Night Train

Album: Live at the Apollo (1963)
Charted: 35
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  • Noticing the enthusiastic response his shows were getting, James Brown pitched the idea of a live album to label boss Syd Nathan. When Nathan refused, Brown went it alone, spending $5,700 of his own money on taping a 1962 session at Harlem's Apollo Theater. To Nathan's surprise, Live at the Apollo was a rapid seller, spending 66 weeks on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, peaking at #2. This song was the record's closing track.
  • Live at The Apollo was ranked #25 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
  • "Night Train" was first recorded by Jimmy Forrest as a 12-bar blues instrumental in 1951 and was penned by the jazz musician with guitarist Oscar Washington. It became a #1 R&B hit for Forrest the following year and a big band version recorded by trombone player Buddy Morrow and his orchestra the same year also reached #27 on the pop charts. The song quickly became a staple theme of R&B combos and the rock and roll instrumental group The Viscounts returned the tune to the charts in 1960 peaking at #82 and American arranger Richard Hayman peaked two positions higher with his version the following year.
  • Several different sets of lyrics have been set to the tune of "Night Train"; James Brown's version features a shouted list of of his regular East Coast tour venues along with many repetitions of the song's name. Originally appearing as a track on the album James Brown Presents His Band and Five Other Great Artists, it received a single release in 1962 and became a hit, peaking at #35 on the Pop chart.
  • James Brown's version is played during the bar fight scene of the 1998 action comedy film, Rush Hour.
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Comments: 2

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 3, 1960, the Viscounts performed their covered version of "Night Train" on the ABC-TV program 'The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show.
    Two months earlier on July 18th "Night Train" entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position #100, three weeks later it would peak at #82 {for 1 week} and it spent 5 weeks on the Top 100...
    Earlier in 1960 on February 1st their "Harlem Nocturne"* peaked at #52 {for 1 week} and stayed on the chart for 16 weeks...
    Besides the the above two records, they had one other Top 100 record, "Wabash Blues", it reached #77 on January 9th, 1961...
    * Five years later on October 24th, 1965 "Harlem Nocturne" re-entered the Top 100 at #84, and on December 26th it peaked at #39 {for 1 week}. "Night Train" also tried to re-enter the Top 100 but only got as high at #122 on Billboard's Bubbling Under the Top 100 chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 1st 1965, James Brown and the Famous Flames performed "Night Train" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!' {it was during the show's closing credits}...
    Three years earlier on April 8th, 1962 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #89; and on May 20th, 1962 it peaked at #35 {for 1 week} and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #5 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    On October 29th, 1964 James Brown performed the song on 'The T.A.M.I. Show' in Los Angeles; the act following him were the Rolling Stones, and they were hesitant about taking the stage after seeing 'The Godfather of Soul' doing his thing!!!
    Personal note: I attended a James Brown concert at the Dome in Virginia Beach VA in 1967, was the greatest live show I’ve ever seen, he was amazing!
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