I am totally and utterly obsessed with Thunder Road, the opening track on Bruce Springsteen’s album Born To Run.
This song recently changed my world again when I saw Springsteen’s VH1 Storytellers DVD. Was it ever a very big hit in Australia? It doesn’t seem to get played on radio in this country. Perhaps Bruce broke here on the back of later, bigger, albums. And this stone cold classic just doesn’t get recognised in this country. For some people this is their favourite of hundreds of songs, and for others this is the only song that matters a damn.
The opening line … “Screen door slams…” completely inviting and opening this epic song. Oh, it’s become cliche now, Mary the lonely narrator, but this song reeks of passion and sex.
“Dont turn me home again
I just cant face myself alone again
Dont run back inside
Darling you know just what Im here for
So youre scared and youre thinking
That maybe we aint that young anymore”
It’s sinister until the guitars and bass slowly creep in, the song opens up, it’s like the car is starting, revving up, until it all blows apart. Stops! Starts! Bruce singing “Thuuuuunder Rooooooooad” from his gut, from his lungs, from his soul. God, I know he’s a cartoon, even then, but it’s so much more fun to believe than to tear it apart. And let’s face it, I don’t feel that young anymore, and neither did Bruce at this point. But you just don’t want to let go of that spontaneous craziness.
And then there’s;
“Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk
And my cars out back if youre ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The doors open but the ride it aint free”
This song is just out of this world. The solo piano version on Storytellers is also a great thing to track down and see if you can.
I’ve also posted up the Cowboy Junkies version of this song. They invert the raging beast to a drugged out loser. It works in it’s own beautiful again. I mean, this is such a mopey song anyway.
MP3: Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road
– From the album Born To Run (Columbia, 1975)
MP3: Cowboy Junkies – Thunder Road
– From the EP Uncovered (bonus disc of the One Soul Now album, Zoe Records, 2004)
It was never a big hit, as I don’t believe it was released as a single in Australia, although Born to Run did quite well.The Clemons sax solo, and the manner in which Springsteen articulates suburban suffocation are almost extraordinary on this song.As for the Springsteen haters, their sense of irony seems to overwhelm whatever sincere and genuine feeling may be left in their soul. If this song doesn’t edify you, well, there’s something rather amiss with you 😉