Published on February 17th, 2013 | by Alan Cross0
Why Is That Clash Song Called “Train in Vain?”
The hidden track on the Clash’s London Calling album is “Train in Vain.” Even though it was never listed in the original liner notes, the song ended up becoming a top 25 hit in Canada in the spring of 1980.
But that’s a weird title. Why is it called “Train in Vain” when those words are never mentioned anywhere in the lyrics?
According to singer Mick Jones, it was just an afterthought. It was originally scheduled to be a freebie giveaway through one of the British weekly music papers, but the band decided it was too good for that, which is how it ended up as a last-second (and unlisted) selection on London Calling.
They also didn’t want to call it something obvious like “Stand by Me.” Instead, they co-opted the title of an old blues song by Robert Johnson called “Love in Vain.”
I wish there were more to the story, but there isn’t. It was just the Clash trying not to do the obvious.