Welcome back to the Gospel according to Springsteen.
Album: Born To Run
Song: Thunder Road
Okay, I know when I started the weekly Springsteen lyric thing I said I was not going to list the lyrics to the entire song and I won’t do that here but I’m going to come pretty damn close. Why? Because the lyrics to Thunder Road are amazing. Because they tell a story within a story and he gives you the kind of desperate longing that so many people have felt when it comes to relationships and life itself.
Springsteen always planned to open the Born To Run album with the album’s title track. Until he wrote Thunder Road. Then everything changed.
Thunder Road is poetry as only he can write it. Rolling Stone considers it his third best song. Many people, myself included, think it’s the best thing he’s ever written. If you’ve never listened to a Springsteen song, I’d ask you to please take a few minutes out of your day and listen to this one. From Roy Bittan’s opening piano to the slow building of the melody, this song is a classic.
The song was written just after the Vietnam War ended and there was a lot of unsettled feeling throughout the country. Springsteen captures all of that and more. Here are the opening lyrics played to a simple piano.
The screen door slams
Mary’s dress waves
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
Darling you know just what I’m here for
So you’re scared and you’re thinking
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
The next few lines are incredible. I can read them and listen to them over and over again.
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 saviour to rise from these streets
And the final lines to this crowd pleasing classic that paints visions of past heartaches and the offer of hope and redemption.
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 town full of losers
And I’m pulling out of here to win
Listening to Thunder Road is like watching a favorite movie that doesn’t allow you the opportunity to get up and leave for a moment. You don’t want to miss that line or scene. It’s that good.
So go find it on youtube or iTunes and give it a play. But don’t blame me if you get hooked. It’s been known to happen.
Thanks for stopping by today’s service. See you next week.