For nearly half a century, anyone who trusts lyrics sheets and official artist websites has been certain of one thing: in Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road”, Mary’s dress ripples, and she never lasts. don’t swing. No matter what some people might think they hear him sing, it’s been written, from the lyrics included with the original 1975 vinyl pressing to those still released on the artist’s website in July 2021. “Waves” was not a perfect rhyme with “plays”, but Springsteen was never obsessed with perfection. Would the guy leaning on Clarence Clemons shoulder mislead us, in writing?
This confidence in print turns out to have been misplaced. After a two-week nationwide debate that threatened to turn into a civil war, the case was settled, not quite by Springsteen himself, but by his longtime manager Jon Landau, who co-produced the album. ” Born to Run “.
“The word is ‘balance’,” Landau told The New Yorker’s David Remnick, who contacted him by email to settle the case.
As for how that always got printed on the album cover – and in the lyrics section of her boss / client’s website?
“All typos in Bruce’s official documents will be corrected,” Landau said. (Indeed, shortly after this article was published on Saturday evening, the website was changed to use the word “sways.” A screenshot of the page with “waves” from Saturday afternoon appears below. below.)
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To anyone who had believed otherwise for all these decades, the manager didn’t sound particularly likable. “By the way, ‘dresses’ don’t know how to ‘wave’,” Landau said in summary.
Ahem, yes, exactlysay the pro “sway” hordes who have always insisted that they can trust their own ears on printed materials, and that the fabric of the dress clearly does not have a ripple quality. What the other party could have counter-argued: what is does the Star-Spangled Banner do, yet?
(And really, isn’t one or the other reasonable? waving, like the flag, if in response to a breeze, but sway if she’s more subject to the combination of gravitational forces and Mary’s shifting posture as she contemplates the offer of a trip across the country in an admittedly dirty car that may not have air conditioning?)
Anyway, Landau developed more on “sways”: “This is the way he wrote it in his original notebooks, this is the way he sang it on ‘Born to Run ‘, in 1975, that’s the way he’s always sung it at thousands of shows, and that’s how he sings it on Broadway right now. ” And, he might have added, this is how Springsteen put it when he quoted “Thunder Road” in his 2016 autobiography, at which point a reasonable doubt began to enter the minds of those who had argued that everyone should have some faith in the original album cover to get it right. Yet he has been fake – as fake as a fan’s rushed transcription of a new hip-hop album on Genius.com on a Thursday night.
In case anyone is wondering why this became a serious national issue in the summer of 21, you can thank Maggie Haberman of the New York Times, who knows serious national concerns. She apparently hadn’t recognized this one as such before, however, when she attended “Springsteen on Broadway” on July 3 and innocently tweeted which turned out to be the correct “swing” line, instantly enraging about half of America, as some Haberman tweets used to do.
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The firestorm continued on social media for nearly two weeks before Los Angeles Times collaborator Rob Tannenbaum published one of the most compelling investigative journalism articles in the music space since the Jim DeRogatis reporting on R. Kelly. Tannenbaum’s investigations, however, led to a “Rashomon” -ic stalemate. The writer noted that two years ago Sotheby’s auctioned off Springsteen’s original handwritten lyrics, which read: “Screen door slams Anne’s dress swings,” which sounded revealing, but also lifted. the question of whether to trust a guy who had promised both Anne and Marie, he would take them away. The artists who covered the song over the years have always sung “waves,” and Melissa Etheridge, who duet it with Springsteen on “MTV Unplugged,” told The Times she discussed the lyrics with him and “he would have told me if it weren’t for waves. ‘ He would have said, ‘You sing badly, honey.’ It is therefore indeed “waves”. Outstanding country star Eric Church, who also covers the song often: “” Sways “ is sexier. “Assessing the available empirical evidence, Tannenbaum firmly concluded:” Springsteen is not one of the great enunciators of rock. “
Meanwhile, Steven Van Zandt, who could have come up to the rescue, and who speaks out on so many topics on Twitter, had found one he considered below him. In response to questions, the guitarist of the E Street Band wrote: “Oy vey. Get these Bruce’s lyrics — out of my stream!”
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The Springsteen camp had declined to comment on the Los Angeles Times article two days ago, indicating that the man himself may have preferred to leave the mystery behind. But when it’s New Yorker editor David Remnick himself emailing Jon Landau, it’s easier to get a definitive answer. And, now that longed-for answer is no longer blown (or swaying, or whatever) in the wind.
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Mary could not be reached for comment, on this or not being particularly beautiful.
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