Springsteen Director Tunes “Thunder Road” Debate to “Sways” / “Waves”
A recent debate over the lyrics to a beloved Bruce Springsteen song has been settled by one of the rock legend’s closest collaborators.
The heated argument between Springsteen fans began on July 3 when New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman tweeted the opening lyrics to “Thunder Road” before a performance of Springsteen on Broadway, “Screen door slams, Mary’s dress rocks.”
Fans descended on the tweet, informing Haberman that Mary’s dress doesn’t “rock”, it “waves.” This has prompted fans of the pro “sways” camp to take his stand, with a recent Los Angeles Times article breaking down the heated debate unfolding on social networks.
Both sides of the “sways” / “waves” dispute had evidence in their favor: lyrics from the original gatefold from the 1975 album and the lyrics database on Springsteen’s official website show the lyrics as ” waves “, although handwritten lyrics sheets from the era touted” sways “, much like Springsteen’s own memoir. Born to run.
While Springsteen representatives declined to weigh in on the debate, and contributors like Steven Van Zandt were less than eager to provide clarification (“Oy vey! Get this Bruce lyric shit outta my feed”, he tweeted in response to a request), the director of Springsteen and Born to run co-producer Jon Landau resolved the debate with authority in an email to New Yorkeris David Remnick.
“The word is ‘balance’,” Landau wrote. “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 always sang it in thousands of shows, and that’s how he sings it on Broadway right now. Any typos in Bruce’s official material will be corrected.
Landau added: “And, by the way, ‘dresses’ don’t know how to ‘wave’.”
Variety reported that on Saturday afternoon, Springsteen’s official website still noted that “Mary’s dress waves” on the “Thunder Road” lyrics page; However, as of Sunday morning, this page has since been updated to indicate, in fact, that “Mary’s dress is swinging.”