THUNDER ROAD

Live 18 Nov 1975 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 again
Don't you 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 savior 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 come and take my hand
We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
Ohhh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road, Thunder Road
It's lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late but we could make it if we run
Hoo 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
Hey I know you're lonely in those words that I ain't spoken
But tonight we'll be free when 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

Ho-whoa
Ho-whoa-whoa
Hmm-whoa


Info

The above lyrics are for the live 18 Nov 1975 performance of THUNDER ROAD at Hammersmith Odeon in London, England, 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 complete 18 Nov 1975 show was released on Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 album and home video in 2005.

Bruce Springsteen performing THUNDER ROAD during the 18 Nov 1975 show at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England (from the "Hammersmith Odeon, London '75" DVD)
Bruce Springsteen performing THUNDER ROAD during the 18 Nov 1975 show at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England (from the "Hammersmith Odeon, London '75" DVD)

Hammersmith Odeon, London '75

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band's 18 Nov 1975 show at Hammersmith Odeon in London, England, was one of their most mysterious, most hyped, and most disparaged performances ever. "For me, the set went by like a freight train," Springsteen wrote. "Later, all I remembered is an awkward record company party, that 'what just happened?' feeling, and thinking we hadn't played that well. I was wrong."

Promotional poster for the 18 and 24 Nov 1975 shows at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England
Promotional poster for the 18 and 24 Nov 1975 shows at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England
(Taken from Rock Explosion)
Ticket stub for the 18 Nov 1975 show at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England
Ticket stub for the 18 Nov 1975 show at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England
(Taken from Brucebase)

The complete concert was captured on 16 mm film and recorded on 24-track. It is also known that this show was initially going to be broadcast on radio (either live or delayed) but Mike Appel, Springsteen's manager at the time, backed out at the last minute as he felt that Bruce's mood at the time would not lead to a particularly good show.

The film remained largely untouched for nearly 30 years. "Lost in my private Idaho, I'd paid no attention to it. I never looked at it... for thirty years," Springsteen wrote. "At the end of the Rising tour, I became interested in checking out film of the early part of my work." Read complete liner notes below.

Emmy Award Winner Thom Zimny received the 16 mm negatives along with the 24-track recording. His production team painstakingly cleaned the original negatives and digitally restored the footage, ultimately presenting this indispensable concert in vibrant color and detail. Producer Bob Clearmountain remastered and remixed the DVD in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound. Zimny has worked with Springsteen on several projects, including editing the Live In New York City, Live In Barcelona, and VH1 Storytellers films. Clearmountain is the legendary mixer who has often collaborated with Springsteen over the last 25 years, most famously on the Born In The U.S.A. album.

The complete 18 Nov 1975 show was released in November 2005 on the Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 DVD, as part of the "30th Anniversary Edition" of the Born To Run album. Audio for the concert was released on a 2-CD set under the same title in February 2006.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 (album cover art)
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 (album cover art)

Liner notes from the Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 DVD and CD:

In 1975, we stepped of the plane into the land of our mythic heroes. A London, that was yet to see it's first McDonalds's, that was still wrasslin' with making good cheeseburger and that seemed very foreign and exotic to a bunch of provincial Jersey Shore beach bums and musicians.

From the "very" anxious heavens of our first trans-Atlantic flight we descended into... well... hell, as I would soon come to know it.

There was a lot of publicity.

Without going into excessive and ancient detail, yeah, there were promo posters, yeah; there was the "London is finally ready for..." marquee; the raves, the pans, the fans, the existential angst... the... the... HYPE!

The whole city, or at least the part that was interested in pop music, seemed primed for... a party? a funeral? a coronation? All of the above? With the shadow of the crown and the noose upon my neck, I stood in the middle of it, this week's Next... Big... Thing. All I remember thinking was, Whoa! This is a little more than I bargained for. Not quite savvy enough to realize that this was exactly what I had bargained for, I arrived at the theater and created pre-show chaos, stomping through the aisles, pulling promo flyers of the seats in a "The Man can't steal my music" frenzy. The record company, of course, was just doing its job, and I was just learning mine... real fast.

Later that evening an E Street Band, with a good deal of the carnival still left in it and armed with a set list I still dare any young band to match, strode onto the stage of the Hammersmith Odeon. The tempos were fast. A Jersey stew of almost punk soul, fueled by the visionary songwriters, 60's records, garage bands, and Rhythm and Blues we loved. For me, the set went by like a freight train. Later, all I remembered is an awkward record company party, that "what just happened?" feeling, and thinking we hadn't played that well. I was wrong. With the keys to the kingdom dangling in front of us and the knife at our neck, we'd gone for broke. Whatever happened, it became one of our "legendary" performances, marked only in memory, bits of bootleg tape, and "I was there when" stories. It was the show that put us on the map in England and began a long and beautiful relationship with our fans overseas.

The evening had been recorded and filmed. Lost in my private Idaho, I'd paid no attention to it. I never looked at it... for thirty years. At the time I was anxious to move away from the commotion and on down the road, as the band and I were "busy bein' born."

At the end of the Rising tour, I became interested in checking out film of the early part of my work. It had remained a blank spot with virtually nothing released. I started with bits and pieces of this show figuring we could cut together a song or two. To our surprise the entire concert emerged from the vault along with the 24-track recording. Restore by Thom Zimny and mixed by Bob Clearmountain, removed from the bluster and noise of the moment, all that's left if the music. So Ladies and Gentelmen... "London is finally ready for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band." Live! At the Hammersmith Odeon.

- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, 9/22/05

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: 20 Sep 2007