Lyric Poetry Analysis

Bruce Springsteen
BIRTH DATE: September 23, 1949 (Age: 63)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Long Branch, New Jersey
Bruce Springsteen was raised in a working-class
family. He had a difficult relationship with his
father, but recognizes that "what would I have
written about without him? I mean, you can imagine
that if everything had gone great between us, we
would have had disaster. I would have written just
happy songs — and I tried it in the early '90s and it
didn't work… Anyway, I put on his work clothes and
I went to work. It was the way that I honored him.
By the late 1960s, Springsteen was spending most of his
time in Asbury Park, playing in several bands while he
forged his unique sound. It was there that he first met
the musicians who would later form his E Street Band.
Around this time, Springsteen also acquired his
nickname, "The Boss," because he had a habit of
collecting money earned during shows and then
distributing it evenly among his band mates.
Drawing heavily on Springsteen's New Jersey roots,
Born to Run offered larger-than-life characters, urban
romance and a rebellious spirit that captured the essence
of the American Dream.
The lyrics to “Thunder Road” describe a young
woman named Mary, her boyfriend, and their
"one last chance to make it real."
 The title phrase is not used until the middle
section of the song, and then is not used again.
 In this 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, although Springsteen never
saw the film, “only the poster in the lobby of the
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 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
Rhyme – every
other line and
then a couplet
 Simile – like a
vision, she’s not
even real
 Allusion to the
song Only the
 He subtly lets
her know his
intention as he
gently insults
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?
Rhyme continues
Suggestion that
something awful may
have happened in past
relationshipsmetaphors about what
she is doing to fill her
time or get over her
Allusion to “To the
Virgins” by Robert
Herrick or other
poems suggesting that
you shouldn’t wait to
“get on” with your life.
The only improvement
I can offer is inside the
car – so why not “go
for it?” Why not take
advantage of the
moment. What else
can we do??
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair
Well the nights 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
Heavens waiting on down the tracks
Oh-oh come take my hand
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 thunder road, sit tight take hold
Thunder road
Extended metaphor – he had
called her an angel earlier.
There is a promise that if she
“trades on wings for his wheels”
and gives up her “good girlangelic” image, she will discover
a new kinds of “heaven” just
down the tracks as they “ride
out to the promised land.” It’s a
come on to this girl.
Well I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk
And my cars 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
But tonight we’ll be free
All the promises’ll be broken
 Personification
of the guitar
 Almost like
saying if you
are ready to
take this
 The ride “ain’t
free” means it
comes with a
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
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they're gone
On the wind, so Mary climb in
Its a town full of losers
And I’m pulling out of here to win.
All the other boys are
losers….they are like
fantasies who you dropped
your graduation gown for.
But I’m the real deal. They
are long gone, but I won’t
be that loser.
This is his way of
persuading her to “go out”
with him, and all that
going out with him entails.
It will be more than a ride
in his car, that’s for sure.