Thunder Road Days of Summer
The Rangers had a homecoming in Harlem late last night
And the magic rat drove his sleek machine over the jersey state line
Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge
Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain
The rat pulls into town rolls up his pants
Together they take a stab at romance and disappear down flamingo lane
“Jungleland” (Supertight black polo-era Bruce circa 1980)
Seriously, how good does this 9+ minute opus sound coming out of crappy car speakers or a jukebox after midnight? Lately, this epic about a pretty girl, a fast car, honorable thugs, nights spent getting into trouble and urban dreaming; and “Streets of Fire” are all I want to listen to as I’m walking to the light rail drinking a little afternoon beer.
Bruce has a way of telling his urban fairytales in a way that makes it feel like I have memories of the same things happening. I never really had summers the way Bruce describes them, but damn if he doesn’t hit the right core buttons that make me think I’ve seen that barefoot girl on the hood of a Dodge, or that I’ve spent my summers living like The Magic Rat. Maybe it’s because the story of Jungleland is a story I wish so badly I could have lived out in some way or shape when I was younger, that it makes me smile so much on these hot days. Living vicariously through The Boss. I still have Bruce when, inevitably, Oregon becomes overcast again in just a few short weeks. Thanks, Boss!
Bonus: Alternate version with bitchin’ “spoken word” style intro and the organ has the groove turned to 11.
I love that in the comments someone has suggested a musical about The Boss to heal our GDP. I mean, why not? Let’s pitch it.