Hey, Soul Sister

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"Hey, Soul Sister"
Single by Train
from the album Save Me, San Francisco
Released August 11, 2009 (2009-08-11)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2009
London, England
(Kensaltown Recording Studios)
Los Angeles, United States
(Sound City Studios), New York, United States
(Quad Studios)
Genre Pop rock, folk rock
Length 3:37
Label Columbia, Sony Music
Writer(s) Patrick Monahan, Espen Lind, Amund Bjørklund
Producer(s) Espionage, Martin Terefe, Gregg Wattenberg
Certification 6 x platinum, RIAA
Train singles chronology
"Am I Reaching You Now"
(2006)
"Hey, Soul Sister"
(2009)
"If It's Love"
(2010)
Music video
"Hey Soul Sister" on YouTube
Audio sample
file info · help

"Hey, Soul Sister" is a song by the American rock band Train, written by lead singer Patrick Monahan, Amund Bjørklund, and Espen Lind. It was released as the lead single from the band's fifth studio album, Save Me, San Francisco.

The song reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is their highest charting song to date. As of Sep 21 2012, it has sold over 6 million digital copies in the US.[1] It is the top-selling song on iTunes Store in 2010,[2] and the second overall best-selling song in the US in 2010.[3] It is also the band's most commercially successful single to date, reaching number one in 16 countries. The single received a 6 x platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on Sep 21, 2012.[4] The live iTunes version of "Hey, Soul Sister" garnered a Grammy Award for Train at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. The song was not eligible for any Grammy in the General Field.

Background[edit]

"At first, I tried to do it by using a guitar pick, and it didn't sound right. I had to go online and Google a ukulele lesson and noticed they're not using picks at all; it's more of a flamenco style. Once I got that down, then it sounded like the real deal.[5] "

—Lead guitarist Jimmy Stafford, on having to learn to play ukulele as requested by lead singer Pat Monahan in the recording of "Hey, Soul Sister"

After collaborating with the Norwegian production duo Espionage (Espen Lind and Amund Bjørklund) in the writing and recording of the track "Brick by Brick", Train's lead singer Pat Monahan decided to record another track with the duo.[5]

Composition[edit]

"There's super catchy riffs and melodies in it, which I think are way more important that any production trick or great-sounding vocal production. It's kind of us going backward so we can go forward."

—Pat Monahan, on the band's return to its folk rock roots[6]

"Hey, Soul Sister" is a mid-tempo pop song. Written in the key of E major,[7] the beat is set in common time and moves at 97 bpm. The song is characterized by a signature pattern played on a ukulele,[5] that follows a basic E5 – B – C#m – A progression in the verse, tag and bridge, switching to an A – B – E5 – B progression in the chorus. The song's chord structure is arranged in an A B A B A B A form. It rhymes "sister" with "Mr. Mister."

Lyrically, Stafford admitted the inspiration for the song came about while Monahan was imagining what Burning Man must be like, and started penning lyrics inspired by the imagery he saw:[8]

Monahan has since confirmed this in multiple radio interviews.[9][10]

Music video[edit]

The video was filmed in front of Chango Coffee at the corner of Morton Ave and Echo Park Ave in Echo Park, Los Angeles, California.[11] The video intercuts images of Train singing with a woman walking around her apartment and a man (Actor, Andrew Craghan) painting the words to the song on the landscape. Eventually leading the two to meet each other in the street in front of the band.

Appearances in other media[edit]

Train performed the song on the show Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld on Fox News which aired during the early morning broadcast on April 20, 2010.[12] They have also performed the song on numerous talk shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,[13] Live with Regis and Kelly,[13] The Ellen DeGeneres Show,[14] Lopez Tonight, and The Howard Stern Show.[15] They also performed the song before the 2010 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby on ESPN. Samsung Electronics in North America used the song in advertising some of its products, including its 3D TVs and silent washers. Train performed the song at Dick Clark's Rocking New Year Eve 2011.

It has also been played in several TV shows as CSI: NY in the episode "Second Chances", Hellcats in its first episode and Medium, in chapter 6x03 "Pain killer". It was also been played in the Canadian TV show "Being Erica", in chapter 3x11. "Hey, Soul Sister" can also be heard on "Ko'olauloa", the sixth episode of Hawaii Five-0 where it was sung and played live by a little boy.

