The Clash Wiki

Artist: The Clash

Album: London Calling

Length: 3:09

Vocals: Mick Jones


Additional Information:

  • Kris Needs: "On the Saturday Mick came in with a new song. They learnt it, laid it down and by Monday night 'Train In Vain' was finished." [1]
  • Kris Needs: "One afternoon in November [1979] I rang Mick to see how the album was going. He said they might have it finished that night and invited me over [...] I'd gone along expecting a mixing session, but walked in and Mick was in the vocal booth, singing passionately over a contagious funky guitar groove: "Stand by me or not at all!" He'd only written 'Train In Vain' the day before, then recorded the backing track with the band in the evening, and was now putting on the vocals. Later on he mixed it with Bill [Price]." [2]
  • Train in Vain was written and recorded after the London Calling artwork went to the printer. They decided to put it on the album at the last minute, so the track listing ended at the 18th track (Revolution Rock). This has led to some debate of whether or not the song was intended to be a hidden track.
  • released as a single in the USA (12/2/1980, it became a Top 40 single peaking at #23) and in the Netherlands (6/1980)
  • live premiere at the band's three X-mas gigs in London in December 1979 [3]


  1. "ZigZag" magazine (12/1979)
  2. Kris Needs: "Joe Strummer and The Legend Of The Clash" (p.156)
  3. [1] Acklam Hall (25 and 26/12/1979) and [2] Hammersmith Odeon (27/12/1979)

Train in Vain
Lyrics | Guitar Tab | Bass Tab