Trains And Boats And Planes

Album: Essential Collection (1966)
Charted: 22
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This mournful ballad was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David at their creative peak. After being turned down by Gene Pitney, it was recorded in quick succession by Anita Harris and Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas (both 1965), and the following year by Dionne Warwick. The Harris recording, on Pye, was backed by "Upside Down". The song has also been covered by Sandie Shaw (1969).
  • According to Dominic Salerno in Burt Bacharach, Song By Song..., it was first recorded by Bacharach himself (with orchestra and chorus) on the Kapp label as the B Side of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (no, not that "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"); it was released in May 1965.

    Of the song itself, Salerno says its travel motif "seemed to fit Bacharach's new jet-setting pace, as he began to spend most of his time in Europe - working, living with his new wife Angie Dickinson, conducting concerts with Marlene Dietrich and recording in England".
  • The distorted electric piano that opens the Dionne Warwick version may sound like Ray Charles on "What'd I Say" but this is coincidental, and "one consequence of working in English recording studios, which Bacharach considered sub-standard." Indeed! >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3

Comments: 3

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1965 {May 28th} Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas performed "Trains and Boats and Planes" on the British ITV network's weekly musical variety program, 'Ready Steady Go!'...
    At the time the song was at position #20 on the United Kingdom's Official Top 50 Singles chart, two weeks later it would peak at #12 {for 1 week}...
    The week it peaked at #12, Burt Bacharach's original version was at #6 on the U.K. Singles chart, and two weeks later it peaked at #4 {for 1 week}...
    One year later on July 31st, 1966, Dionne Warwick's covered version would peak at #22 {for 1 week} on the U.S. Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    Between 1963 and 1965 the group had six records on the U.K. Singles chart, five made the Top 10 with two* reaching #1, "Bad To Me" for three weeks in August of 1963 and "Little Children" for two weeks in March of 1964...
    Leader Billy J. Kramer, born William Howard Ashton, will celebrate his 77th birthday in three months on August 19th, 2020...
    * The group just missed having a third #1 record when their "Do You Want To Know A Secret" peaked at #2 for two weeks in May of 1963, for the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for those two weeks was "From Me To You" by The Beatles...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 13, 1966, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas performed "Trains and Boats and Planes" on the Dick Clark produced ABC-TV network weekday-afternoon program 'Where The Action Is'...
    Exactly one year earlier on July 13th, 1965 the song was at #57 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; two weeks later it would peak at #47 {for 1 week} and it spent 7 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #12 on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    And on the day that Billy & the boys were appearing on the 'Action' show, Dionne Warwick's covered version the song was at #35 on the Top 100, it would peak at #22...
    Between April 1964 and June 1965 Billy & boys had six records on the Hot Top 100; two made the Top 10, "Little Children" peaked at #7 for 1 week on June 7th, 1964 and "Bad To Me" reached #9 for 2 weeks on June 21st, 1964.
  • Glenn from Simi Valley, CaThis is my favorite David/Bacharach song. What incredible songwriting! As usual, Dionne Warwicks version is the best.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Yoko Ono

Yoko OnoSongwriter Interviews

At 80 years old, Yoko has 10 #1 Dance hits. She discusses some of her songs and explains what inspired John Lennon's return to music in 1980.

Desmond Child

Desmond ChildSongwriter Interviews

One of the most successful songwriters in the business, Desmond co-wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Livin' On A Prayer."

Zac Hanson

Zac HansonSongwriter Interviews

Zac tells the story of Hanson's massive hit "MMMbop," and talks about how brotherly bonds effect their music.

Janis Ian

Janis IanSongwriter Interviews

One of the first successful female singer-songwriters, Janis had her first hit in 1967 at age 15.

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About Transgenderism

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About TransgenderismSong Writing

A history of songs dealing with transgender issues, featuring Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Morrissey and Green Day.

Chris Fehn of Slipknot

Chris Fehn of SlipknotSongwriter Interviews

A drummer for one of the most successful metal bands of the last decade, Chris talks about what it's like writing and performing with Slipknot. Metal-neck is a factor.