The song was performed on ABC's Dancing With The Stars on May 4, 2010 and on America's Got Talent on July 21, 2010. A cover of the song was also performed by "Munch's Make Believe Band," the animatronic show located at Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants. The Dixie Chicks covered this song while on their 2010 tour with The Eagles.

In Fox's TV musical-comedy series Glee the song has been covered in the ninth episode of season two, "Special Education" (aired November 30, 2010) by actor Darren Criss (as his character Blaine Anderson) singing the solo in a performance with the fictional show choir Dalton Academy Warblers (voiced by all-male a cappella group Beelzebubs).[16] The Criss later performed the song on 17 May at the Trinoma in Quezon City whilst in the Philippines, from where he has family, being half Filipino.

"Hey, Soul Sister" was also covered by 2010 X Factor Australia winner Altiyan Childs for his self-titled debut album. The song was also performed by Street Corner Symphony on the second season of the television show The Sing-Off during episode 2- "Songs From The Past 5 Years". The dance troupe from Strictly Come Dancing performed a quickstep to the song in 2010.

In the 2011 movie Friends with Benefits the song was featured twice; once as part of a love film joke, and the other at the end of the film itself.

Movistar (the mobile phone operator owned by the Spanish Telefónica) uses the song for their ad campaigns on TV and radio. They use the original version as well as a cover version.

Chart performance[edit]

"Hey, Soul Sister" debuted at #98 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ended October 17, 2009, becoming their first charting single in five years. On the week of January 30, 2010, in its 16th week on the Hot 100 chart, "Hey, Soul Sister" leaped to #7 from #23 on an 81% digital single sales increase from the previous week, thus becoming Train's second career Top Ten hit on the chart. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the week of April 10, 2010, their highest on the chart to date surpassing their 2001 hit, Drops of Jupiter at #5. The song climbed to #1 on the Hot Digital Songs chart for the week of April 10, 2010, and stayed in the top spot for three weeks. As of the January 20, 2011 issue of Billboard, "Hey, Soul Sister" had spent 22 weeks at number one on the Adult Contemporary chart.

The single sold 687,000 copies in 2009 which made it that year's #131 song. It went on to sell 3,319,000 more units in the first half of 2010 and 42 weeks after its release still stood at number 16 on the Hot 100 chart. By the end of December 2010, it had sold 4,310,000 digital copies, becoming the second biggest selling digital song of that year.[17] By the end of January 2011, it had sold over 5 million digital copies.[18] As of January 2014, the song had sold 6,417,000 digital units in the United States, one of the biggest-selling digital singles by a rock band since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking download sales in 2003.[19]

BNA Records, a country music label owned by Sony Music, released the song to the country music format in June 2010. It debuted at #60 on the Hot Country Songs charts for the week ended July 10, 2010.[20]

In addition to revitalizing Train's career in their native country, "Hey, Soul Sister" has also become a big international hit; it was #1 on the official Dutch and Australian singles charts for 7 weeks and 4[21] weeks, respectively, and also became their first Irish number one single. The single charted at #2 in New Zealand (their highest in the country to date), and reached #3 on both the Canadian[22] and Belgian singles charts.[23]

On April 24, 2010, "Hey, Soul Sister" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at #64,[24] marking the band's first appearance on the chart since "She's On Fire" reached a peak of #49 in 2001. On May 2, 2010, the single climbed into the UK Top 40 at #36 and has since reached a peak of #18. It has been in the official charts for 79 weeks. In Canada the song became the sixth-best-selling of 2010 with 244,000 copies.[25]

Track listing[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording[29]
Personnel[29]

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States August 11, 2009[82] Digital download Columbia Records, Sony Music
January 26, 2010[citation needed] Airplay
July 12, 2010[citation needed] Digital download — country version

References[edit]

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  3. ^ What Santa Brought by Paul Grein in Chart Watch
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  6. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/267800/train-song-debut-hey-soul-sister
  7. ^ Hey, Soul Sister sheet music
  8. ^ "Q&A with Train." by Annie Reuter, posted October 28, 2009
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  15. ^ http://www.howardstern.com/rundown.hs?d=1257915600#14934, Howard Stern Show 11/11/09 Rundown
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External links[edit]