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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Taking the songwriting Train

“You don’t choose your experiences.  They choose you.” – Pat Monahan

Writers come in many categories and one of the most interesting can be as a song lyricist, where you’re a combination poet and short story writer.  Monahan has been called “One of the best of all time” by almost every other major songwriter. 

Monahan’s amazing success has primarily been with the band Train, but it wasn’t a rocketship ride to success.  After initially being rejected by Columbia Records, Monahan and Train, strongly believing that they were writing lyrics and tunes that would resonate with the general public, decided to self-produce.  They scraped together $25,000 and made their record, and of course the rest is history. 

But, Columbia still did not dive into supporting them, instead relegating Train to a sub-label, Aware Records.  The band’s first single, "Free,” was a large hit on pop/mainstream rock stations.  It’s second single, "Meet Virginia” was a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 20, and its third "I Am,” the major song on its first album, brought the band national fame.

A second album"Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me),” with the title song by the same name, was a massive worldwide hit.  It won many Grammy Awards, including rock song of the year.   Another immense bestseller for Train was, “Hey, Soul Sister,” which topped every chart worldwide for a year.  Nearly 20 years in, Train is still going strong thanks primarily to the great writing of Monahan, who also is the group’s lead singer.  And, if you want to hear him doing a “spoken word” routine, just tune in to a segment of Sprouts’ TV’s “Driver Dan’s Story Train” (where he has the lead, of course, as Driver Dan).

For a sample of Monahan’s terrific lyrical writing, look up the lyrics to “Hey, Soul Sister.”  Meanwhile, here’s a link to the YouTube video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVpv8-5XWOI   Enjoy.

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