Posts Tagged ‘Rocking Chairs’

Tune du Jour: “Downtown Train” – Tom Waits
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Mary Chapin Carpenter vs. Rocking Chairs vs. Patty Smyth
Broc 3 - Cover Me Impressed

Everybody’s Dressin’ Funny … Cover Me Impressed!

From Waits’ sublime masterpiece, Rain Dogs, Downtown Train beautifully captures the romance, hopes and desires, insecurity and confusion, and, at times, overcrowded-loneliness of a New York City weekend. 

As Bill Janovitz of AllMusic puts it: “The verses of Downtown Train are chock-full with more concrete and evocative images than all of the contemporary Top 40 pop hits combined; images like ‘another yellow moon has punched a hole in the nighttime,’ ‘The downtown trains are full/With all those Brooklyn girls/They try so hard to break out of their little worlds,’ and ‘you wave your hands and they scatter like crows’ ring of Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter.”

One rock critic observed “a Lou-Reedish guitar lead pervading the song” but, personally, I think Downtown Train has much more of a Springsteen-esque feel to it. Although, whether Waits was influenced by Springsteen or vice versa is difficult to say. 


The Original


Tom Waits:

That’s former World Middleweight Boxing Champion, Jake LaMotta, in the video. 


TheMost Popular


Rod Stewart:

Rod Stewart recorded a lousy cover version of Downtown Train that became a #3 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late 1989, and was also a number-one single on the album rock and adult contemporary charts. Strangely enough, Stewart’s lackluster debasing of Downtown Train went to number-one in Canada – a country where people generally make intelligent choices – and made the top ten on the UK Singles Chart in 1990. And if all that wasn’t putrefying enough, Stewart also received a Grammy nomination for the song in the category Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. When asked to comment on Stewart’s version of Downtown Train, world renowned scholar and preeminent expert on cover songs, R.J. Dubbengoth IV, vomited profusely.


THE CLASH of Cover Tunes


Mary Chapin Carpenter vs. Rocking Chairs vs. Patty Smyth
Mary Chapin Carpenter:

Rocking Chairs:

Patty Smyth:


Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. It is your solemn responsibility to decide which cover song prevails. In other words … Which Side Are You On?!!? 


Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.