A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 23, 2005
“Downtown Train” (1985)
"Downtrown Train" became a big hit for Rod Stewart in 1990, and the song has been recorded by others. It was written and first recorded by Thomas Alan (Tom) Waits for his album Rain Dogs (1985). The song "Union Square" is also on that album, but it didn't become as big a hit.

"The downtown trains are full, full of all them Brooklyn girls."

Jeez, I must take the wrong train every time.

Song: Downtown Train
By Tom Waits
Music and lyrics by Thomas Alan Waits

On album Rain Dogs (1985)

Cover songs
Title Artist
1 Downtown Train Rod Stewart
2 Downtown Train The Rocking Chairs
3 Downtown Train Patty Smyth
4 Downtown Train Mary Chapin Carpenter
5 Downtown Train Everything But the Girl

The downtown trains are full
Full of all them brooklyn girls
They try so hard to break out of their little worlds
Will I see you tonight on a downtown train
Every night, every night it's just the same
On a downtown train

6 October 1985, New York Times, "Tom Waits: Pop's Minstrel of the Downtrodden" by Stephen Holden, Arts and Leisure, pg. H25:
Just as he laces his lyrics with familiar doggerel to suggest how we all carry our childhoods with us, Mr. Waits strings his songs with musical allusions to times past. The album's title cut recycles melodic and lyrical phrases from ''The Anniversary Song,'' which Mr. Waits viciously twists back on itself. ''Oh, how we danced and we swallowed the night/ We've always been out of our minds,'' he growls. ''Time'' recycles snatches of ''Waltzing Matilda,'' a song that Mr. Waits has used once before as a nostalgic sounding board. ''Union Square,'' a sharply drawn portrait of downtown New York at 4 A.M. on a Sunday morning, and ''Downtown Train,'' an ode to ''all those Brooklyn girls who try so hard to break out of their little worlds,'' both use the seductive ''baion'' beat that pulsed through early 60's hits by the Drifters and Ben E. King.
Posted by Barry Popik
Music/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Monday, May 23, 2005 • Permalink

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