Thunder Road (5:50)

Cover of Greatest Hits

From Greatest Hits and 99 other releases

“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.”


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  • MelonHCST

    You look like crap to my eyes.

    14 Jul 6:33am Reply
  • impronen

    I think I'll never see what people hear in this (or in his music in general). Sounds like crap to my ears.

    13 Jun 1:02pm Reply
  • SgtPtro

    This might be the best song I've ever heard

    7 Jun 9:29pm Reply
  • billfires


    1 Apr 7:41pm Reply
  • xdaan

    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 busting 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.

    16 Mar 12:51pm Reply
  • KommisarK

    Dat xylophone.

    15 Mar 4:56pm Reply
  • RocketmanPaul

    What can you say,he is the Boss

    14 Mar 2:19pm Reply
  • FernandoVGP


    4 Mar 11:20pm Reply
  • zoarces

    Thunder Road from Hammersmith '75 is so good I have no words. Floored every time. Magic!

    7 Feb 3:00am Reply
  • Spece40472

    he is the best

    27 Jan 6:07pm Reply
  • carrie_may

    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

    15 Jan 6:55am Reply
  • ralfsu

    Just a perfect song and I guess I can say that about maybe 10 songs. It just makes me feel feelies. It's represents everything I've always loved about music.

    24 Dec 2012 Reply
  • rockfarmer

    Saw him play at Sheridan College, 1975. Wonderful!

    2 Dec 2012 Reply
  • hibiscusscot

    with cap'n tightpants on this one, been listening to this since 1978 when I bought the album, goosebumps every time, even at this age!!

    20 Nov 2012 Reply
  • adventureba

    love it...

    13 Nov 2012 Reply
  • Johnnybosox19

    Wow, this is a great version of this classic song. Love it.

    12 Nov 2012 Reply
  • JuniorMcCartney

    Greatest song ever.

    29 Sep 2012 Reply
  • Sound-Of-Nature

    13 Sep 2012 Reply
  • ralfsu

    Wikipedia claims the narrator is Mary's boyfriend. Where in the song is this indicated? I've always figured they'd maybe met once, or were just friends, and he was asking for love in return for "saving her" on Thunder Road.

    11 Sep 2012 Reply
  • wilma500

    Nuff said,..........

    31 Aug 2012 Reply
  • All 450 shouts

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