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"Train Kept A-Rollin'"
Song by Tiny Bradshaw
Genre Blues, Rock
Writer Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, and Lois Mann
"Train Kept A-Rollin'"
Single by Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio
B-side "Honey Hush"
Released 1956
Format 45/78 RPM
Recorded July 2 1956
Genre Rockabilly
Length 2:17
Label Coral
Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio singles chronology
"Midnight Train"
"Train Kept A-Rollin"
"Lonesome Train (On A Lonesome Track)"
"Train Kept A-Rollin'"
Song by The Yardbirds

from the album Having a Rave Up

Released February 17, 1965
Genre Rock
Length 3:28
Label Epic
Writer Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, and Lois Mann
Producer Giorgio Gomelsky
Having a Rave Up track listing
"I'm a Man"
"Train Kept A-Rollin'"
"Smokestack Lightning"

"Train Kept A-Rollin" is a song written by Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, and Lois Mann. Bradshaw first recorded the song in 1951- his best known recording. After a rock and roll version of the song was recorded and released by Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio in 1956, numerous other such versions have been recorded since.


The Yardbirds version

The Yardbirds helped make the song a garage-rock staple when they covered it on the 1965 album Having a Rave Up. The riff Jeff Beck used for their version of the song was later used in another song written by Beck and Keith Relf titled "Stroll On." "Stroll On" was used in the movie Blowup. The published sheet music for the Yardbirds' version is titled "Train Kept A Rollin' (Stroll On)", with credit given to Beck, Relf, Jimmy Page, Chris Dreja, and Jim McCarty. Despite the inclusion of "Stroll On" in the title, this sheet music appears to be the score for "Train Kept a Rollin'".

Led Zeppelin version

"Train Kept A-Rollin'" was the first tune Led Zeppelin played together in 1968. According to John Paul Jones, the room "exploded" when they kicked it off, and they knew they had something.[1] They subsequently played the song as their show opener on tour during 1968 and 1969, and revived it in their final tour "Over Europe" in 1980. A studio version was never recorded by Led Zeppelin, but during his solo Outrider sessions in 1988 Page did record a version similar to that performed by Led Zeppelin in 1980.

Dread Zeppelin

Reggae cover band Dread Zeppelin's version of the song on their album 5,000,000 is heavily derived from the Led Zeppelin version, but slower, with a combination reggae and harmonica blues backdrop, as well as imitation Elvis Presley vocals.

Shakin' Stevens and The Sunsets version

Shakin' Stevens And The Sunsets officially released two versions of the song. The first, produced by Dave Edmunds, appeared on their 1970 debut album "A Legend". A re-recorded version appeared on their eponymous 1973 LP "Shakin' Stevens And The Sunsets". In addition, the band recorded a version for the BBC on June 15th 1970 which was broadcast on the programme "First Gear" on August 27th 1970.

Alex Chilton version

Alex Chilton (of the Box Tops and Big Star) covered the song on his 1980 album 'live in london'. He was backed by a pick up band of two members of the Soft Boys (Matthew Seligman & Morris Windsor) and one member of The Vibrators (Ian 'Knox' Carnochan) with little rehearsal time. The set it is taken from is on the second night of their tour.

Aerosmith version

"Train Kept A-Rollin'"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Get Your Wings
B-side "Spaced"
Released 1974
Format Record
Recorded 1974
Genre Hard rock
Length 5:33
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, Lois Mann
Producer Jack Douglas
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Same Old Song and Dance"
"Train Kept A-Rollin'"
"S.O.S. (Too Bad)"

Aerosmith covered the song on their second album Get Your Wings which was released in 1974. Note: Neither Joe Perry nor Brad Whitford actually played the solos on this song. See "[Get Your Wings page, Additional Personal]." Moreover, it is widely believed that other guitarist likely provided their talents on subsequent Aerosmith songs. The song has long been played on album-oriented rock and classic rock radio stations. Additionally, the song has long been an important staple in the band's live shows, often closing their shows. It is featured on three Aerosmith live compilations: Live! Bootleg (1978), Classics Live (1986), and Rockin' the Joint (2005 ). On the Rockin' the Joint version, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford can be heard doing a little bit of "The Star Spangled Banner" towards the end, as the concert performance was only four months after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Additionally, the band is known to play two different versions of the song, the regular version of the song, as well as a slowed-down version often called "Slow Train" in the setlists. On at least two occasions, lead singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry have performed the song with other artists; in 1992 with Guns N' Roses and in 1995 with Page and Plant. In 2002, the whole band performed the song live with the Japanese hard rock duo B'z. A cover of Aerosmith's version appears in the music video game Rock Band, and the master track appears in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith as the final encore in the game.

Metallica version

Metallica helped by Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Joe Perry (all three of which, as previously mentioned, have covered the song in the past), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Ronnie Wood and their ex-bassist Jason Newsted covered the song in 2009 following theirs and Beck's inductions to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the ceremony's "All-Star Finale" performance.

Other versions

Sugarloaf recorded this song as an instrumental for their eponymous 1970 album. Hanoi Rocks cut a live recording of the track on their 1985 live album All Those Wasted Years. Motörhead covered the song on their 1977 eponymous debut album. Skid Row covered the Aerosmith version of the song on their 1990 video Oh Say Can You Scream. The Tragically Hip have performed a memorable live version of the song, which included a monologue by Gord Downie about his girlfriend writing his biography, and selling it for millions and millions of dollars. Twisted Sister cut a live recording of the song as a bonus track recorded in 1979 at Detroit, Portchester New York, on their 1995 live album Live at Hammersmith.

The Nazz recorded a version of this song which was unreleased however, until the release of their Best Of album in 1984. Foghat also released a song titled "Honey Hush" with a very similar riff to that of "Train Kept A Rollin'" except that the riff was sped up and had different lyrics. It was likely based on Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio's version of "Honey Hush", which is the B-side of their version of "Train Kept A-Rollin". The Rock and Roll Trio's version of "Honey Hush" may have been the origin of the "Train Kept A-Rollin'" riff as portions of the riff from "Honey Hush" bear a striking similarity to it. Colin James and the Little Big Band recorded a version of the song on their self-titled album from 1993. The skaterock band Boneless Ones recorded a song for the third installment of the Thrasher Magazine "Skaterock" series, but the title and lyrics were altered to "The Keg Kept A' Flowin'."


  1. ^ Steven Rosen, "Led Zeppelin's 1977 Tour - A Tragic Ending!", Classic Rock Legends.


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