|Single by Tom Waits|
|from the album Rain Dogs|
|B-side||"Tango Till They're Sore"|
November 1985 (UK)|
December 1985 (AUS)
|Studio||RCA Studios, NYC|
|Tom Waits singles chronology|
|Single by Rod Stewart|
|from the album The Best of Rod Stewart|
November 1989 (US)|
December 1989 (AUS)
January 1990 (UK)
|Label||Warner Bros. Records|
|Rod Stewart singles chronology|
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. 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. 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. 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.
- Tom Waits–vocals, guitar
- Michael Blair–percussion
- Chris Spedding–guitar
- Robert Quine–guitar
- G.E. Smith–guitar
- Mickey Curry–drums
- Tony Levin–bass
- Robby Kilgore–organ
Patty Smyth version
|US Billboard Hot 100||95|
|US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||40|
Rod Stewart version
|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|
- Year-end charts
|Canada Top Singles (RPM)||5|
Bob Seger version
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||17|
- List of RPM number-one singles of 1990
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 1990 (U.S.)
- List of Billboard Mainstream Rock number-one songs of the 1990s
- List of train songs
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 605.
- Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 355.
- "[VIDEO] 'How I Met Your Mother' Series Finale Music". Hollywood Reporter. 2014-01-04. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- "Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1990". RPM. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
- "Bob Seger Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved March 22, 2011.