Downtown Train

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"Downtown Train"
Tom Waits - Downtown Train.jpg
Single by Tom Waits
from the album Rain Dogs
B-side "Tango Till They're Sore"
Released 1985 (1985)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1985 (1985) at RCA Studios, NYC
Genre Rock
Length 3:53
Label Island
Writer(s) Tom Waits
Producer(s) Tom Waits
Tom Waits singles chronology
"Hang Down Your Head"
"Downtown Train"
"Hang on St. Christopher"
"Downtown Train"
Single by Rod Stewart
from the album The Best of Rod Stewart
Released 1989 (1989)
Genre Rock
Label Warner Bros. Records
Writer(s) Tom Waits
Rod Stewart singles chronology
"This Old Heart of Mine"
"Downtown Train"
"I Don't Want to Talk About It"

"Downtown Train" is a song by Tom Waits released on his album Rain Dogs in 1985.

The promo video for the song was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and features the boxer Jake LaMotta.

Rod Stewart recorded a cover version that became a #3 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after being released as a single in late 1989, and was also a number-one single on the album rock and adult contemporary charts.[1] The song went to number-one in Canada and made the top ten on the UK Singles Chart in 1990. Stewart received a Grammy nomination for the song in the category Best Male Pop Vocal performance.[2] Stewart's cover featured the slide guitar playing of Jeff Beck.

Other artists who have covered "Downtown Train" include Mary Chapin Carpenter, who included it on her debut album Hometown Girl in 1987; and Patty Smyth, who released a version that same year that reached #95 on the Billboard Hot 100. Everything But the Girl produced an acoustic cover of the song, notably used in the final episode of American sitcom How I Met Your Mother.[3] Bob Seger recorded a cover in 1989, but opted not to release it because Stewart's version had been released earlier. On February 28, 2011, Seger finally released his version of the song as a single, which appears on the retrospective album Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets. The German band The Piano Has Been Drinking included a version of Downtown Train (Rude Jolf) on their 1990 album The Piano Has Been Drinking which consists entirely of cover versions of Tom Waits songs in the Kölsch language (Colognian).

The Swedish artist Moneybrother released a Swedish version of the song; it is included on his album Pengabrorsan. Austrian hardcore/punk band Rentokill recorded a cover of the track for their 2009 EP The O.S.E.

Chart performance[edit]

Patty Smyth version[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 95
US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 40

Rod Stewart version[edit]

Chart (1989-1990) Peak
Canadian Singles Chart 1
German Singles Chart 39
Irish Singles Chart 13
Dutch Single Chart 42
New Zealand Singles Chart 30
UK Singles Chart 10
US Billboard Hot 100 3
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 1
US Billboard Album Rock Tracks 1

Bob Seger version[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[4] 17

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 605.
  2. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 355.
  3. ^ "[VIDEO] 'How I Met Your Mother' Series Finale Music". Hollywood Reporter. 2014-01-04. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  4. ^ "Bob Seger – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Bob Seger. Retrieved March 22, 2011.

External links[edit]