"Long Train Runnin'" (or "Long Train Running") is a song written by musician Tom Johnston and recorded by The Doobie Brothers. It was included on the band's 1973 album The Captain and Me and released as a single, becoming a top 10 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 8. This song became very famous for its intro with the guitar.

It was covered by Italian band Traks in 1982 and was then covered by English girl group Bananarama in 1991. In 1993, the Doobie Brothers version was remixed and charted in several countries.

The song is sometimes titled "Long Train Runnin' (Without Love)" due to the words "without love" being sung twice in the chorus.


 [hide*1 Song's origin

Song's origin[edit]Edit

The tune evolved from an untitled and mostly ad-libbed jam that the Doobies developed onstage years before it was finally recorded. Its working title, according to Johnston, was "Rosie Pig Moseley" and later "Osborn". "I didn't want to cut it," Johnston later confessed. "...I just considered it a bar song without a lot of merit. Teddy [Templeman], on the other hand, thought it had some." Templeman convinced Johnston to write words to the song.

Johnston performed the lead vocal and the distinctive, rhythmic guitar strumming that propels the song.

The signature harmonica solo was performed by Norton Buffalo.


Original release[edit]Edit

Chart (1973) Peak


Australia (Kent Music Report)[1] 58
Canada (CHUM)[2] 5
Canada (RPM 100 Singles)[3] 8
Canada (RPM Adult Contemporary Playlist)[4] 20
Germany (Media Control Charts)[5] 64
Italy (FIMI)[6] 22
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[7] 12
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[8] 10
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[9] 11
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 8


Chart (1993–1994) Peak


Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[11] 32
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[12] 23
Ireland (IRMA)[13] 14
Poland (LP3)[14] 33
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 7

Other reissues[edit]Edit

Chart (2011) Peak


France (SNEP)[16] 91
Chart (2013) Peak


France (SNEP)[16] 104

Cover versions[edit]Edit

Traks version[edit]Edit

"Long Train Runnin'"
Single by Traks
from the album Long Train Runnin'
B-side "Drums Power"
Released 1982
Format 7" single, 12" single
Genre Funk rock
Length 3:31
Label Polydor, Savoir-Faire
Writer(s) Tom Johnston
Producer(s) Traks
Traks singles chronology
"Long Train Running"


"Get Ready"


In 1982, Italian band Traks covered the song. This version peaked managed to chart in France and in Germany, where it peaked at no. 62 and no. 18, respectively.


7" Single Polydor 2040 365
  1. "Long Train Runnin'" (Short Version) — 3:30
  2. "Drums Power" — 4:27


Chart (1982) Peak


France (IFOP)[17] 62
Germany (Media Control Charts)[18] 18

Bananarama version[edit]Edit

"Long Train Running"
Single by Bananarama
from the album Pop Life
B-side "Outta Sight"
Released April 1991
Format 7" single, 10" Picture Disc, 12" single, CD single
Recorded August 1989
Genre Dance-pop[19]
Length 3:31
Label London
Writer(s) Tom Johnston
Producer(s) Youth
Bananarama singles chronology
"Preacher Man"


"Long Train Running"


"Tripping on Your Love"


Bananarama's version appeared on their fifth studio album Pop Life in 1991[19] and was released as the album's third single in the UK. The group discovered the song when they were browsing through the record collection of Youth, producer of the Pop Life album. They needed one more song recorded to complete Pop Life and decided to go with a cover version.

Music video[edit]Edit

Bananarama's music video features them dressed in black Spanish dresses eating at a decadent feast and performing the song on a large bed in a Spanish castle. Bananarama's then-manager Hilary Shaw appears on the feast scene.


Chart (1991) Peak


Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[20] 47
France (SNEP)[21] 72
Germany (Media Control Charts)[22] 45
Ireland (IRMA)[13] 18
Italy (FIMI)[23] 33
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[24] 30


UK CD single NANCD 24
  1. "Long Train Running" (Radio Version) — (3:31)
    Remixed by Mark 'Spike' Stent
  2. "Long Train Running" (Alma De Noche Mix) — (6:40)
    Remixed by Mark 'Spike' Stent
  3. "Long Train Running" (Flamenco CD Mix) — (4:57)
  4. "Outta Sight" — (4:30)
CD 1 single
  1. "Long Train Running" (Alma De Noche Mix) — (6:40)
    Remixed by Mark 'Spike' Stent
  2. "Long Train Running" (Radio Version) — (3:31)
  3. "Long Train Running" (Pacha Mix) — (4:40)
    Remixed by Youth
  4. "Outta Sight" - (4:30)
CD promo single
  1. "Long Train Running" (Alma De Noche Mix) — (6:40)
    Remixed by Mark 'Spike' Stent
  2. "Long Train Running" (The Romany Dance Mix) — (5:13)
    Remixed by Mark 'Spike' Stent
  3. "Outta Sight" — (4:30)

Other cover versions[edit]Edit

The song was covered by Richie Havens in 1976 on the album "The End Of The Beginning".

The Gipsy Kings provided flamenco guitar on Bananarama's version, using the pseudonym "Alma de Noche" ("Soul of the Night"). UK singer Zoë provided backing vocals.

Serbian rock musician Dejan Cukić recorded a version of the song on his 1995 album 4½... Ja Bih Da Pevam with lyrics in Serbian language entitled "Dugo putovanje vozom".

Another Serbian rock act, hard rock band Cactus Jack, recorded a version with original lyrics on their 2002 live cover album DisCover.

The song is performed by the Grambling State University marching band on the video game NCAA March Madness 06, and has been a performance staple of The Ohio University Marching 110 for over four decades.

The University of West Georgia Marching Band "The Sound that Lights the South" has also made this song a staple performance, and plays it with a dance routine after each half time show.

A cover version was made by Bus Stop and X-Treme for Dancemania compilation album. The first cover then got featured on arcade dancing simulation game DDRMAX2, while the later got featured on DDR SuperNova.

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