It’s one thing what the printed version of lyrics say, and its another what you can actually hear on the record. For example, “Thunder Road,” Bruce Springsteen’s song from his iconic Born to Run album from 1975.
Actually, as Variety reports, a big debate among fans opened up whether the lyrics say, “Mary’s dress waves”, or “sways.” After a two-week national debate that threatened to turn into a civil war, as the entertainment business weekly puts it, the matter has been settled by Springsteen’s longtime manager Jon Landau, who co-produced Born to Run.
Landau told New Yorker magazine that the word is sways and that “any typos in official Bruce material will be corrected.”
“By the way, ‘dresses’ do not know how to ‘wave’,” Landau said in summation.
Landau further elaborated on “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.”
And as Variety adds, that is the way Springsteen rendered it when he quoted “Thunder Road” in his 2016 autobiography, at which point reasonable doubt began to enter the minds of those who’d maintained that the original album jacket couldn’t have gotten it wrong.