|did you ever feel the force of gypsy 1200 (650)|
|And (with) the wing blowin through (back) your hair|
|or the rushing touch of the dirty wing|
|Tonight were [sic]||the highway angels wear You ain't to [sic]|
|gonna trade in||old to |
|I traded Angel||wings for a (your daddy's) set of hot (got) wheels|
|get (hop) on back heavens waiting baby down|
|on the (back) tracks what else you gonna do|
|last verse||I'm bold take you where you never grow old|
|thats [sic] jive my body's explodin' + I'm alive|
|do what you can (feel like) I'm a man|
|end real soft||Ain't no boy|
|Nobodys [sic] sun|
|Promised||Make up your mind I gotta get back out on the street|
|land||I know you just like me (so why don't you take|
|different in||maybe I can't lay the stars at your feet|
|The end||but I got this old car + she's pretty tough|
|I want you||to beat|
|if you can get from your front porch to the|
|font seat the baybe [sic] I think we can|
|no loser||make it (end) cause baby I was born|
|build||build to win so climb in F|
|Bb C riff|
|pull down the top headin' for heaven non stop|
|I bought this old guitar and I learned how to|
|make it talk I got this old car +|
|if yor [sic] ready to make that long walk|
|the doors [sic] (front seat) open the rides free I think we would take|
|it all just you + me|
The above lyrics are for an early draft of THUNDER ROAD, as found on a handwritten lyrics sheet auctioned in 2014. The majority of the lyrics were reworked before the album version was recorded.
A Bruce Springsteen handwritten lyrics sheet for THUNDER ROAD was auctioned in June 2014 on Sotheby's and the hammer was dropped at $37,500. According to the auction house, the draft was written in Long Branch, NJ, or New York City, NY, in 1974 or 1975. The lyrics are written using blue and black ballpoint pens (and some corrections were made with a black marker) on a 8.5x11" ruled notepaper. Superscript, marginal notations, and additional lyrics were added at later times as evidenced by the use of different pens. The lyrics sheet comes from a private collector but was originally part of Mike Appel's (Springsteen's former manager) personal collection.
In the lyrics sheet's top margin, Springsteen wrote some random notes: "212-486-9560 / Rolling Stone office", "Glory Road" (another Springsteen song), "Every Time that you Walk in the Room" (the Jackie DeShannon song), and "- We'll all ride alone". These were written at a later stage with a different black pen (apparently a fine marker) and it's very implausible that they are in any way related to this early draft of THUNDER ROAD. Springsteen even drew a line around "Glory Road" to dis-associate it from the lyrics under.
Charles R. Cross wrote in his 1989 book Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music that GLORY ROAD was a "very early version of lyrics that later became THUNDER ROAD. When he was working on his book, Cross was granted quality interview and research time with Mike Appel at Appel's office. He was allowed to go through Appel's files of surviving Laurel Canyon-related documentation and it is very likely that this particular early draft of THUNDER ROAD was among the documents that Cross examined. The position of "Glory Road" on the top of the page may be what led Cross to wrongly assume that it's the title for the song drafted below it. On the auction page, quoting Cross' book, Sotheby's also assumed that this manuscript is for "Glory Road", an early version of THUNDER ROAD.
Interestingly, the verso of this lyrics sheet contains lyrics for LOVE AND DEFIANCE, an unpublished and unrecorded Bruce Springsteen song from the Born To Run period.
Thanks Pete Russell (Peteadmin at Brucebase) for the help.
Manuscript scan taken from Sotheby's.
If you have any corrections, additions, or comments, please contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.
List of available versions of THUNDER ROAD on this website:THUNDER ROAD [Album version]