Train in Vain

Infobox Single
Name = Train in Vain


Artist = The Clash
from Album = London Calling
B-side = "London Calling"
Released = Start date|1980|2|12
Format = 7" vinyl
Recorded = 1979 at Wessex Studios, London, England
Genre = Punk rock
Length = 3:12
Label = CBS 50851
Writer = Joe Strummer and Mick Jones
Producer = Guy Stevens
Certification =
Last single = "Clampdown"
(1980)
This single = "Train in Vain"
(1980)
Next single = "Bankrobber"
(1980)
Misc = Extra musicsample
filename = Clash-Train in Vain.ogg
title = Train in Vain
format = Ogg
Type = single
"Train in Vain (Stand by Me)" is a song from the album "London Calling" (1979) by the British punk rock band The Clash. The song was not originally listed on the album's track listing,cite web |url=http://www.blender.com/guide/articles.aspx?id=299 |title=The Greatest Songs Ever! “Train in Vain (Stand by Me) ” Article on Blender :: The Ultimate Guide to Music and More |accessdate=2007-12-02 |last=Black |first=Johnny |year=2002 |month=05 |format=ASPX |publisher=Blender |quote=a, b) Thrown together at the last minute in the dying hours of sessions for the Clash’s classic 1980 album, London Calling, “Train in Vain (Stand by Me) ” was not even listed on the record’s cover. It was the Clash song that almost wasn’t, but it turned out to be the one that brought the band into the Top 30 for the first time.
c) “Train in Vain,” written in one night and recorded the next day, was initially going to be given away as a promotion with the British rock magazine New Musical Express. Only after that failed to happen did the band consider the song for inclusion on the album.
d) As Wessex Studios’ manager and house engineer Bill Price points out, “Train in Vain” was “the last song we finished after the artwork went to the printer. A couple of Clash Web sites describe it as a hidden track, but it wasn’t intended to be hidden. The sleeve was already printed before we tacked the song on the end of the master tape.”
e) The meaning of the song’s title is equally obscure. Sometimes it seems as if every little boy who once dreamed of growing up to be a train engineer became a songwriter instead. With the Clash, however, things are never quite what they seem — and no train is mentioned in the song. Mick Jones, who wrote most of it, offers a prosaic explanation: “The track was like a train rhythm, and there was, once again, that feeling of being lost.”
f) Another curious aspect of “Train in Vain,” given the Clash’s political stance and reputation for social consciousness, is that it’s a love song, with an almost country-and-western lyric that echoes Tammy Wynette’s classic weepie “Stand by Your Man.”
g) If the Clash were hard-line British punks who despised America as much as their song “I’m So Bored With the U.S.A.” suggested, why did “Train in Vain” have such a made-in-the-U.S.A. feel? Strummer has admitted that despite the band’s anti-American posturing, much of its inspiration came from this side of the Atlantic Ocean. “I was drenched in blues and English R&B as a teenager,” the singer says. “Then I went to black American R&B with my [pre-Clash] group the 101ers. Mick had heard a lot of that stuff too, and he had this extra dimension of the glam/trash New York Dolls/Stooges scene.”
h, i) “Train in Vain” ... has become a Clash standard, covered by artists as diverse as EMF, Dwight Yoakam, Annie Lennox and Third Eye Blind. Its influence crops up elsewhere, too: Listening to “Train in Vain” and Garbage’s “Stupid Girl” in succession makes clear where Garbage drummer and producer Butch Vig located “Stupid Girl” ’s distinctive drum loops.
] cite web |url=http://wm01.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&token=&sql=33:kjfpxcuhldae |title=Train in Vain |accessdate=2007-12-04 |last=Janovitz |first=Bill |authorlink=Bill Janovitz |work=Song Review |publisher=All Music Guide |quote=a, b) Despite being hidden — it was originally not listed on the sleeve, for the band felt it was too commercial (imagine any late-'90s " alternative" bands taking a similar stance) — "Train in Vain" cracked the Top 40 in the U.S. This was remarkable in 1980 for a so-called punk rock band. The song was literally the hidden gem of the master-stroke London Calling.
d, e, f) Masters of pale pop Third Eye Blind recorded a weak sugar-coated, suburban hip-hop version in an ill-advised " tribute" on Burning London: The Clash Tribute (1999), which is almost a disaster from start to finish. On the other hand, on her 1995 album Medusa, Annie Lennox manages to pull off what Third Eye Blind seemed to be attempting: a soulful, dance-beat cover of the song. The differences are that Lennox can actually sing and the production and arrangement are thought-out and well-crafted. In addition, Dwight Yoakam turns in a fine, countrified rendition on Under the Covers (1997).
] appearing as a secret track at the end of the album. This was unintentional however, as the reason for it was that the track was added to the record at the last minute, when the sleeve was already in production. It was the first Clash song to crack the United States Top 30 charts and in 2004, the song was ranked number 292 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. [cite web |url=http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/500songs/page/3 |title=The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time |accessdate=2007-11-22 |date=2004-12-09 |publisher=RollingStone |quote=292. Train in Vain, The Clash ] cite web |url=http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/6596137/train_in_vain |title=Train in Vain The Clash |accessdate=2007-11-22 |date=2004-12-09 |work=The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time |publisher=Rolling Stone |quote="Train In Vain" was the hidden track at the end of the Clash's London Calling, unlisted on the sleeve or on the label. It didn't even have a proper title; fans initially assumed it was called "Stand by Me," after the chorus. But it became a surprise U.S. hit, with hard-charging drums and weary vocals from guitarist Jones, who wrote the bitter love song in his grandmother's flat. ]

