The long mystery over the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen‘s 1975 Born To Run opener has finally been put to rest, according to Rolling Stone. Back on July 3rd, noted New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman was waiting for “The Boss” to begin that night’s Springsteen On Broadway appearance she tweeted the opening line to the classic, posting: “A screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways.” Before long, Springsteen die-hards were both condemning or defending the tweet — with many slagging Haberman for incorrectly stating the dress actually “sways” rather than “waves.”
Now, there is wiggle room for both augments. On the original album and Springsteen’s official online lyric database, the lyric states the dress “waves.” That said, both Springsteen’s original lyric sheet and his 2016 memoir, Born To Run, tout the lyric as “sways.”
Springsteen’s longtime manager and Born To Run co-producer Jon Landau finally settled the confusion over the lyric, sending an email to The New Yorker’s David Remnick, in which he wrote: “The word is ‘sways.’ 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. Any typos in official Bruce material will be corrected. And, by the way, ‘dresses’ do not know how to ‘wave.'”
The Born To Run album was Bruce Springsteen’s third collection, and the first to feature a more pared back and dramatic style of lyric writing, dispensing of the bombastic “word salad” featured on his first two albums: “What I kept stripping away was cliche, cliche. I just kept stripping it down until it started to feel emotionally real.”
Bruce Springsteen will resume his Springsteen On Broadway run on August 17th, at Manhattan’s St. James Theatre.