Thunder Road
Bruce Springsteen Lyrics


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A 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 run back inside, darling
You know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking
That maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're alright
Oh, 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 summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now I'm 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
Hey, what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair
Well, 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, 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, Thunder Road
Sit tight, take hold
Thunder Road

Well, I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk
And 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 but the ride ain't free
And I know you're lonely for words that I ain't spoken
Tonight we'll be free, all the promises'll be broken

There were ghosts in the eyes
Of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road
On the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets
They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
When you get to the porch
They're gone on the wind
So Mary, climb in




It's a town full of losers
I'm pulling out of here to win

Overall Meaning

The opening verse of Bruce Springsteen's song Thunder Road introduces us to a scene where Mary is dancing on the porch as the radio plays Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely." The singer is trying to convince Mary to leave with him and not to be afraid of getting older. He recognizes that they are no longer young, yet there is still magic in the night. He reassures her that although she may not be beautiful, she's still alright with him.


In the chorus, he urges Mary to take his hand, and they'll ride out tonight to "the promised land" on Thunder Road. He tells her to sit tight and hold on, as they will take the opportunity to escape to somewhere new. In the second verse, he sings about his own limitations as a person, recognizing that he's no hero, but he's offering everything he has to Mary, including his "dirty hood." He urges Mary to join him in his car and take the long walk from her front porch to his front seat. He acknowledges that her past has a hold on her, but tonight is the night that they can both be free from it. Finally, he uses the image of the boys Mary has sent away, who haunt the beach road, to persuade her to leave with him, as she hears their engines roaring on.


Line by Line Meaning

A screen door slams, Mary's dress sways
Mary rushes out of her house, and her dress sways in the movement


Like a vision she dances across the porch
The scene is so beautiful, it feels like a dream


As the radio plays
The background music sets the mood for the moment


Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
The song playing on the radio is Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely"


Hey, that's me, and I want you only
The singer relates to the lonely character in the song and wants Mary's affection


Don't turn me home again
The singer doesn't want Mary to reject him and send him home


I just can't face myself alone again
The singer is lonely and wants to be with Mary


Don't run back inside, darling
The singer doesn't want Mary to retreat from him


You know just what I'm here for
The singer is clear about his intentions and desires


So you're scared and you're thinking
Mary is hesitant and uncertain


That maybe we ain't that young anymore
Mary wonders if they are too old for this kind of romance


Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
The singer urges Mary to have faith in their love and the possibilities of the night


You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're alright
The singer doesn't care about Mary's looks, just her heart


Oh, and that's alright with me
The singer is content with Mary just the way she is


You can hide 'neath your covers and study your pain
The singer acknowledges Mary's pain and tendency to hide from it


Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain
Mary uses symbols of love to cope with her emotional pain


Waste your summer praying in vain
Mary's efforts to find salvation has been futile so far


For a savior to rise from these streets
Mary looks for a way out of her pain in the streets


Well now I'm no hero, that's understood
The singer doesn't consider himself a hero or savior


All the redemption I can offer, girl
The singer can't save Mary but he can provide some relief


Is beneath this dirty hood
The singer's car, which carries Mary away from her troubles, is the only thing he can offer her


With a chance to make it good somehow
The singer and Mary have a chance to change their lives tonight


Hey, what else can we do now?
The singer and Mary are out of other options


Except roll down the window
The singer suggests opening up to new experiences


And let the wind blow back your hair
The singer suggests that Mary let loose and have fun


Well, the night's busting open
Tonight is full of possibilities


These two lanes will take us anywhere
The open road provides endless opportunities


We got one last chance to make it real
The night is their last chance to change their lives


To trade in these wings on some wheels
The singer suggests leaving behind old dreams for new realities


Climb in back, heaven's waiting down on the tracks
The singer invites Mary to join him on this journey and embrace the possibilities of the night


Oh-oh, come take my hand
The singer urges Mary to join him and take his hand as they follow their dreams


We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
The singer and Mary are taking a risk to explore their hopes and dreams


Oh-oh, Thunder Road
Thunder Road is the symbol of hope and possibility


Oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road
The singer repeats the name of the road to emphasize its importance


Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Thunder Road is full of promise, but it also has a danger to it


Hey, I know it's late, we can make it if we run
Despite the danger, the singer believes they can still make it if they try


Oh-oh, Thunder Road
The singer repeats the name of the road to emphasize its importance


Sit tight, take hold
The singer urges Mary to hold on tight and brace herself for the ride


Thunder Road
Thunder Road is the place where their dreams will come true


Well, I got this guitar
The guitar is a symbol of the singer's artistic expression and potential


And I learned how to make it talk
The singer has honed his skill and can convey his emotions through his music


And my car's out back
The car is the vehicle that can take them to their dreams


If you're ready to take that long walk
The singer is inviting Mary to join him on a long and risky journey


From your front porch to my front seat
The singer is asking Mary to come out of her comfort zone and into his car


The door's open but the ride ain't free
The journey will come at a cost


And I know you're lonely for words that I ain't spoken
Mary is looking for assurance and comfort, which the singer hopes to provide


Tonight we'll be free, all the promises'll be broken
The singer is taking a risk to escape his past promises and embrace a new reality


There were ghosts in the eyes
The artist is haunted by the past


Of all the boys you sent away
Mary has rejected many suitors in the past


They haunt this dusty beach road
The memories of these lost opportunities linger on this road


On the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets
The abandoned and burned cars symbolize the broken dreams of the past


They scream your name at night in the street
The lost opportunities call out to Mary, haunting her with regret


Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
The discarded graduation gown symbolizes lost opportunities and broken dreams


And in the lonely cool before dawn
The singer is up late, haunted by his past and filled with uncertainty


You hear their engines roaring on
The singer's past mistakes still resonate with him


When you get to the porch
The singer and Mary finally arrive at their destination


They're gone on the wind
The singer reflects on the past and what could have been


So Mary, climb in
Despite the past, the singer invites Mary to pursue new dreams


It's a town full of losers
The singer reflects on the limitations and failures of their hometown


I'm pulling out of here to win
The singer takes a risk and leaves the past behind to pursue a new future with Mary




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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