"Long Train Runnin'" as written by and Tom Johnston....
Down around the corner, half a mile from here
See them long trains run, and you watch them disappear
Without love, where would you be now
Without lo-o-o-ove

You know I saw miss Lucy down along the tracks
She lost her home and her family and she won't be coming back
Without love, where would you be right now
Without lo-o-o-ove

Well the Illinois Central
And the Southern Central Freight
Got to keep on pushin' mama
You know they're running late
Without love, where would you be now
Without lo-o-o-ve

Well the Illinois Central
And the Southern Central Freight
Got to keep on pushin' mama
You know they're running late
Without love, where would you be now
Without lo-o-o-ve

Well the pistons keep on turning
And the wheels go round and round
The steel rails are cold and hard
For the miles that they go down

Without love, where would you be right now
Without lo-o-o-ve ooh
Where would you be now

Mmm, got to get you, baby baby, won't you move it down?
Won't you move it down?
Baby, baby, baby, baby, won't you move it down?
When the big train run
When the train is movin' on I got to keep on movin'
Keep on movin'
Won't you keep on movin'?
Gonna keep on movin'


Lyrics submitted by Moonshadow90

"Long Train Runnin'" as written by Tom Johnston

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Long Train Runnin' song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commenta wonder doobies song probably my favorite of theirs
    MrPiano_Man37on April 04, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't a "train" a euphemism for one's sex-drive?
    chrisb1on February 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhy would you say that?
    Cait the greaton May 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite songs of all time! The meaning to me is that Love takes you in a lot of different places and a lot of situations, just like a train...whithout love where would you be now? I would not live in the city that I live in, I wouldn't have the job that I have now, and I was so depressed before I found love I probably wouldn't exist without love.
    chica000bonitaon June 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningAs a musician and guitar player myself, I've often wondered what Tom's intent was with these lyrics. In my humble opinion, I think that there was no underlying meaning to them. He just wrote them to satisfy the tempo of the melody line in the song. It's not the first time he did something like that. They make no sense: A train tied into love? Surely it isn't a reference to a indecent act! :^)
    docholiday767on January 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Without love, where would you be now?"
    Love that.
    BettyHolly1950on July 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My Opinionmost of the songs the doobie brothers wrote dont make sense. but since when do all songs have 2 make sense anyway?? this song is about the music & the words-not the meaning. if u really think about it & instead of finding the lyrics' meaning, & trying 2 make sense of it all, jus relax & let ur mind go blank & sing along if u can(: .alot of the doobie brothers write songs about love.many things can represent love.this song represent love thru trains (long trains *in motion* that is x] ). i ges what the message of this song-"without love where would we be now?" "we'd probly be stranded out on our own jus walking (like Miss Lucy) & not knowing where 2 go-since we don`t have love." ?. not shure.
    but what i do know is that this is 1 of my favorite songs & 1 of my favorite songs by them(:
    th3xRid3x0fxY0urxLif3on December 31, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI guess I could smoke a doobie to figure out the lyrics...
    Thia007on November 11, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have always enjoyed this song for how the percussion (including the haunting bass groove) makes me think of rocking and clanking along while riding on a train, or watching and listening to a train roll by, either from near or far. When the end of the song nears, the percussion at "the pistons" once again transports the imagination to the noise of a giant machine, straining and pounding to haul massive loads at high speeds.

    The harmonious, sliding vocalization at "lo-o-o-ve" seems obviously intended to mimic the train blowing its horns.

    The guitar intro, repeated throughout the song as a theme, seems to express multiple possible things: the train's horns, again (in short bursts, at every crossing); the squeal of wheels on the tracks, and even perhaps the sobs and moans of grieving persons saying goodbyes to a beloved place (as passengers on the train) or to loved ones left behind at the station - or, the sobs and moans of those left behind.

    This is a very expressive song, instrumentally speaking. A song about a train ride that is (in my opinion) more expressive in its lyrics is "City of New Orleans," which is also about the Illinois Central Railroad.
    Hipnoticedon December 01, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"The steel rails are cold & hard for the miles that they go down". I believe that what Tom is saying here is this is like living life without love - every mile/day you trudge through life without love is a cold & hard one - we all need love. Miss Lucy is possibly taking a train ride to somewhere to try & re-find the love she has lost, hence, "without love, where would you be now?" Would we all not be seeking to find love again were we to lose it? I know after a relationship breakdown I've wanted to just get on the road & go, somewhere, anywhere, just to be loved again....
    No matter what, love your families & friends folks, it's a hard world out there at times eh.
    buffaloticeon October 22, 2016   Link

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