THUNDER ROAD

Live 18 Oct 1975 (early show) version


The screen door slams, Mary's dress sways
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
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
Well 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

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
Well now I'm no hero, that's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood
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 bustin' 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
Climb in back, heaven's waiting down on the tracks

And it's oh-oh come take my hand
We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road
It's lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late but we can make it if we run
Oh oh oh Thunder Road, sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road

Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride it ain't free
I know you're lonely in those words that I ain't spoken
But tonight we'll be free, all the promises will be broken
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
From your room you hear their engines roar on
But when you get to the porch they're gone on the wind, so Mary climb in
It's a town full of losers and I'm pulling outta here to win

Hoo-hoo
Ho-whoa
Whoa-whoa
Hmm-hmm


Info

The above lyrics are for the live 18 Oct 1975 (early show) performance of THUNDER ROAD at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, CA, during the Born To Run Tour. The song was the show opener and was played in a slow arrangement featuring Roy Bittan on piano and Bruce Springsteen on harmonica and vocals.

The 18 Oct 1975 early show at The Roxy Theatre was filmed by Arnold Levine Productions on behalf of Mike Appel and Laurel Canyon. Bruce Springsteen now controls the footage, but none of it has ever been published or seen.

Shortly after the mammoth Born In The U.S.A. Tour ended, Springsteen decided to start working on a live album in November 1985. He and his manager and co-producer Jon Landau began combing through concert tapes and came upon a stark voice-and-piano version of THUNDER ROAD from the 18 Oct 1975 early show at The Roxy Theatre. They felt they could make what biographer Dave Marsh later described as something that "wouldn't be a live album or a greatest hits album so much as the next Bruce Springsteen album."

This live 18 Oct 1975 performance of THUNDER ROAD was included on the Live/1975-85 box set in 1986. It's the opener of the box set and the only song from that show (and the only from 1975) that was included on the box set.

The Live/1975-85 Box Set

With the Born In The U.S.A. album and tour, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band reached the highest level of rock stardom. Columbia Records was expecting a follow up studio album and tour that would, like it's predecessor, achieve a huge commercial success. Instead, Springsteen released Live/1975-85, an over-three-hours-and-a-half-long live compilation album consisting of 40 tracks recorded at various concerts between 1975 and 1985.

Bruce Springsteen -- Live/1975-85
Bruce Springsteen -- Live/1975-85

The set was produced by Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, and Bruce Springsteen, and hit the stores on 10 Nov 1986. It was released as a box set with either five vinyl records, three cassettes, or three CDs. Live/1975-85 is the first album to be credited to "Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band" instead of "Bruce Springsteen" only.

The highly-anticipated live album generated advance orders of more than 1.5 million copies, making it the largest dollar-volume pre-order in the history of the record business at the time. Record stores around the country found fans waiting in line on Monday morning before opening and one New York store reportedly sold the album right off the back of the delivery truck. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart and also became the first five-record set to reach the top 10 and the first to sell over a million copies. Live/1975-85 is the second-best-selling live album in U.S. history based on RIAA certification. It has been certified by the RIAA for 13 times platinum, trailing only Garth Brooks' Double Live.

Disc 1 (CD format):

1.THUNDER ROADRecorded live on 18 Oct 1975 at The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood, CA
2.ADAM RAISE A CAINRecorded live on 07 Jul 1978 at The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood, CA
3.SPIRIT IN THE NIGHTRecorded live on 07 Jul 1978 at The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood, CA
4.4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY)Recorded live on 31 Dec 1980 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
5.PARADISE BY THE "C"Recorded live on 07 Jul 1978 at The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood, CA
6.FIRERecorded live on 16 Dec 1978 at Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, CA
7.GROWIN' UPRecorded live on 07 Jul 1978 at The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood, CA
8.IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITYRecorded live on 07 Jul 1978 at The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood, CA
9.BACKSTREETSRecorded live on 07 Jul 1978 at The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood, CA
10.ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)Recorded live on 07 Jul 1978 at The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood, CA
11.RAISE YOUR HANDRecorded live on 07 Jul 1978 at The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood, CA
12.HUNGRY HEARTRecorded live on 28 Dec 1980 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
13.TWO HEARTSRecorded live on 08 Jul 1981 at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ

Disc 2 (CD format):

1.CADILLAC RANCHRecorded live on 06 Jul 1981 at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
2.YOU CAN LOOK (BUT YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH)Recorded live on 29 Dec 1980 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
3.INDEPENDENCE DAYRecorded live on 06 Jul 1981 at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
4.BADLANDSRecorded live on 05 Nov 1980 at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
5.BECAUSE THE NIGHTRecorded live on 28 Dec 1980 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
6.CANDY'S ROOMRecorded live on 08 Jul 1981 at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
7.DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWNRecorded live on 29 Dec 1980 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
8.RACING IN THE STREETRecorded live on 06 Jul 1981 at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
9.THIS LAND IS YOUR LANDRecorded live on 29 Dec 1980 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
10.NEBRASKARecorded live on 06 Aug 1984 at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
11.JOHNNY 99Recorded live on 19 Aug 1985 at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
12.REASON TO BELIEVERecorded live on 19 Aug 1984 at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
13.BORN IN THE U.S.A.Recorded live on 30 Sep 1985 at Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
14.SEEDSRecorded live on 30 Sep 1985 at Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA

Disc 3 (CD format):

