Ballad of Thunder Road

Jim & Jesse

About Ballad of Thunder Road

"The Ballad of Thunder Road" is a song performed and co-written by actor Robert Mitchum in 1957, with music by composer Jack Marshall. It was the theme song of the movie Thunder Road. The song made the Billboard Hot 100 twice, in 1958 and 1962, and while it never peaked higher than #62, it racked up 21 total weeks in the chart. The song moves ominously between minor and major keys. It tells the tale of "Lucas Doolin" (Robert Mitchum), a bootlegger during the 1950s who would deliver moonshine along local roads at excessive speeds to avoid "revenuers". After receiving word (on April 1, 1954) that the revenuers had "200 agents, covering the state", Lucas' father advises him to "make this run your last", and that he should not attempt to outrun the revenuers, but if he could not get through safely, to turn himself in. However, Lucas ignores his father's request, and attempts to outrun the law, but fails to evade them and dies as a result (the last lines read: "Then right outside of Bearden, they made the fatal strike./He left the road at 90, that's all there is to say/The Devil got the moonshine and the mountain boy that day"). 


Year:
1994
88 Views

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Now let me tell a story, I can tell it all
About the mountain boy who ran illegal alcohol
His daddy made the whiskey, the son, he drove the load
And when his engine roared, they called the highway thunder road

Sometimes into Ashville, sometimes Memphis Town
The revenuers, they chased him, but they couldn't run him down
Each time they thought they had him, his engine would explode
He'd go by like they were standing still on thunder road

There was thunder, thunder over thunder road
Thunder was his engine and white lightning was his load
There was moonshine, moonshine to quench the devil's thirst
The law they swore they'd get him, but the devil got him first

On the first of April, 1954
The federal man sent word, he better make his run no more
He said 200 agents were covering the state
Whichever road he'd try to take, they'd get him sure as fate

“Son”, his daddy told him, “Now make this run your last
Your tank is filled with 100 proof, you're all tuned up and gassed
Now don't take any chances, if you can't get through
I'd rather have you back again than all that mountain dew”

There was thunder, thunder over thunder road
Thunder was his engine and white lightning was his load
There was moonshine, moonshine to quench the devil's thirst
The law they swore they'd get him, but the devil got him first

Roaring out of Harlan, revving up his mill
He shot the gap at Cumberland and screamed through Maynardville
With G-men on his tail light, roadblocks up ahead
The mountain boy took roads that even angels feared to tread

Blazing right through Knoxville, out on Kingston Pike
Then right outside of Bearden, there they made the fatal strike
He left the road at ninety, that's all there is to say
The devil got the moonshine and the mountain boy that day

There was thunder, thunder over thunder road
Thunder was his engine and white lightning was his load
There was moonshine, moonshine to quench the devil's thirst
The law they swore they'd get him, but the devil got him first

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Jim & Jesse

Jim & Jesse were an American bluegrass music duo composed of brothers Jim McReynolds (February 13, 1927 – December 31, 2002) and Jesse McReynolds (born July 9, 1929). The two were born and raised in Carfax, a community near Coeburn, Virginia. more »

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Written by: DON RAYE, ROBERT MITCHUM

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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