Monday, December 19, 2016

Songoftheday 12/19/16 - Outside another yellow moon has punched a hole in the nighttime...


"Downtown Train" - Rod Stewart
from the album Storyteller - The Complete Anthology: 1964-1990 (US-1989) and The Best Of Rod Stewart (UK-1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's song of the day is from Rod Stewart, who had ended the 1980's with his most successful album in the decade, Out Of Order, which spun off four top-20 hits in the U.S. with "Lost In You", "Forever Young", "Crazy About Her", and the #4 single "My Heart Can't Tell You No". While he spent a big chunk of 1988 and 1989 touring in the Americas behind the album, Rod closed out the decade with a huge four-disc retrospective box set Storyteller, which chronicled his times as a budding solo artist through his stints in various bands like the Faces and the Jeff Beck Group back to his hitting the big-time worldwide as a rock star in the 70s and 80s. It included a couple of rarities along with three newly-recorded songs which would be released as singles. The first was a cover of rock singer/songwriter Tom Waits album track, "Downtown Train", which originally appeared on Waits' critically heralded 1985 album Rain Dogs...


Five years later, Rod recorded "Downtown Train" with longtime friend Jeff Beck on guitar, and with Rod's more genial but still gruff voice mainstream radio finally gave it a proper go...


Stewart's take on "Downtown Train" returned him to the American pop top-3 in January of 1990, his highest-charting single here since 1978's #1 "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?". The single also climbed to the top of both the Mainstream Rock and Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio charts in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the song went to #10 in the UK (coincidentally, also his first since "Sexy" to make the top ten in both the US and UK), topped the list in Canada, and reached the top-40 in Australia (#29), Germany (#39), Ireland (#13), and New Zealand (#30). Rod was nominated for a Grammy for the single for Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1991, losing out to the late Roy Orbison with a live version of "Oh, Pretty Woman" (I abhor those type of ringer noms).

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


In 1987, former Scandal lead singer Patty Smyth released "Downtown Train" as the second single from her solo debut album Never Enough. Her new wave-tinged version went to #40 on the Mainstream Rock radio chart and #95 on the American pop Hot 100...


That same year, country artist Mary-Chapin Carpenter also covered the song for her debut disc Hometown Girl...


Here's Rod performing at the American Music Awards in 1990...


Detroit rocker Bob Seger also recorded "Downtown Train" in 1989, but due to Rod's hit waited until 2011 to release his own re-recorded version, which went to #12 on the Adult Contemporary chart...



In 2014, the final episode of the hit TV show How I Met Your Mother was prominently featured redone by the alt-pop duo Everything But The Girl...


Finally, let's go back to Stewart performing the song live in 2003...


Up tomorrow: Drag-loving dance group gets a second chance.

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