Thunder Island – Jay Ferguson | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#9); 1978

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

One of the ’70’s “one hit wonders” wasn’t really one at all. In fact, he was technically a “three hit wonder” as we shall see. First up was I Got A Line On You by Spirit: a California fusion outfit that featured Jay on lead vocals.

After several successful albums and two more chart singles, Jay co-founded Jo Jo Gunne. With Gunn he placed at #27 on the 1972 Top 40 with Run Run Run and contributed vocals plus keyboards to two Top 100 albums.

When Jo Jo Gunn disbanded, Jay struck out on his own. All Alone In The End Zone moved Jay into the slick California rock/pop camp of the mid-1970’s, and Thunder Island cemented his new sound.

Powered by guitar riffs from Joe Walsh, the title tune – inspired by a real life experience involving Jay’s future wife – lit up the spring of 1978 and gave Jay (finally!) a Top 10 hit. After his solo career ran its course, Jay composed music for movies (The Terminator) and TV (The Office).

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Bill Szymczyk

Lyrics Written by:

  • Jay Ferguson