BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and the E.STREET BAND – ” Thunder Road ” Performed Over 41 Years

Posted: March 3, 2016 in MUSIC
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There are fan videos, then there are super-fan videos. Springsteen aficionado Phil Whitehead has put together 41 years worth of The Boss performing “Thunder Road” and makes them into an epic supercut . In this video, I wanted to explore how a song like Thunder Road has changed, not only in the way Springsteen performs it, but also how its meaning evolves with an older person singing as Rolling Stone said or Thunder Road, “the lyrics hint at a perspective beyond his years.” I also wanted to look the evolution of live recordings, both professional and homemade.

The music-video-supercut of Bruce Springsteen singing “Thunder Road” between 1975-2016

“Springsteen refuses to be a mercenary curator of his past. He always continues to evolve as an artist, filling one spiral notebook after another with ideas.

This year marks 41 years of Bruce Springsteen singing “Thunder Road,” the opening track off his classic 1975 album Born to Run. To celebrate, one fan has compiled footage of him performing the track throughout the years in all different incarnations.

The five-and-a-half minute video opens with Springsteen’s harmonica intro from the Hammersmith Odeon in London and includes clips from performances from all across the world — from New York to Milan to Stockholm and more — mostly playing with the E Street Band but sometimes playing solo with guitar and even piano.


“Thunder Road” is a song written and performed by Bruce Springsteen, and the opening track on his 1975 breakthrough album Born to Run. It is ranked as one of Springsteen’s greatest songs, and often appears on lists of the top rock songs of all time.

The lyrics to “Thunder Road” describe a young woman named Mary, her boyfriend, their hopeless lives and their “one last chance to make it real.” Thematically, it reads as a nostalgic companion piece to “Born to Run”.

Musically, the song opens with a quiet piano and harmonica introduction, meant, as Springsteen said years later in the Wings For Wheels documentary, as a welcoming to both the track and the album, a signifier that something was about to happen. Eschewing a traditional verse-and-chorus structure, the song’s arrangement gradually ramps up in instrumentation, tempo and intensity. The title phrase is not used until the middle section of the song, and then is not used again. Finally, after the closing line there is a saxophone-and-piano duet in the instrumental coda.

<b>Bruce</b> <b>Springsteen's</b> &quot;<b>Thunder Road&quot; | Bruce Springsteen</b> | Pinterest


In the song, Springsteen mentions Roy Orbison “singing for the lonely” on the radio. Orbison, one of whose best-known songs is “Only the Lonely,” was a huge influence on Springsteen.

The song’s title comes from the Robert Mitchum film Thunder Road. Springsteen declared that he was somehow inspired from the movie even if, as he says, “I never saw the movie, I only saw the poster in the lobby of the theater.”

“Thunder Road” is a classic rock staple, and has been covered by artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Cowboy Junkies, Badly Drawn Boy, brazilian singer Renato Russo, Mary Lou Lord, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy with Tortoise and Frank Turner. Adam Duritz of Counting Crows often sings large portions of the lyrics to “Thunder Road” in the middle of their song “Rain King.”

Badly Drawn Boy also ends his album Born in the UK with the line “if we still don’t have a plan, we’ll listen to ‘Thunder Road'”.

In the movie Explorers starring River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke, the name of the space vessel they create out of a Tilt-A-Whirl is “Thunder Road”. In the novel High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, the protagonist Rob Fleming ranks “Thunder Road” as one of his five best side one tracks.

<b>Bruce</b> <b>Springsteen</b> - Born to Run (1975)

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