Thursday, May 19, 2011

THE ROCK SONG OF THE DAY IS: SOUL ASYLUM - RUNAWAY TRAIN

"Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum
"Runaway Train" is a song by the Minneapolis rock band Soul Asylum.

The song led Soul Asylum to international status, and helped bring their album, Grave Dancers Union to a multi-platinum level. It was the third single off that album and reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100. The track won a Grammy Award for the best rock song in 1994.

The song has become synonymous with the band and has led many people to believe that it is the group's only hit, categorizing Soul Asylum as a one-hit wonder band. However, the band's 1995 hit "Misery" also charted in the Top 40 in several countries including the US and UK. "Runaway Train" continues to receive a lot of airplay on the radio today with radio presenters often making mention of the influential music video that accompanied the song.

There are two versions of the music video, one for the United Kingdom and one for the United States: The video for the United States begins with a fade to a black screen with big, white blocked text reading: "There are over one million youth lost on the streets of America", whereas the UK version begins with "100,000 youth are lost on the streets of Britain". Next shown is a drawing of a girl, and a Dave Pirner voice-over says that the drawing is by a girl who had run away more than 110 times. The scene was often omitted when the video was shown, a common practice when videos had additional footage before or after the song.

The video was very successful in reuniting many of the missing children with their families. Some of the children even saw themselves in the video and returned home. In 2006, guitarist Dan Murphy stated in an interview with Pasadena Weekly that some of children who were found were not returned to the best of conditions: "Some weren’t the best scenarios. I met a fireman on the East Coast whose daughter was in the end of the video, and he’d been in a bitter custody battle with his wife over her,” Murphy said. “It turned out the girl hadn’t run away, but was killed and buried in her backyard by her mother. Then on tour, another girl told us laughingly ‘You ruined my life’ because she saw herself on the video at her boyfriend’s house and it led her being forced back into a bad home situation.”

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