Trains have been a part of America’s transportation history for more than 150 years. In fact, before the turn of the century, the majority of Americans traveled by train to get from one place to another. Trains can be romantic and nostalgic as well as utilitarian and practical. They’re also a good way to see some scenery on your trip! One great thing about trains is that there are so many songs written about them! Here are 20 popular ones.
Long Train Runnin’ – The Doobie Brothers
“Long Train Runnin'” is a song by the Doobie Brothers. It was written by Tom Johnston and released on the band’s 1973 album The Captain and Me. The song was the group’s first hit, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Some people believe the song is about a girl called Linda, but Johnston has stated that it’s about a cocaine dealer. Its lyrics are about a man who’s on the run from a long list of gangsters.
Downbound Train – Bruce Springsteen
Downbound Train is a song by Bruce Springsteen that was released in 1985 as the seventh track on the album Born in the U.S.A. The song was written by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau. It is about a man who is reflecting on his life and how it has led him to this point. He talks about how he’s been “running on the downbound train” his entire life and how there’s no turning back now. Its lyrics are about a man who is a loser and has nothing going for him. It contains the line “I got debts no honest man can pay” which was later used in the song Dead Man Walking by Sting. In 1985, Bruce Springsteen frequently sang this song during his performance at Live Aid.
Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight And The Pips
There’s just something about trains that inspires musicians to write songs about them. The Midnight Train to Georgia is no exception. Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded this soulful ballad in 1973, and it has been a favorite ever since. The song tells the story of a woman who is leaving her hometown for good and heading to Atlanta. She’s sad to be leaving her loved ones behind, but she’s also excited about the new chapter in her life that awaits her. The Midnight Train to Georgia is one of the most iconic train songs ever written, and it’s sure to get your toes tapping!
Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues is one of the most famous songs about trains. Written in 1955, the song tells the story of a man who is on his way to prison. He talks about the different things he’s going to miss, including his girl and his home. The song has been covered by many different artists over the years, and it’s a classic that will always be remembered. Its lyrics are about life in prison, but it’s not hard to imagine them also serving as a metaphor for the difficulties of life.
Peace Train – Cat Stevens
“Peace Train” is a song by Cat Stevens, released in 1971. The song reached number three on the UK Singles Chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is about the need for peace in the world and was inspired by the Vietnam War. Its lyrics are about a train full of unhappy people who need to find peace. It’s a catchy tune that is easy-to-learn and fun to sing along with which makes it an excellent choice for a karaoke song!
Stop This Train – John Mayer
“John Mayer – Stop This Train” is a bluesy ballad about the narrator’s regrets. The song is about a man who is on his deathbed and reflecting on his life. He wishes he had spent more time with his loved ones and wishes he had taken more risks. The song is a plea to God to stop time so that the narrator can have another chance.
The lyrics are incredibly moving and the song has been covered by many artists, including Train, Damien Rice, and James Blunt. It’s a beautiful song that will make you think about your own life and how you want to spend the time you have left.
Love Train – The O’jays
The O’Jays were one of the most successful soul groups of the 1970s, and their song “Love Train” is a classic that still gets played today. The song was written by the group’s lead singer, Eddie Levert, and it talks about how love can bring people together and help them overcome any obstacle. The lyrics are positive and upbeat, and the song is sure to get your feet moving. Many songs have been written about trains, but “Love Train” is truly one of the best.
Wabash Cannonball – Carter Family
The Carter Family’s “Wabash Cannonball” is a country classic that tells the story of a train traveling from coast to coast. The song was first recorded in 1927 and has been covered by many artists over the years. It’s no surprise that this song is so popular, as trains have always been a huge part of American culture. Whether you’re taking the train to work or traveling across the country, there’s something special about trains that has captured the imaginations of people for centuries. Thanks for “Wabash Cannonball” for capturing that magic!
Runaway Train – Soul Asylum
“Runaway Train” is a song by American rock band Soul Asylum. It was released in 1993 as the lead single from their album Grave Dancers Union. The song was written by lead vocalist Dave Pirner, and was inspired by a newspaper article about a man who had escaped from a mental institution and was on the run.
