Driving the Last Spike

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"Driving the Last Spike"
Song by Genesis
from the album We Can't Dance
Released November 11, 1991
Recorded March – September 1991
Genre Progressive rock
Length 10:08
Label Charisma/Virgin (UK), Atlantic Records (US)
Songwriter(s) Lyrics - Phil Collins
Music - Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford
Producer(s) Nick Davis, Genesis
We Can't Dance track listing
"Jesus He Knows Me"
"Driving the Last Spike"
"I Can't Dance"

"Driving the Last Spike" is the third track on the Genesis album We Can't Dance, released in 1991.

The song's lyrics were written by Phil Collins. They are about the Navvies, the railway workers of the 19th century, many of whom died constructing Britain's railways. The song narrates the thoughts and feelings of an unnamed railway worker in the form of a soliloquy or internal monologue. The title is a phrase meaning the completion of a major railway project—placing the "last spike" is often a momentous occasion.

The original idea came from a book that actor Dennis Waterman gave to Collins.

Live performances[edit]

"Driving the Last Spike" was performed live only on the band's 1992 The Way We Walk[1] Tour. The second half of the song (starting at 5:41) was transposed to a lower key starting sometime after the Texas shows early in the tour. This was done to accommodate Collins' deepening voice without straining. (A recording of an early performance of "Driving the Last Spike" was released as an Atlantic Records promo CD featuring the entire song in the album key.)

"Driving the Last Spike" was featured on the live album The Way We Walk, Volume Two: The Longs, and the live DVD The Way We Walk - Live in Concert.


See also[edit]

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