Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Roads/Streets: Thunder Road

purchase [Thunder Road]

Roads ahead. Roads behind. Roads leading everywhere. I recall a story off a 60's comedy album called <Bert and I> wherein the humorist explains that "come to think of it, you can't get there from here".

Bob Dylan sang about roads more than once (On the Road Again and many many other songs that include references to roads  such as Tangled Up in Blue's 'by the side of the road'...." and this song that includes the lyrics "how many roads.." . A few blues-men sang about cross-roads and other roads. Seems like if you are a musician, you sing about some kind of roads. And then Bruce Springsteen sang about roads. Thunder Roads.

There's a certain - limited -  American romanticism in the image of Jersey streets/life - the probable venue for Thunder Road- it being Springsteen's home turf and evocative of the events in the lyrics.
In the late 70s Springsteen was one step short of rock god. Heck - most polls still place him at or near the top of their charts.  The <Born to Run> album  has been voted and re-voted as one of the best because it includes: "Thunder Road" , "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"  ,"Born to Run"   , "She's the One"  and " Jungleland". And the E-Street Band (apropos our theme) includes "street".

Thunder Road leads off the album. According to multiple web sources, the song has been through a number of revisions (the girl is now Mary, previously Angelina or Chrissie; now out of here ... previously ...) On occasion a solo/acoustic rendition, at other times, the full power of  the E-Street Band  in force,  the song may be Springsteen's best. There's more than one essay written about it: the Jersey kid who aims to "make it good somehow ... pulling out of here to win"

Aside from the obvious (title), there aren't many direct "road" reference in Springsteen's lyrics : "...two lanes...", "... dusty beach road..." and "savior to rise from these streets", but there are many about cars: burnt-out Chevrolets .. wings on wheels...roll down the window and more. The Internet informs us that Springsteen had a '57 Chevy with fire/flames painted on the body.

Sez the Boss: there's magic in the night

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