The song became Soul Asylum’s biggest hit, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It was also nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year and won the award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
Freight Train – Elizabeth Cotten
Elizabeth Cotten was born in 1895 and learned how to play the guitar at a young age. When she was just 11 years old, she wrote her famous song “Freight Train”. The song is about a man who is leaving his lover to go work on the railroad. He tells her that he’ll be back soon and promises to write her letters. The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including Pete Seeger, Odetta, and Bruce Springsteen.
Dixie Flyer – Randy Newman
Randy Newman wrote the song “Dixie Flyer” about a train that runs between New Orleans and Detroit. The song is nostalgic, with lyrics like “I’m gonna take the Dixie Flyer/And ride all night long/I’m gonna take the Dixie Flyer/To see my girl in Detroit.” It’s a beautiful song, and it’s no wonder that it has become a classic. Its lyrics are about a guy who misses his girl but knows that she’s waiting for him. He has to be back on the train by 5 AM, so he doesn’t have a lot of time to get things done before going out of town.
Rock n Roll Train – AC/DC
Rock N Roll Train is a song by Australian rock band AC/DC. It was released as the second single from their 2008 album Black Ice. The song was written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, and Brian Johnson.
The song is about a man who is on a “rock n roll train” and can’t get off. The man is happy to be on the train and doesn’t want to get off, even though it’s going too fast for him.
The Train – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
The song “The Train” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is a moving song about the struggles of life. The lyrics talk about how the train is a symbol of hope and escape for many people. The song talks about how the train can take people away from their struggles and help them find a new life. Its lyrics are about how the train symbolizes another life and new opportunities. It makes mention of how people are often protected by some higher power through difficult times, but they can also find refuge on the train.
C’mon N’ Ride It (the train) – Quad City Dj’s
“C’mon n’ ride it (the train)” was released in 1996 by the quad city dj’s and became an instant hit. The song is about a man who is trying to convince a woman to come and ride the train with him. He talks about how fun and exciting it is and how there’s always something new to see. The song has been used in several commercials and movies, and it’s easy to see why- it’s a catchy and fun song that anyone can enjoy!
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” is one of the most well-known songs about trains. Released in 1980, the song was written by Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, and Bob Daisley. It tells the story of a person who is on a “crazy train” and can’t get off. The song has been covered by many artists over the years and has become an iconic rock song. Its lyrics are about a journey that might be a metaphor for mental illness. Many songs have been written about trains over the years, so here are 19 songs that mention train or railroads in their lyrics!
Last Train To London – Electric Light Orchestra
Last Train to London by Electric Light Orchestra is a classic song about trains. Released in 1978, the song tells the story of a man who is on his way to London and is reflecting on his life. The song was a huge hit and was even featured in the movie Xanadu. Its lyrics are about how one is young, but there are so many adventures to be had in the world. Some people just never get to see them and they will always regret that.
Last Train To Clarksville – The Monkees
The Monkees were an American pop rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1966. The band was made up of four members: Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones. The band is best known for their television show, which aired on NBC from 1966 to 1968. The Monkees also had a successful music career, with their first album reaching number one on the Billboard 200 chart.
One of the band’s most popular songs is “Last Train to Clarksville”. The song was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart and released as a single in 1966. “Last Train to Clarksville” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was also certified gold by the RIA.
Downtown Train – Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart’s Downtown Train is a classic love song about a man who is pining for a woman he sees on the train every day. He describes how he can’t get her out of his head, and wishes that he could be with her. The song is beautiful and timeless, and it’s no wonder that it has become a classic. Its lyrics are about longing and obsession, and the song’s trademark whistling at the end will stick with listeners long after it ends.
Train Kept A Rollin – Aerosmith
There’s no doubt that one of the greatest rock bands of all time is Aerosmith. They’ve been around since the 1970s and have released countless hit songs. One of their most famous tracks is “Train Kept a Rollin'” which is all about trains! Released in 1975, the song was written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry and is one of Aerosmith’s most popular live songs. Its lyrics are about the locomotive and the lyrics “I like smoke and lightning/Heavy metal thunder/Racin’ with the wind/And the feelin’ that I’m under ” could apply to any sort of transportation, not just trains.