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The 10 Best Songs About the Subway

The 10 Best Songs About the Subway
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If the source of great art is suffering, then it should be a snap to write a great song about the G train in Brooklyn. Statistically speaking, the line performs pretty well: in 2011 it had fewer "significant" incidents that led to delays than any other line in New York City. But its reputation for never being there precedes it. They don't call it the "ghost train" because it's painted white.  

The Brooklyn Brewery has sweetened the suffering pot a bit by sponsoring a contest to see who can write the best G train-related song. The competition is open to amateur musicians who craft original tunes with lyrics about or inspired by the "sometimes sluggish" subway line, according to the official rules. Top entrants will be posted to the brewery's Facebook page in late August and determined by a public vote.

The winner gets a trip for two, airfare and hotel included, to Stockholm for this year's Brooklyn, Sweden music festival. (And of course retains the rights to all earnings made from serenading frustrated passengers on the platform.) Just so any potential entrants out there know what they're up against, we've chosen the ten best songs with lyrics about or inspired by subways-at-large.

Duke Ellington — Take The "A" Train

Petula Clark — Don't Sleep In The Subway

Dion — Written On A Subway Wall

Tom Waits — Downtown Train

Kingston Trio - MTA
This is actually about Boston's MBTA system, not New York's MTA.

Dropkick Murphys — Skinhead on the MBTA
This is a punk homage to the Kingston Trio tune.

Lord Kitchener — The Underground Train Calypso

Joe Bataan — Subway Joe

The Jam — Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

The Sesame Street cast — The Subway!



Photo credit: Brocorwin /Shutterstock

Eric Jaffe is a contributing writer to The Atlantic Cities and the author of A Curious Madness (2014) and The King's Best Highway (2010). He lives in New York. All posts »

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