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Verse Chorus Verse: Bruce Springsteen – “Thundercrack”

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We continue our stroll down E Street with our hero one day closer to departing for Missouri to witness the E Street Band on back-to-back nights in St. Louis and Kansas City. We've unveiled the 20 songs he most wants to hear that he's not heard in his four previous E Street Band concerts. We've covered the three songs from that list he's guaranteed to get by virtue of Springsteen's announced intention to play Born To Run in St. Louis and Born in the U.S.A. in Kansas City. So, what have we for today? A wing and a prayer, is what.

One of the songs on that list we haven't chatted up yet is "Thundercrack." Many of you won't know it. It's not on an official Springsteen album but was played extensively in the early days of the band and was finally officially released on the archival set Tracks a few years ago.

I listened to all  four CDs on Tracks one day last week and was especially drawn to the first disc of the four. For a large segment of Camp Springsteen, his first four records are gold standards and the first two are held in especially high regard. Fans of Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ and The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle are going to be predisposed to loving that first disc because these are the songs that could have been, the songs that could have been on either of those records and there were some great ones that didn't make the final cut. If Columbia hadn't been giving Bruce the heebie jeebies he'd be dropped from the label if he didn't start selling some records, many of these might have made up Bruce's third record rather than what we now know as Born to Run. Things worked out okay for him, but it's crazy to think a stack of songs this great could sit in the vaults for 30 years waiting to be heard from again. "Thundercrack" might be the best of that bunch. It's certainly one of my favorites.

Not only is it a favorite, it's a song with a purpose and that purpose was set forth by Springsteen himself in an interview with MOJO in 1998 (published in Jan. 1999).

“The song ‘Thundercrack’ was something that we wrote as the showstopper. It ended three or four different times—you didn’t know where it was going to go. It was just a big, epic show-ender that was meant to leave the audience gasping a little bit for their breath—‘Hey, who was that guy? That was pretty good.’ That was ‘Rosalita’’s predecessor; later on, ‘Rosalita’ began to fill that spot in the show and held it for many, many years; probably the best song I ever wrote for that particular job. Before that, ‘Thundercrack’ had the same function."

We've got to have that one.

About Josh Hathaway

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    soooo great live. i could hardly believe my ears at that Magic show.

  • LOOSINSTLOU

    There’s a great live version of ‘Thundercrack’ from a 1973 L.A. show in the making of born to run DVD. Not only a show stopper, but somewhat hilarious.

  • eddie

    i’ve seen thundercrack a couple of times, it is a showstopper and in philly the other night it was a showstarter!