Twenty-four years after The O'Jays invited us aboard the Love Train
, The Quad City DJ's pulled into town with "C'mon N' Ride It (The Train)," a dance-floor filler that's all about getting your groove on. The song was one of the big hits in the Miami bass genre, which also includes "Me So Horny
" by 2 Live Crew and "Whoomp! There It Is
" by Tag Team. One of the Quad City DJ's is C.C. Lemonhead, who was also part of the group 95 South ("Whoot! There It Is
") and the 69 Boyz ("Tootsee Roll
Most Miami bass tracks are pumped full of testosterone, but this one features a female vocalist: JeLana LaFleur, who was part of the group. The guys in the group, Jay Ski and C.C. Lemonhead, handle the verses, where they make a few moves on the ladies ("I wanna take you home with me"...) but keep it clean, with the focus on dancing and having a good time. This gave the song lots of crossover appeal and earned it airplay on stations that shied away from booty songs. This is a lesson learned from Tag Team, whose family-friendly "Whoomp! There It Is
," released in 1993, became a franchise.
The beat is sampled from Barry White's 1974 "Theme From Together Brothers."
The song's hook harks to the children's story The Little Engine That Could, where the little train wills himself up the tracks with the mantra, "I think I can, I think I can..."
The Quad Cities are in Iowa, and no, that's not where the group is from. They're from Jacksonville, where "quad" is a term for "bass," thus the name.
This was the last big "train" hit in America, although the group Train came on the scene soon after. Note that the TV series Soul Train had just let go of Don Cornelius in 1993, and was staggering around with a few different hosts trying to find itself again when this song was released. So there might have been an intentional continuation of the idea of trains being a metaphor for R&B music here.
This was the theme song of the 1996 film High School High, which had a blink-and-miss-it box-office run. It starred Jon Lovitz - you almost remember him from the cult-classic animated TV series The Critic. The song also appears in the movie Celtic Pride, also from 1996.
This was released on Atlantic Records, which in the '60s was home to the likes of Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, but scored their R&B success in the mid-'90s with artists that included Aaliyah, Changing Faces, Mark Morrison and Junior M.A.F.I.A.
The 1996 University of Florida football team (The Gators), appropriated this song and made the "blowing the horn on the train" gesture to signify big plays. Their coach, Steve Spurrier, wasn't sure what those crazy kids were doing, but he didn't like it.
In the Cameron Casey-directed music video, the DJ's are riding through the streets of Los Angeles, but not on a train. They're on a low-riding space ship with a crew of dancers. Most of the dance moves were improvised to accommodate the one-day shoot.
We counted 44 repetitions of the word "train" in this song.