Live 20 Jul 2005 version
[Spoken intro:] Thanks. Gonna do this song tonight for a friend of mine. This is for Mr. Jesse Malin [applause]. Oh, the man has fans in Connecticut, we're glad to hear that [chuckles]. There you go Don [chuckles]. Oh, he's got a couple of great records out, one's called "The Heat", one's called "The Fine Art Of Self Destruction", Mr. Jesse Malin. This is for you Jess. Yeah, a little more piano, maybe?
Johnny works in a factory, Billy works downtown
Terry works in a rock and roll band lookin' for that million-dollar sound
I got a job down in Darlington, yeah but some nights I don't go
Some nights I go to the drive-in, some nights I stay home
I followed that dream just like those guys do up on the screen
I drove that Challenger down Route 9 through the dead ends and all the bad scenes
When the promise was broken, cashed in a few of my dreams
Well now I built that Challenger by myself, but I needed money and so I sold it
Build a secret I should'a kept to myself, but I drunk one night and I told it
Yeah all my life I fought that fight, the fight that no man can ever win
Every day it just gets harder to live this dream I'm believing in
Thunder Road, oh baby you were so right
Thunder Road, there's something dyin' down on the highway tonight
Well I won big once and I hit the coast, but somehow I paid the cost
Inside I felt like I was carryin' the broken spirits of all the other ones who lost
When the promise is broken you go on living, but it steals something from down in your soul
Like when the truth is spoken and it don't make no difference, something in your heart goes cold
I followed that dream through the southwestern flats, that dead ends with two-bit bars
The promise was broken I was far away from home sleepin' in the backseat of a borrowed car
Thunder Road, here's one for the tires -- for lost lovers and all the fixed games
Thunder Road, this one for the tires rushing by in the rain
Thunder Road, yeah Billy and me we'd always see
Thunder Road, we were gonna take it all and throw it all away
The above lyrics are for the 20 Jul 2005 performance of THE PROMISE at Arena At Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, CT, during the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour. The song was dedicated to Jesse Malin who was in the audience. Springsteen shouts "there you go Don"; he was probably addressing Sony CEO Don Ienner who was also in the audience.
Springsteen blew one line towards the end, almost singing "tires rushing by in the rain" instead of "for all the lost lovers and fixed games".
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.
List of available versions of THE PROMISE on this website:THE PROMISE [Official 1977 studio version]