THUNDER ROAD

Live 22 Sep 1979 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, you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore
Go!
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright
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 summers playing in vain for a savior to rise from these streets
Now I ain't 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
What else can we do now
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
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
Climb in back, heaven's waiting down on the tracks

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

Now I got this guitar and I learned how to make her talk
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, the ride it ain't free
And I know you're lonely, these words that I ain't spoken
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 skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets
They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
In the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
You get to the porch, they're gone on the wind, so Mary climb in
It's a town full of losers, we're pulling out of here to win


Info

The above lyrics are for the live 22 Sep 1979 performance of THUNDER ROAD at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY, during the MUSE Concerts For A Non-Nuclear Future. The song was played in a full-band arrangement. The parts in bold are sung by the crowd.

Ticket stub for the 22 Sep 1979 show at Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
Ticket stub for the 22 Sep 1979 show at Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
(Taken from Brucebase)

The live 22 Sep 1979 performance of THUNDER ROAD was released on the No Nukes home video in 1980 and was also included on Springsteen's Video Anthology / 1978-88 home video in 1989. The video was posted on Bruce Springsteen's VEVO YouTube channel in March 2015.


The MUSE Concerts

Shortly after the Three Mile Island nuclear plant meltdown in Pennsylvania in March 1979, a coalition of performers and activists opposed the use of nuclear power and founded Musicians United For Safe Energy (MUSE). The anti-nuclear group was the brainchild of four performers (Jackson Browne, John Hall of the 70's band Orleans, Bonnie Raitt, and Graham Nash) and four antinuclear activists (Sam Lovejoy, Howard Kohn, Tom Campbell, and David Fenton).

The group organized a series of five benefit concerts billed as the "MUSE Concerts For A Non-Nuclear Future", held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY, from 19 to 23 Sep 1979. The goal of the concerts (and an accompanying 200,000-person rally staged in Battery Park City in New York City) was to spread awareness about the dangers of radioactive-fuelled energy and raise funds for an anti-nuclear / pro-solar campaign.

MUSE's Tom Campbell mentioned the subject to Bruce Springsteen on 03 Jun 1979 when the two met in Los Angeles at the wedding party of Springsteen's lighting director Marc Brinkman. However, it was Jackson Browne who later convinced Springsteen to join the bill for the MUSE concerts. He agreed on the condition that no politicians be given microphone time or money from the event's proceeds. He was the only musician who did not outline his reasons for joining the antinuclear movement in a short statement for publication in the MUSE program book. "Bruce felt that a statement wasn't appropriate - the music was enough," his manager, Jon Landau, explained.

The MUSE concerts program book
The MUSE concerts program book

The list of acts invited to play at the event also included Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Graham Nash (who re-united Crosby, Stills & Nash for this one occasion), John Hall, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, James Taylor and Carly Simon, The Doobie Brothers, Jesse Colin Young, Gil Scott-Heron, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, among others.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were the highlight of the event, and they performed on two nights, 21 and 22 Sep 1979. "The concerts Friday and Saturday night [21 and 22 Sep 1979] are different, and the reason is Bruce Springsteen", Daisann McLane wrote in Rolling Stone. "He has the kind of drawing power in the New York area that will pack a house for two nights in a row". The 21 Sep 1979 concert was the only sellout of the five nights. "The crowd is younger, and crazier; for the first time, I spot a few bloodied casualties being dragged down the aisles by security people. This is a Springsteen crowd, too, with little patience for preliminaries. On Friday [21 Sep 1979], Jesse Colin Young and Jackson Browne do short sets but fail to capture the allegiance of this revved-up bunch. Saturday [22 Sep 1979], Peter Tosh, who exuberantly performs twenty minutes of reggae, lopes back and forth across the stage in a burnoose and fares better, as does Tom Petty, who rocks hard but seems a little taken aback by the size of the stadium. This is a tough audience to crack. On Friday [21 Sep 1979], Chaka Khan leaves the stage in a huff. Seems she thought the audience was booing her; what she really heard was the sound of thousands of voices chanting Bruuuce! Bruuuce! [...] The crowd is his; fans are on their feet, standing on chairs from the first note, mouthing the words to every song. For the first time all week, it feels like something special is happening at Madison Square Garden. [...] The MUSE principals have been searching all week for the vibe, the feeling. Springsteen doesn't have to search for it; he walks onstage and it's there."