In the U.S., the song's title is expanded to "Train in Vain (Stand By Me)"; the words 'stand by me' dominate the chorus. It was titled "Train in Vain" in part to avoid confusion with Ben E. King's signature song "Stand By Me".

Origins

The song was written in one night and recorded the next day, near the very end of the recording for "London Calling". It was initially intended to be given away as a promotion with the British rock magazine "New Musical Express".cite journal |date=March 16, 1991 |title=The Uncut Crap - Over 56 Things You Never Knew About The Clash |journal=NME |volume=3 |pages= |publisher=IPC Magazines |location=London |issn=0028-6362 |oclc=4213418 |accessdate=2007-12-11 |quote="Train In Vain" isn't listed on the sleeve credits for "London Calling" because it was originally going to be a flexi give-away with NME. Unfortunately, the idea proved too expensive and the track went on the LP instead.
Related news articles:
*cite web |url=http://londonsburning.org/art_nme_03_16_91.html |title=The Uncut Crap - Over 56 Things You Never Knew About The Clash - NME March 16, 1991 |accessdate=2007-12-11 |last=Peterson |first=Tami |publisher=londonsburning.org ]

"Train in Vain" was added after the deal for The Clash to write a song for an NME flexi disc fell through, and as Mick Jones commented “The real story on "Train In Vain" is that originally we needed a song to give to the NME for a flexi disk that NME was going to do. And then it was decided that it didn't work out or decided the flexi disk didn't work out so we had this spare track we had done as a giveaway. So we put it on London Calling but there wasn't time because the sleeves were already done.”cite episode |title=MTV Rockumentary |credits=Interviewer: Unknown; Presenter: Kurt Loder |network=MTV |city=London, England |airdate= |began= |ended= |season= |number= |minutes= |transcripturl=http://www.londonsburning.org/art_mtv_rockumentary_2.html
Related news articles:
*cite web |url=http://www.londonsburning.org/art_mtv_rockumentary_2.html |title=MTV Rockumentary Part 2 |accessdate=2007-12-06 |publisher=londonsburning.org |quote=The real story on "Train In Vain" is that originally we needed a song to give to the NME for a flexi disk that NME was going to do. And then it was decided that it didn't work out or decided the flexi disk didn't work out so we had this spare track we had done as a giveaway. So we put it on London Calling but their wasn't time because the sleeves were already done. ] The result of its late addition was that it was the only song without lyrics printed on the insert, and was not listed as a track.

Meaning and inspiration

When "London Calling" was released, many fans assumed it was called "Stand by Me", but the meaning of the song's title is obscure because no train is mentioned in the lyric. Mick Jones, who wrote most of it, offered this explanation: "The track was like a train rhythm, and there was, once again, that feeling of being lost."

"Train in Vain" is a love song, [cite journal |last=Caws |first=Matthew |authorlink=Matthew Caws |year=1995 |month=12 |title=Mick Jones |journal=Guitar World |volume=12 |publisher=Harris |location=New York |issn=1045-6295 |oclc=7982091 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |quote= Guitar World: You wrote the love songs.
Mick Jones: (laughs) We never did any!
GW: What do you call "Train In Vain?
Mick: Oh yeah, apart from that one. (laughs)

Related news articles:
*cite web |url=http://londonsburning.org/art_guitar_world_12_95.html |title=Guitar World December 1995 |accessdate=2007-12-06 |publisher=londonsburning.org
] with an almost country-and-western lyric that echoes Tammy Wynette’s classic, "Stand by Your Man." The guitar riff, in part, resemble the J.J. Jackson's 1966 UK/American hit single "But It's Alright."

To any fan of Robert Johnson, the song title to "Train in Vain" is an obvious nod to Johnson's "Love in Vain", a frequently covered blues classic, about a man who sees his lady off to the train, who then departs without him.