1.THE RIVERRecorded live on 30 Sep 1985 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
2.WARRecorded live on 30 Sep 1985 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
3.DARLINGTON COUNTYRecorded live on 30 Sep 1985 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
4.WORKING ON THE HIGHWAYRecorded live on 19 Aug 1985 at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
5.THE PROMISED LANDRecorded live on 30 Sep 1985 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
6.COVER MERecorded live on 30 Sep 1985 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
7.I'M ON FIRERecorded live on 19 Aug 1985 at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
8.BOBBY JEANRecorded live on 21 Aug 1985 at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
9.MY HOMETOWNRecorded live on 30 Sep 1985 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
10.BORN TO RUNRecorded live on 19 Aug 1985 at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
11.NO SURRENDERRecorded live on 06 Aug 1984 at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
12.TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUTRecorded live on 20 Aug 1984 at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
13.JERSEY GIRLRecorded live on 09 Jul 1981 at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ

Other Official Releases

The live 18 Oct 1975 version of THUNDER ROAD was also included on some Bruce Springsteen promo-only samplers.


Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- The
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- The "Live" / The Legend Comes Alive

LP - CBS/Sony (XDAP 93156) - Japan, 1986
MC - CBS/Sony (XDKP 93022) - Japan, 1986

Promotional release compiling 10 tracks from the Live/1975-85 box set. The cassette tape issue is extremely rare and features a different artwork.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live (Argentina LP issue)
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live

LP - CBS (70.015) - Argentina, 1986
MC - CBS (170015) - Argentina, 1986
MC - CBS (8283-4) - Uruguay, 1986

Promotional sampler compiling 10 tracks from the Live/1975-85 box set.

Bruce Springsteen -- Ao Vivo (LP issue)
Bruce Springsteen -- Ao Vivo

LP - CBS (177.127/1-464061) - Brazil, 1986
LP - CBS (CS-10624) - Venezuela, 1986
MC - CBS (77.127/4-464061) - Brazil, 1986
CD - CBS (700.268/2-464061) - Brazil, 1991

Sampler compiling 10 tracks from the Live/1975-85 box set. The Venezuela issue, which features the same overall packaging as the Brazil one, is appropriately titled "En Vivo" (Spanish) instead of "Ao Vivo" (Portuguese).

Bruce Springsteen -- The Future Of Rock'n'Roll / 70's To 80's
Bruce Springsteen -- The Future Of Rock'n'Roll / 70's To 80's

2xCD - CBS/Sony (XADP 90009~10) - Japan, 1988

Japan-only promotional 2-CD set sampler compiling 28 tracks from Springsteen's first nine albums plus two 1988 live B-sides.
Bruce Springsteen -- Live 1975-1985 Digest CD
Bruce Springsteen -- Live 1975-1985 Digest CD

CD-R - Sony (no catalog number) - Japan, 2005

Japan-only promotional "Digest" CD-R advance sampler tying in with the release of the Japanese 2005 "mini-LP"-style CD album reissue of Live/1975-85. This disc comes in a plain slimline jewel case with no artwork.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- PBS Exclusive
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- PBS Exclusive

CD - Columbia (82876 75932 2) - USA, 2005

US-only promotional CD sampler exclusively available to donors supporting the "Public Broadcasting Service" (PBS) programming with a $60 "pledge", and contains 7 live tracks compiled off the Live/1975-85 box set, the Live In New York City album, and the Live In Barcelona DVD.

Available Versions

List of available versions of THUNDER ROAD on this website:

THUNDER ROAD [Album version]
THUNDER ROAD [Early draft]
THUNDER ROAD [Alternative version #1]
THUNDER ROAD [Alternative version #2]
THUNDER ROAD [Alternative version #3]
THUNDER ROAD [Alternative version #4]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 05 Feb 1975 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 20 Jul 1975 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 17 Oct 1975 (early show) version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 18 Oct 1975 (early show) version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 18 Nov 1975 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 31 Dec 1975 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 07 Apr 1976 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 25 Mar 1977 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 13 May 1977 (early show) version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 13 Sep 1977 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 19 Sep 1978 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 08 Dec 1978 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 22 Sep 1979 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 03 Oct 1980 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 03 Jul 1981 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 08 Jun 1984 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 19 Nov 1984 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 27 Jul 1988 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 02 Sep 1988 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 16 Nov 1990 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 22 Sep 1992 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 28 Sep 1992 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 24 Jun 1993 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 15 Feb 1995 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 21 Feb 1995 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 05 Apr 1995 (Sony Music Studios) version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 09 Jul 1995 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 05 May 1997 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 22 May 1997 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 31 Jan 1998 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 23 Oct 1999 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 27 Jun 2000 / 01 Jul 2000 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 19 Oct 2001 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 29 Aug 2002 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 04 Oct 2002 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 16 Oct 2002 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 19 Feb 2003 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 29 Apr 2003 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 22 Jun 2003 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 01 Nov 2004 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 04 Apr 2005 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 12 Oct 2005 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 07 Nov 2007 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 09 Nov 2007 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 14 Mar 2008 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 07 May 2008 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 18 Jun 2008 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 23 Aug 2008 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 04 Oct 2008 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 16 Oct 2008 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 30 May 2009 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 17 Nov 2009 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 22 Nov 2009 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 04 Nov 2010 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 15 Jan 2011 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 03 Nov 2011 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 04 Nov 2011 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 14 Jan 2012 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 09 Mar 2012 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 06 Apr 2012 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Live 07 Nov 2016 version]
THUNDER ROAD [Greg Kihn's cover version]
THUNDER ROAD [Badly Drawn Boy's cover version]
THUNDER ROAD [Cowboy Junkies' cover version]
THUNDER ROAD [Kevin Rowland's cover version]

Page last updated: 09 Feb 2017