Thunder

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Kreutzmann, Burbridge, Murawski, Billy Strings

One of the songs with lyrics by Robert Hunter played by Bill Kreutzmann, Oteil Burbridge and Scott Murawski as the BK3 in 2008 and 2009. See below for the 2021 Billy Strings version.

There is thunder in the morning
Thunder through the night
Thunder, thunder, thunder
In the fading of the light
In the fading of the light

There is thunder at the border
And thunder on the plain
Thunder, thunder, from the mountains
Without a hint of rain
Without a hint of rain

Thunder, thunder, thunder
My God but it's so loud
It's like a hundred cannons (note 1)
Shooting right above the crowd
Right into the ground
Right above the crowd

There is thunder on the battlefields
Thunder in the ranks
Thunder, thunder, in the whiskey jar
As we race to give our thanks
As we race to give our thanks

There is thunder in the gazes
Of soft and bluest eyes
Thunder, thunder in the phrases
Of politics and lies
Politics and lies

Thunder, thunder, thunder
My God but it's so loud
It's like ten thousand cannons
Firing right into the crowd
Shooting right into the crowd
Right into the crowd

There is thunder in the marketplace
Where goods are bought and sold
Thunder, thunder, in the mining pits
And in the fields of gold
And in the fields of gold

There is thunder in the government
Thunder in the court of law
Thunder, thunder, in the hall of mirrors
That breaks just like a jaw
That shatter like a jaw

Thunder, thunder, thunder
My God but it's so loud
It's like a million cannons
Firing right into the crowd
Right into the crowd
Right into the crowd
Right into the ground
Right into the ground
Notes
(1) the number of cannons in different version ranges through a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand and a million. In the next line it's sometimes "shooting" and sometimes "firing", and sometimes "right into the crowd" and sometimes "right above the crowd".

In 2021 Billy Strings modified the music for it and sang it with Billy & The Kids. He changed some of the lyrics slightly and added a couple of new verses at the end. Thanks to Gene Baran for help with the new lyrics - any further additions/corrections gratefully received.
There is thunder in the morning
Thunder through the night
Thunder, thunder, thunder
In the failing of the light

There is thunder at the border
And thunder on the plain
Thunder on the mountains
Without a hint of rain

Thunder, thunder, thunder
My God but it's so loud
Just like a hundred cannons
Firing right above the crowd

There is thunder in the battlefield
Thunder in the ranks
Thunder in the whiskey jar
As we race to give our thanks

There is thunder in the gazes
Of soft and bluest eyes
Thunder in the phrases
Of the politics of lies

Thunder, thunder, thunder
My God but it's so loud
Just like a thousand cannons
Firing right above the crowd

Thunder, thunder, thunder
My God but it's so loud
Just like a thousand cannons
Firing right into the crowd

There is thunder in the marketplace
Where goods are bought and sold
Thunder, thunder, in the mining pits
And in the hills of gold

Thunder in the government
And in the courts of law
Thunder in the hall of mirrors
That shatter like a [jaw/jar]

There's thunder, thunder, thunder
From [hill top?] to the sea (note 2)
In all the land down under
Where the wild creatures be

Thunder, thunder, thunder
For fifteen thousand years
We ploughed our fields with lightning
And we watered them with tears

Thunder, thunder, thunder
My God but it's so loud
Just like a thousand cannons
Firing right into the crowd

Thunder, thunder, thunder
My God but it's so loud
Just like a thousand cannons
Firing right into the crowd
(2) Lucas Pick points out that it sounds as if Billy Strings sometimes sing "From piss-pots to the sea"

Bill Kreutzmann gave this background:
Those treasured moments when Robert Hunter would share his lyrics with me, hoping I'd put them to use, he would never - ever - mention what they were about. He didn't give context or backstory; he didn't give any indication about a meaning, either on the surface or anything that might be lurking beneath it. The storyteller's job was to shed light and not to master.

For years, I've known that I wanted to perform "Thunder" with my band Billy & The Kids, and when Billy Strings RSVP'd to my birthday party, I saw how it would all come together: I sent him the lyrics, asked him to write new music for it, and within a day he called me back and left a voicemail with a demo that he had recorded right on his tour bus. By "demo," I mean, he played it directly into his iPhone. I instantly fell in love with it.

It felt like such a birthday gift to debut it with him and the Kids at Grateful Mahalo just a few weeks later, and I can't wait to play it with him and the't you agree?

 


Home | Find words/phrases| Find Song lyrics| Dead originals| Dead covers|