Rolling Stone magazine (issue #304, November 1979)
Rolling Stone magazine (issue #304, November 1979)

The event produced a 1980 theatrical movie release titled No Nukes, which includes Springsteen's performances of THE RIVER, THUNDER ROAD, and cover of Gary U.S. Bonds' QUARTER TO THREE, all taken from the 22 Sep 1979 show. No Nukes was also released on home video and a three-record live album was also created from the event. The album contains two Springsteen performances from the 21 Sep 1979 show. Springsteen's duet with Jackson Browne on STAY was chosen for the album, but since the release was a three-record set, Springsteen was asked for a an additional track. According to Dave Marsh, the rendition of THUNDER ROAD was the one Springsteen, Browne, and Jon Landau wanted, but "playing 'Stay' over and over again, they heard and liked the transition, a particularly seamless one, from 'Stay' into the band's medley of Mitch Ryder hits 'Jenny Take a Ride' and 'Devil With a Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly.' Finally, Landau suggested that the Detroit Medley was probably what should go on the record with 'Say.' The others agreed." DETROIT MEDLEY became the second Springsteen track on the live album. From the concert, record, and film, MUSE raised and donated over $1 Million to anti-nuclear and safe energy groups throughout the United States.

 Promotional poster for the film
The No Nukes film includes live performances by James Taylor & Carly Simon, Bonnie Raitt, John Hall, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, The Doobie Brothers, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, and others. It also includes backstage footage and covers the behind the scenes work of the musicians to put together the MUSE concerts. The film was directed by Danny Goldberg, Anthony Potenza, and Julian Schlossberg. It was distributed by Warner Bros. and released in theaters on 18 Jul 1980.

No Nukes Home Video

The No Nukes home video was released in 1980 in the U.S., the UK, and Japan. The film is now out-of-print and was not reissued on DVD or Blu-ray.

Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes

VHS - unknown label (unknown catalog number) - Japan, 1983
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes

VHD - Victor / CBS/FOX Video (VHM 68065) - Japan, 1985
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes

LD - Videoarts (VALJ-3158) - Japan, 1990
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes

LD - Videoarts (VALZ-2075) - Japan, 1993
Various artists -- No Nukes - The Muse Concert
Various artists -- No Nukes - The Muse Concert

VHS - CBS/FOX Video (7065-50) - UK, 1983
Various artists -- No Nukes - The Muse Concert
Various artists -- No Nukes - The Muse Concert

LD - CBS/FOX Video (7065-70) - UK, 1983
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes

VHS - CBS Video (CV600065) - USA, 1981
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes

CED - CBS Video (CD 200065) - USA, 1981
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes
Various artists -- The Muse Concert - No Nukes

LD - CBS/FOX Video (7065-80) - USA, 1983
James Taylor & Carly Simon:Mockingbird
Bonnie Raitt:Runaway
James Taylor, Carly Simon, John Hall, Graham Nash:The Times They Are A-Changin'
Crosby, Stills & Nash:Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
Jackson Browne:Running On Empty
Before The Deluge
The Doobie Brothers:Dependin' On You
What A Fool Believes
Graham Nash:Barrel Of Pain
James Taylor:Your Smiling Face
Stand And Fight
Gil Scott-Heron:We Almost Lost Detroit
Graham Nash:Our House
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band:THUNDER ROAD [22 Sep 1979]
THE RIVER [22 Sep 1979]
QUARTER TO THREE [22 Sep 1979]
The Doobie Brothers, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Phoebe Snow, Jackson Browne:Takin' It To The Streets
Joy Ryder, Avis Davis:No More Nukes
John Hall, Carly Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Jackson Browne:Power
Jesse Colin Young:Get Together

Plus documentary footage directed by Barbara Kopple and Haskell Wexler.

Video Anthology Home Video

Video Anthology / 1978-88 is a collection of 18 Bruce Springsteen music videos and concert performances, released in VHS format on 31 Jan 1989. The home video was also released on LaserDisc.

Bruce Springsteen -- Video Anthology / 1978-88 (USA VHS cover art)
Bruce Springsteen -- Video Anthology / 1978-88 (USA VHS cover art)
Bruce Springsteen -- Video Anthology / 1978-88 (USA LaserDisc cover art)
Bruce Springsteen -- Video Anthology / 1978-88 (USA LaserDisc cover art)
Bruce Springsteen -- Video Anthology / 1978-88 (Japan LaserDisc cover art)
Bruce Springsteen -- Video Anthology / 1978-88 (Japan LaserDisc cover art)

  1. ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT) [Live 08 Jul 1978 version] – originally released in 1978, directed by Arnold Levine
  2. THE RIVER [Live 22 Sep 1979 version] – originally released in 1980, directed by Danny Goldberg, Julian Schlossberg, Anthony Potenza
  3. THUNDER ROAD [Live 22 Sep 1979 version] – originally released in 1980, directed by Danny Goldberg, Julian Schlossberg, Anthony Potenza
  4. ATLANTIC CITY – originally released in 1982, directed by Arnold Levine
  5. DANCING IN THE DARK – originally released in 1984, directed by Brian De Palma
  6. BORN IN THE U.S.A. – originally released in 1984, directed by John Sayles
  7. I'M ON FIRE – originally released in 1985, directed by John Sayles
  8. GLORY DAYS – originally released in 1985, directed by John Sayles
  9. MY HOMETOWN [Live 30 Sep 1985 version] – originally released in 1985, directed by Arthur Rosato
  10. WAR [Live 30 Sep 1985 version] – originally released in 1986, directed by Arthur Rosato
  11. FIRE [Live 13 Oct 1986 version] – originally released in 1986
  12. BORN TO RUN [Live 19 Aug 1984 version] – originally released in 1987, directed by Arthur Rosato
  13. BRILLIANT DISGUISE – originally released in 1987, directed by Meiert Avis
  14. TUNNEL OF LOVE – originally released in 1987, directed by Meiert Avis
  15. ONE STEP UP – originally released in 1988, directed by Meiert Avis
  16. TOUGHER THAN THE REST [Live 27 Apr 1988 version] – originally released in1988, directed by Meiert Avis
  17. SPARE PARTS [Live 10 Jul 1988 version] – originally released in 1988, directed by Carol Dodds
  18. BORN TO RUN [Live 27 Apr 1988 version] – originally released in 1988, directed by Meiert Avis

