For years now, a hotly contested line in Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Thunder Road’ has led to disagreement amongst fans. While fans have been unable to determine whether the lyrics to the song are “Mary’s dress sways” or “Mary’s dress waves,” the singer’s manager recently settled the debate once and for all.
It’s “sways,” manager Jon Landau told The New Yorker.
“That’s the way he wrote it in his original notebooks, that 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,” added Landau, who co-produced Springsteen’s Born To Run album.
Debates surrounding the lyrical confusion are partly due to Springsteen’s own papers showing it written both ways. The New Yorker reported that the rocker’s website and songbook showed the lyrics as “waves” (though it appears to have since been changes to “sways” on the website). Meanwhile his memoir uses “sways”.
Springsteen announced in June that his self-titled Broadway residency would be returning to the stage for a limited 31-show run, ending in September. The production originally premiered on Broadway in 2017 and was awarded a special Tony Award the following year.
The lyrical confusion surrounding ‘Thunder Road’ is hardly the first of its kind. Similar situations have punctuated music history. Several years ago Ali Shaheed Muhammed of A Tribe Called Quest, ended a dispute over the chorus lyrics to ‘Electric Relaxation’. While fans were convinced that the lyrics were “relax yourself, girl, peace at hand/plan,” Muhammed revealed that the actual lyrics were “relax yourself, girl, please settle down”.