Unofficial studio version 3

Johnny works in a factory and Billy works downtown
Terry works in a rock and roll band looking for that million-dollar sound
And I got a little job down in Darlington but some nights I don't go
Some nights I go to the drive-in or some nights I stay home
I followed that dream just like those guys do way up on the screen
And I drove a Challenger down Route 9 through the dead ends and all the bad scenes
And when the promise was broken, I cashed in a few of my own dreams

Well now I built that Challenger by myself, but I needed money and so I sold it
I lived a secret I should've kept to myself, but I got drunk one night and I told it
All my life I fought this 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 dying down on the highway tonight

I won big once and I hit the coast, oh but somehow I paid the big cost
Inside I felt like I was carrying 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 tracks, that dead ends in two-bit bars
When the promise was broken I was far away from home sleeping in the backseat of a borrowed car
Thunder Road, for the lost lovers and all the fixed games
Thunder Road, for the tires rushing by in the rain
Thunder Road, remember what me and Billy we'd always say
Thunder Road, we were gonna take it all and throw it all away


The above lyrics are for a studio take of THE PROMISE recorded, according to Brucebase, in September or October 1977 at The Record Plant in New York City, NY. Comparing with Sony's database, this take must have been cut on 28 Sep 1977 at The Record Plant.

This version is far more complete than unofficial studio version 1 and unofficial studio version 2. It has a full-band arrangement and clocks at 7:10; the instrumental outro is more than a minute long.

This studio version of THE PROMISE was first considered to for Tracks box set in 1998. See the official 1999 studio version for more details. It was released in a slightly edited form on The Promise collection in 2010. See the official 1977 studio version for more details.

Bootleg Releases

This unofficial studio version of THE PROMISE can be found on the Deep Down In The Vaults (E. St. Records) [disc 2, track 08] bootleg.

Bruce Springsteen -- Deep Down In The Vaults (E. St. Records)
Bruce Springsteen -- Deep Down In The Vaults (E. St. Records)

Available Versions

List of available versions of THE PROMISE on this website:

THE PROMISE [Official 1977 studio version]
THE PROMISE [Official 1978 studio version]
THE PROMISE [Official 1999 studio version]
THE PROMISE [Unofficial studio version 1]
THE PROMISE [Unofficial studio version 2]
THE PROMISE [Unofficial studio version 3]
THE PROMISE [Live 03 Aug 1976 version]
THE PROMISE [Live 29 Sep 1976 version]
THE PROMISE [Live 30 Oct 1976 version]
THE PROMISE [Live 19 May 1978 version]
THE PROMISE [Live 23 May 1978 version]
THE PROMISE [Live 01 Jul 2000 version]
THE PROMISE [Live 20 Jul 2005 version]
THE PROMISE [Live 07 Dec 2010 version]
THE PROMISE [Live 08 Feb 2014 version]
THE PROMISE [Live 22 Apr 2014 version]
THE PROMISE [Graziano Romani's cover version]

Page last updated: 16 Nov 2015