Music Monday: Making Things Right, Nearly Fifty Years Later

It’s my favorite song of all time, and I sing along with it every time I hear it.

In fact, one of my blog posts features the one and only solo singing performance of my life. In case you missed it (it’s from 2017, so most readers have not seen it), here it is again:

If that doesn’t make you feel better about yourself, I don’t know what will…

Anyway, I never knew that in the nearly 50 years I have been singing the song. I had part of the lyrics wrong.

I sang the first line with these words:

The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves

In my mind, I could picture Mary opening the screen door and see her dress fluttering in the wind. For me, it was an iconic image.

Well as it turns out, one of those words, the bolded one, is incorrect.

But I was not alone in my error.

In fact, on both Springsteen’s official Web site and in his songbook, the word is/was “waves.”

But New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who recently attended Springsteen’s newly reopened Broadway show tweeted the following, and started a furious national debate:

Was the word “waves” or was it “sways”?

After much back and forth on Twitter, New Yorker editor David Remnick entered the debate by emailing longtime Springsteen collaborator and manager Jon Landau, co-producer of “Born to Run.”

“Short of Springsteen himself, no one could answer the question more definitively than Landau,” Remnick wrote.

The word is ‘sways,’ ” Landau wrote back. “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.’ “

And here is some pretty good proof, the handwritten lyrics from Springsteen’s original notebook which Landau mentions. The handwritten lyrics were auctioned off a couple of years ago by Sotheby’s for $62,500.

So now everything is all right with the world, and all errors have been corrected.

Except one.

But don’t worry; I have no plans to redo my video with the correct lyrics…

And let me leave you with a classic version of this classic song

Sources:

63 thoughts on “Music Monday: Making Things Right, Nearly Fifty Years Later

  1. Maybe Mary needs to put more starch in her laundry.
    Thank you for that video of your singing. You’ve convinced me never to do such a thing, myself. Actually, your voice is better than mine, even though that’s not saying much.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have a great idea. I can play a kazoo. I think we could do a fantastic two-man show, with you singing and juggling, while I accompany you on the kazoo, and juggle.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Personally, I LOVED watching you sing this one! I liked it better than Springstein’s! (Remember, I only have less than 10% of my hearing, so perhaps my opinion doesn’t count for much). It was great to see and hear you! ENCORE!!! ENCORE!!! Do you think you could maybe do a little Stevie Wonder number?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Definitely ‘sways’ – it wouldn’t rhyme with ‘plays,’ otherwise. Brave of you to take it on – now that you know the right lyrics I’m looking forward to a full length, full band version. Maybe your good lady can play the harmonica part? And I can’t say I’m surprised that your all time favourite is one of his songs 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good point about the rhyming; that makes sense. I am sure I picked up waves by reading the official lyrics that had it that way.

      I think I’ve brought enough shame to the Borden name with one song, no need to try another one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kudos to you for singing on camera. I’d never do it. (But I’m doing you a favor on that.)

    I always heard “sways” for the lyric. Funny; I didn’t realize it was even up for debate. Cool about the written notes, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Funny how we sing what we think we hear and never worry too much whether it makes sense or not. Let’s face it, many lyrics don’t make sense unless you’ve been let in.
    It was lovely to hear you sing. Next time, do it with the backing track. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think you’ll be drowned out, just supported and enhanced.
        I would have to say that I’d rather not understand many of the lyrics. 😂

        Like

  6. like a beat poet, you begin with the spoken word, falling into song and a classic cover! you are brave if nothing else. so funny about the lyrics, I really get that. my friend always sang, ‘I’m not talkin’ bout doin’ the linen’ and I don’t want to change your life….’ but found out much later it was actually, ‘I’m not talkin’ bout movin’ in…” ah-well )

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! You are brave. I am impressed. 🙂

    I have messed up words before too. It was a real popular song and I can’t think of it now but will let you know. It does seem strange now after all the years of singing it the way I thought it was!

    Liked by 1 person

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