Yardbirds – Train Kept A-Rollin’

This track was produced by Sam Phillips of Sun Records, the man who signed Elvis Presley. It was recorded at Phillips Recording studio, a newly updated state-of-the-art studio in Memphis TN. Jeff Beck, who is a fan of early rockabilly, said that he introduced the song to the group: “They just heard me play the riff, and they loved it and made up their version of it”

I’ve always liked this version and Beck’s filthy sound he had on his guitar.

It was written by Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, and Lois Mann, this song was originally performed by Tiny Bradshaw’s Big Band in 1951. Johnny Burnette recorded a rock version in 1956, and The Yardbirds popularized the song with their rendition in 1965.

Aerosmith covered it in 1974, often playing the song as their encore in their early years. In the ’60s, Aerosmith was on the same bill as The Yardbirds for some shows, and former Yardbird Jeff Beck opened some shows for them in the ’70s.

The song didn’t chart in Billboard but was included on the album “Having A Rave Up” in 1965 which peaked at #53.

From Songfacts

This song is about a guy who is blown away by a woman, but he has to act cool to make sure he doesn’t scare her away. The train rolling is in reference to sex. 

In the beginning of the song, Jeff Beck used his guitar to create the train whistle sound.

There are two voices singing throughout the song. Both belong to lead singer Keith Relf. In the beginning, they sing different words, but by the end, both sing in unison.

When Jimmy Page joined the band and he was playing lead guitar with Jeff Beck, the Yardbirds appeared in the 1966 Michelangelo Antonioni film Blowup playing a new version of this song re-titled “Stroll On.” The Yardbirds appeared as a band in the film, which is about a London fashion photographer who may have witnessed a murder. It was one of the first major films with a full frontal nudity scene.

In an interview with Q Magazine January 2008, John Paul Jones recalls this was the first ever song he played with Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Bonham after joining Led Zeppelin: “I can remember the first song I played with Led Zeppelin in a tiny basement room in Soho in 1968, with wall-to-wall amps. That was ‘Train Kept A-Rollin’,’ the Yardbirds song, which I didn’t know at the time. But I knew immediately, ‘This is fun.”

Train Kept A-Rollin’

I caught the train, I met a dame,
She was a hipster, well and a real cool dame,
(She was handsome,)
She was pretty, from New York City,
Well and we trucked on down in that old Fairlane,
(Goin’ on,)
With a heave, and a ho,

Well, I just couldn’t let her go.
(Yes I did,)
Get along, sweet little woman, get along,
Be on your way,
Get along, sweet little woman, get along,
Be on your way,
With a heave, and a ho,
(Love the way you walk,)
I just couldn’t let her go.
(Yes I do now.)

Well, the train kept a-rollin’, all night long,
(Sweet little woman, get along,)
The train kept a-rollin’, all night long,
([You’re my queen?])
The train kept a-rollin’, all night long,
(Sweet little woman, get along,)
The train kept a-rollin’, all night long,
(You’re my queen?)
With a heave, and a ho,
(Love the way you walk,)
Well I just couldn’t let her go,
(Yes I do.)

We made a stop at Albuquerque,
She must have thought I was a real gone jerk,
We got out the train in El Paso,
Lookin’ so good, Jack, I couldn’t let her go.
Get along, sweet little woman, get along,
(Oh, right,)

Well, the train kept a-rollin’, all night long,
The train kept a-rollin’, all night long,
The train kept a-rollin’, all night long,
The train kept a-rollin’, all night long,
With a heave, and a ho,
Well I just couldn’t let her go.

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

5 thoughts on “Yardbirds – Train Kept A-Rollin’”

  1. I always thought this one was original to the Boston Bad Boys. I just learned something new. On a different note, did you ever hear Jeff Beck’s version of “Old Man River” with Rod Stewart? It’s kind of a hidden gem and one of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

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