Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, "Thunder Road" (1975)

Share this:

Rosalita. Thunder Road. Rosalita. Thunder Road. Rosalita. Thunder Road.

Thunder Road. Yes.

As I’ve said before, for the most part I don’t compare one song to another, as in “song X is definitely better than song Y.” But “Thunder Road” has stayed with me for years and years. In Bruce’s catalog, it’s definitely my favorite. The song itself is full of so many images, setting forth a template of sorts for the rest of the Born To Run album, the theme being one that’s sort of universal to Springsteen’s world: our ability rise above and move away from circumstances that may do us in.

That iconic opening line — The screen door slams/Mary’s dress waves — it blooms with possiblities, so much so that I never get tired of hearing it, live or on record. It begins with Bruce’s harmonica and Roy’s piano, progressing to full-on E Street roar, with Bruce and Clarence playing those glorious unison lines amidst the glockenspiel’s shimmer.

A close friend of mine used to call me on my birthday and sing “Thunder Road” into the answering machine. It sounds corny but as the years pass, that event gets woven into it all, and lines like “So you’re scared and you’re thinking/That maybe we ain’t that young anymore” take on a whole lot more import.

When the boundaries between a song and your life get blurred, you know you’re onto something good.

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
Share this:
Close