 13, 2009, exclusively through Wal-Mart retailers.
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.
Letter to You is the upcoming twentieth studio album from Bruce Springsteen and it marks his first album with his regular backing band the E Street Band since 2014's High Hopes.