Bruce Springsteen’s fans have spent the better part of the last century trying to figure out the correct lyrics from a line on “Thunder Road,” a song from the singer’s 1975 album Born To Run. On the song, The Boss sings, “The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves/ Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays.”
Well, at least that’s what many believed Springsteen said on the Born To Run effort. For what it’s worth, those exact lyrics were included on the liner notes for Born To Run and on every official lyric sheet since the song’s release, but according to the singer’s longtime manager, those lyrics are incorrect.
Rather than “waves” as the lyrics state, Jon Landeau says “the word is ‘sways,’” per an email to The New Yorker’s David Remnick on Sunday. “Any typos in official Bruce material will be corrected.” Landeau added, “By the way, ‘dresses’ do not know how to ‘wave.’ That’s the way he wrote it in his original notebooks, that’s the way he sang it on Born To Run, in 1975, that’s the way he has always sung it at thousands of shows, and that’s the way he sings it right now on Broadway.”
To add to Landeau’s point, “sways” rather than “waves” was the word uses when Springsteen quoted the song in his 2016 autobiography, also titled Born To Run, which helped kick off the debate.