Sonny reissued the video on 16 Jan 2001 in DVD format. Titled The Complete Video Anthology / 1978-2000, the new release added a second disc with 15 additional music video, concert performances, and television appearances.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Complete Video Anthology / 1978-2000 (DVD cover art)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Complete Video Anthology / 1978-2000 (DVD cover art)

Disc 1:

  1. ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT) [Live 08 Jul 1978 version] – originally released in 1978, directed by Arnold Levine
  2. THE RIVER [Live 22 Sep 1979 version] – originally released in 1980, directed by Danny Goldberg, Julian Schlossberg, Anthony Potenza
  3. THUNDER ROAD [Live 22 Sep 1979 version] – originally released in 1980, directed by Danny Goldberg, Julian Schlossberg, Anthony Potenza
  4. ATLANTIC CITY – originally released in 1982, directed by Arnold Levine
  5. DANCING IN THE DARK – originally released in 1984, directed by Brian De Palma
  6. BORN IN THE U.S.A. – originally released in 1984, directed by John Sayles
  7. I'M ON FIRE – originally released in 1985, directed by John Sayles
  8. GLORY DAYS – originally released in 1985, directed by John Sayles
  9. MY HOMETOWN [Live 30 Sep 1985 version] – originally released in 1985, directed by Arthur Rosato
  10. WAR [Live 30 Sep 1985 version] – originally released in 1986, directed by Arthur Rosato
  11. FIRE [Live 13 Oct 1986 version] – originally released in 1986
  12. BORN TO RUN [Live 19 Aug 1984 version] – originally released in 1987, directed by Arthur Rosato
  13. BRILLIANT DISGUISE – originally released in 1987, directed by Meiert Avis
  14. TUNNEL OF LOVE – originally released in 1987, directed by Meiert Avis
  15. ONE STEP UP – originally released in 1988, directed by Meiert Avis
  16. TOUGHER THAN THE REST [Live 27 Apr 1988 version] – originally released in1988, directed by Meiert Avis
  17. SPARE PARTS [Live 10 Jul 1988 version] – originally released in 1988, directed by Carol Dodds
  18. BORN TO RUN [Live 27 Apr 1988 version] – originally released in 1988, directed by Meiert Avis

Disc 2:

  1. HUMAN TOUCH – originally released in 1992, directed by Meiert Avis
  2. BETTER DAYS – originally released in 1992, directed by Meiert Avis
  3. 57 CHANNELS (AND NOTHIN' ON) – originally released in 1992, directed by Adam Bernstein
  4. LEAP OF FAITH [Live 06 Aug 1992 version] – originally released in 1992, directed by Meiert Avis
  5. STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA – originally released in 1993, directed by Jonathan Demme and Ted Demme
  6. MURDER INCORPORATED – originally released in 1995, directed by Jonathan Demme
  7. SECRET GARDEN – originally released in 1995, directed by Peter Care
  8. HUNGRY HEART [Live 09 Jul 1995 version] – originally released in 1995, directed by Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher
  9. DEAD MAN WALKIN' – originally released in 1196, directed by Tim Robbins
  10. THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD – originally released in 1996, directed by Arnold Levine
  11. THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 27 Nov 1995 version] – from The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
  12. HIGHWAY PATROLMAN – previously unreleased, directed by Sean Penn
  13. IF I SHOULD FALL BEHIND [Sep 1999 sound-check version] – previously unreleased, directed by Jonathan Demme
  14. BORN IN THE U.S.A. [Live 20 Nov 1998 version] – from The Charlie Rose Show
  15. LIFT ME UP – audio only, plays over end credits
  16. SECRET GARDEN [with Strings] – previously unreleased, directed by Peter Care

Credits

Thanks Danny and Roberto for the No Nuke UK VHS scan.

Request

Please contact me if you have scans for or info about any official release containing Bruce Springsteen's live 22 Sep 1979 version of THUNDER ROAD that's not mentioned on this page. Any additions, comments, or corrections to this page are welcome. You can contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.

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: 22 Nov 2016