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Bruce Springsteen’s manager settled a dispute over the text of ‘Thunder Road’ and corrected all references

For nearly half a century, anyone familiar with song lyrics and official artist websites has been one thing for sure: in Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road,” Mary’s dress blows and it doesn’t sway. No matter what some people might think they heard him sing, it was written right there, from the lyrics that were in the original 1975 vinyl press to the ones that were still on the website in July 2021 published by the artist. “Waves” wasn’t a perfect rhyme with “games,” but Springsteen was never obsessed with perfection. Would the guy leaning on Clarence Clemons’ shoulder be misleading us in writing?

This trust in the printed word turns out to be out of place. After a two-week national debate that threatened to lead to civil war, the matter was not entirely settled by Springsteen himself, but by longtime manager Jon Landau, who co-produced the “Born to Run” album.

“The word is ‘sways,'” Landau told New Yorker David Remnick, who emailed him to settle the matter.

How it was always printed on the album cover – and in the text area of ​​the website of his boss / client?

“Every typo in the official Bruce material will be corrected,” Landau said. (In fact, shortly after this article was published on Saturday night, the website was changed to use the word “sways.” A screenshot of the “Waves” page from Saturday afternoon is shown below.)

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The manager didn’t sound particularly likeable to anyone who had believed otherwise over the decades. “By the way, ‘clothes’ cannot ‘wave’”, Landau sums up.

Um, yes, exactlysay the pro “sway” hordes who have insisted all along that they can trust their own ears about printed materials and that clothing fabrics are clearly not wave quality. What the other side might have contradicted: What? is does the Star-Spangled Banner do it again?

A longstanding debate over a Bruce Springsteen song was settled by its manager.

A longstanding debate over a Bruce Springsteen song was settled by its manager.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / AP)

(And really, aren’t both sensible? Maybe wavinghow the flag when responding to a breeze, however wavering if she’s more exposed to the combination of gravitational forces and Mary’s shifting posture when considering the offer of an overland move in an admittedly dirty car that may not have air conditioning?)

In any case, Landau continued on “sways”: “That’s how he wrote it in his original notebooks, that’s how he sang it on ‘Born to Run’ in 1975, that’s how he sang it on thousands of shows, and that’s how he sings it now on Broadway. ” And he could have added that Springsteen put it that way when quoting “Thunder Road” in his 2016 autobiography, and at that point reasonable doubts began to rise in the minds of those who claimed everyone should have a little faith original album sleeve to get it right. But it was wrong – as wrong as a fan’s rushed transcription of a new hip-hop album on on a Thursday night.

In case anyone wonders why this became a serious national problem in the summer of ’21, thank Maggie Haberman of the New York Times for who White serious national concerns. However, she had apparently not recognized this as such when she visited “Springsteen on Broadway” on July 3 and was innocent tweeted What turned out to be the right line of “Sways” immediately enraged about half of America, as do some Haberman tweets.


The firestorm lasted nearly two weeks on social media before Rob Tannenbaum of the Los Angeles Times published one of the most compelling pieces of investigative journalism in music since Jim DeRogatis’ R. Kelly coverage. Tannenbaum’s research, however, led to a “Rashomon” -ic impasse. The author noted that two years ago Sotheby’s auctioned Springsteen’s original handwritten texts that read, “The Screen Door Slams Anne Dress Sways,” which, while instructive, raised the question of trusting a man who had both promised Anne and He would take her away from Mary. Artists who have covered the song over the years help keep them singing “Waves,” and Melissa Etheridge, who sang it as a duet with Springsteen on “MTV Unplugged,” told The Times she got the lyrics back then discussed with him and “he would have told me if it hadn’t been” Wellen “. ‘ He would have said, ‘You sing it wrong, honey.’ So it’s definitely ‘waves’. “Declared country star Eric Church, who has also covered the melody many times:” ‘Sways’ is sexier. “In evaluating the available empirical evidence, Tannenbaum firmly concluded,” Springsteen is not one of the great publishers of rock. “

In the meantime, Steven Van Zandt, who could have ridden to the rescue and who commented on so many topics on Twitter, had found one he thought was private. The guitarist of the E Street Band responded to inquiries wrote: “Oy vey. Get this Bruce-Lyric s — from my feed!”


Springsteen’s camp had declined to comment for the Los Angeles Times article two days ago, suggesting the man himself may prefer to keep the secret. But when it’s New York editor David Remnick himself emailing Jon Landau, it’s easier to get a definitive response. And now that long-awaited answer is no longer blowing in the wind (or swaying or whatever).


Mary could not be reached for an opinion, as to whether she is not particularly nice on it.

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