“…one particular night, not long after we’d first started going out, I picked her up at her parents’ place and watched in awe as she glided across the porch, dress shimmering in the moonlight, unknowingly acting out the opening lyrics to ‘Thunder Road.’”
Anyone familiar with Bruce Springsteen knows that Mary is a recurring character in his songs. From the first blush of young love in “Thunder Road” to the shotgun marriage of “The River” to the 9/11 widow in “The Rising,” Mary gets around. She’s even the Queen of Arkansas.
Mary is not the only woman Bruce sings about, of course. There’s Sandy, and Wendy, Candy, and Rosalita. Not to mention Crazy Janey.
And the Virgin Mary even makes the occasional cameo.
The conflicted feelings Bruce must have today when he sings the lyric “maybe we ain’t so young anymore,” written at the advanced of age of twenty-five, is a topic for another day.
(See also “Hope I Die Before I Get Old,” “What a Drag It Is Getting Old,” and “Will You Still Need Me When I’m Sixty-Four.”)
In “Traveler,” each character comes with a signature tune. It’s how Trav finds them across the streams.
“Thunder Road,” of course was a natural for Mary.
The question is, which came first? The character Mary or me wanting to reference “Thunder Road” and going with that name.
I have no idea. She’s always been Mary. And her song has always been “Thunder Road.”
I’m sure Bruce feels the same way.