Bob's train-themed tune list

Posted by Bob Keller
on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In the battle of the railroad playlists here is my merry mix. These are all songs I have on my iPod though scattered in several playlists (no, the only railroad playlist I have are train sounds from old LPs). 

SAXON: The British metal band Saxon may have written the best song about a steam locomotive, ever!

B.T. EXPRESS: Nice, fast tempo song suggesting an express train. Gotta love the LP cover, too.

COWBOY TROY: Cowboy Troy has produced a signature tune for us all not to play chicken with a train.Or something like that.

The O'JAYS: A happy, upbeat song. Not really much to do with railroads, but who doesn't like the image of a train being the place for all the loving people to gather. Okay, maybe I over thought that. Still, a nice toe-tapper.

WARREN ZEVON: Warren Zevon has written one of only two songs I know that mention switching yards! 

BACHMANN-TURNER OVERDRIVE: I think this tune came out at the same time Trains magazine ran a story on Southern Pacific Fairbanks-Morse Train Masters that hauled San Francisco commuter trains. So I've always had a mental association with trains and this tune. 

RED SIMPSON: Close to 50 years after this song came out, Red Simpson's greatest fear (that the long hauls are gone) has yet to come about.

PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS: What can I say. I had no idea they did a railroad-themed song!

JONI MITCHELL: Yeah, yeah it's about love, but I enjoy the imagery of rickety trains and people sitting in a station awaiting the start of their journey.

THE MONKEES: All I'll say is that music by The Monkees has fared well over time.

DOOBIE BROTHERS: Fast-paced, great vintage trains in the music video.


LEAD BELLY: Many versions of the Rock Island line, I prefer this one because Lead Belly sounds like he's been around the block a few times unlike some of the more polished country, folk, or jazz singers.

BREWER & SHIPLEY: All these decades later I still have this amused notion of Amtrak's customer base being a bunch of stoners.

GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS: Okay, okay another love song. But this always sticks in my mind because of K-Tel running commercials for one of their music collections (of which this song was one of). The early 1970s commercial used imagery of a Penn Central Metroliner in it to suggest"he was leaving" on the Midnight Metroliner to Georgia. If he took Penn Central, he may not be home yet. Sigh. The junk that clutters up your mind ....

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: A safety warning for all transportation workers. Don't do your job lit up like a Christmas tree.

CAST OF ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: Give me a Free Astaire & Ginger Rogers DVD and I'm there. Stage musicals are something else. At least this is about the right train and the right railroad.

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