The Doobie Brothers - Long Train Runnin' Song Meaning

Long Train Runnin’ – The Doobie Brothers | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#8) June, 1973

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Rock ‘n’ roll fans heatedly debate which incarnation of The Doobie Brothers was the better of the two: the earlier Tom Johnston Doobies of Long Train Runnin’ fame or the later Minute By Minute Michael McDonald-led band. In fact, both deserve recognition for their contribution to popular music. The original quartet was built around guitarist/lead singer Johnston and drummer John Hartman, who played together in Pud. An initial album released in the Spring of 1971 flopped. A second (Toulouse Street) the following year landed them on the charts with Listen To The Music (#11). Album number three, The Captain And Me, broke the Doobies nationally with its blazing lead-off single, Long Train Runnin’. Like Music, Long Train Runnin’ was written by Johnston and bore the trademark sound of guitar-based rock ‘n’ roll with a driving beat, which characterized the band until Johnston left in 1975 due to illness.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Ted Templeman

Lyrics Written by:

  • Tom Johnston