Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road Live in Concert 1975-1985
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Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road – live performed 18 Oct 1975 (early show) performance at Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, CA, during the Born To Run Tour.
Thunder Road was the acoustic opener of the show, with Springsteen singing over Roy Bittan’s piano, and playing harmonica during the intro and the outro. The 18 Oct 1975 early show was filmed by Arnold Levine Productions on behalf of Mike Appel and Laurel Canyon. Bruce Springsteen now controls the footage, but none of it has ever been published or seen.
Shortly after the mammoth Born In The USA Tour ended, Springsteen decided to start working on a live album in November 1985. He and his manager and co-producer Jon Landau began combing through concert tapes and came upon a stark voice-and-piano version of Thunder Road from the 18 Oct 1975 early show at Roxy Theatre.
That performance of Thunder Road was released on the Live 1975-85 box set on 10 Nov 1986. It’s the opener of the box set, and the only song from that show (and the only song from 1975) that was included on the box set.
The Live 1975-85 Box Set:
With the Born In The USA album and tour, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band reached the highest level of rock stardom. Columbia Records was expecting a follow up studio album and tour that would, like it’s predecessor, achieve a huge commercial success. Instead, Springsteen released Live/1975-85, an over-three-hours-and-a-half-long live compilation album consisting of 40 tracks recorded at various concerts between 1975 and 1985.
The set was produced by Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, and Bruce Springsteen, and hit the stores on 10 Nov 1986. It was released as a box set with either five vinyl records, three cassettes, or three CDs. Live/1975-85 is the first album to be credited to “Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band” instead of “Bruce Springsteen” only.
The highly-anticipated live album generated advance orders of more than 1.5 million copies, making it the largest dollar-volume pre-order in the history of the record business at the time. Record stores around the country found fans waiting in line on Monday morning before opening and one New York store reportedly sold the album right off the back of the delivery truck. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart and also became the first five-record set to reach the top 10 and the first to sell over a million copies. Live/1975-85 is the second-best-selling live album in U.S. history based on RIAA certification. It has been certified by the RIAA for 13 times platinum, trailing only Garth Brooks’ Double Live.
Live 18 Oct 1975 version
The 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
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
Well 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 saviour 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 bustin’ 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
And it’s oh-oh come take my hand
We’re riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road
It’s lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it’s late but we can make it if we run
Oh 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 it ain’t free
I know you’re lonely in those words that I ain’t spoken
But tonight we’ll be free, all the promises will be broken
There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road in 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
From your room you hear their engines roar on
But when you get to the porch they’re gone on the wind, so Mary climb in
It’s a town full of losers and I’m pulling outta here to win