CSX Classic Cuts

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The Clash: “Train in Vain”

The Hook: A hidden track became a hit-bound track.

Album: London Calling

Year: 1979

Writer: Mick Jones

Stats: Peaked at number-23 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Background:
If you have an original vinyl copy of The Clash’s London Calling, there’s no mention anywhere on it of what would prove to be one of the band’s enduring hits. Mick Jones, who wrote and sings lead on “Train in Vain,” in addition to playing guitar on it, explains why:

Clash guitarist and singer Mick Jones on why “Train in Vain” wasn’t mentioned at all on the original London Calling album. OC:…big success. :22

“We did it last, the very last song of the LP. And we have this weekly music paper, the NME, at home and it was originally going to go out on that. But when it turned out, we said we’re not going to give it away, because it’s really good. The album artwork was already gone to press, so we put the record on, but it wasn’t mentioned on the record. And then it just sort of came out and it was, like, a big success.”