The song has been interpreted by some as a response to "Typical Girls" by The Slits, which mentions girls standing by their men. Writer Mick Jones split up with Slits guitarist Viv Albertine shortly before he wrote the song. [cite web |url=http://arts.guardian.co.uk/filmandmusic/story/0,,2198757,00.html |title=Marcus Gray on the ongoing pop influence of 'Stand By Me' - Guardian Unlimited Arts |accessdate=2007-12-03 |last=Gray |first=Marcus |date=2007-10-26 |work=Arts |publisher=Guardian Unlimited |quote=In 1979, the Slits released their highly idiosyncratic avant-punk dub single Typical Girls. The titular girls worry about clothes, spots, fat and smells, and conform to one of two stereotypes: either they're femme fatales or they're downtrodden drudges who "stand by their men", a reference to the Tammy Wynette song.
Typical Girls stalled at No 60 in the UK, but one man paying attention was Mick Jones of the Clash. His volatile relationship with Slits guitarist Viv Albertine had recently come to an end, leaving him distraught. His band's third album, London Calling, was nearly complete, but he was inspired to write a last-minute addition. It opens with the line, "You say you stand by your man ..." - a misreading of Typical Girls, wilful or otherwise - and its oft-repeated chorus is, "You didn't stand by me, no, not at all." Lyrically, then, it follows a chain of reference back to both Wynette and King, and offers a negative echo of both: the "walls come tumbling down", and the jilted protagonist can't be happy or keep "the wolves at bay" without the woman's love and support.
]

Cover versions

"Train in Vain" has become an influential and well-known Clash song, covered by artists as diverse as the British indie dance band EMF, the Brazilian rock band Ira! on their acoustic special for MTV Brasil in 2004, where the song was entitled "Pra ficar comigo", the blues-oriented hard rock jam band The Black Crowes, the Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers, or the Swedish indie rock band Shout Out Louds. [cite web |url=http://radiofreechicago.typepad.com/reredesign/2007/10/shout-out-louds.html |title=Radio Free Chicago : Shout Out Louds w/ Johnossi @ Logan Square 10/19/07 |accessdate=2007-12-04 |last=Pirnia |first=Garin |date=2007-10-25 |publisher=Radio Free Chicago |quote=Half way through the song, the group burst into "Train in Vain" by the Clash then back to their song. The Shout Outs successfully conquer America and our hearts. ]

Annie Lennox recorded a soulful, dance-beat cover of the song on her 1995 album "Medusa". The American country music singer and songwriter Dwight Yoakam did a country version on his 1997 album "Under the Covers". The band Third Eye Blind recorded a version for the 1999 tribute album "".

"Stupid Girl", a song released by the US rock group Garbage in 1996, is musically built around the drum rhythm from "Train In Vain". Both Joe Strummer and Mick Jones received a co-writing credit and royalties from the song under its original release. In 2007, when the song was remastered for the band's greatest hits album, the credit for the song was expanded to include Paul Simonon and Topper Headon. ["Garbage" and "Absolute Garbage" album booklets - compared credits for 1995's "Stupid Girl" and 2007's "Stupid Girl (Remastering)""]

"Train in Vain" is played frequently in addition to many other Clash songs by The Max Weinberg 7 on US late night talk show Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

Notable appearances

* This song (alongside "London Calling") was performed on The Clash's debut television appearance in the United States on the show Fridays.
* This song appeared on the skate video "" during Rodney Mullen's part.
* This song is on the soundtrack of the video game NCAA Football 2006.
* This song also appeared in the film "You, Me, and Dupree".
* This song appeared on an episode of the TV show "Scrubs".
* This song is available as a downloadable track in the game Rock Band.

Formats and track listings

"Train in Vain" was released in mainland Europe as a 33 rpm single in June 1980 (catalog number CBS 8370) and included the tracks "Bankrobber" and "Rockers Galore... UK Tour". In the UK, "Train in vain" was not released as a single at the time, only "Bankrobber" and "Rockers Galore... UK Tour" were released on 7" single in August 1980 (catalog number CBS 8323). The song was originally released in the US as a limited edition promotional 10" on 1979 (catalog number AS 749). The US re-release of 12 February 1980 (catalog number 50851) consisted of a 7" that included the track "London Calling". The 1991 UK re-release (catalog number 657430 7) included the track "The Right Profile". The formats and track listings of "Train in Vain (Stand By Me)" are tabulated below: [cite web |url=http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/the_clash#Single |title=Albums by The Clash - Rate Your Music |accessdate=2007-12-03 |publisher=rateyourmusic.com ]

Notes

References


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