Elvis Presley - MYSTERY TRAIN

First performance: 28/12/1980


Bruce covered the song 5 times at full:
Performed with all performers of the sixth annual Rock for The Rainforest benefit for the Rainforest Foundation. With various artists. Live premiere of a complete "I'm Turning Into Elvis" – fun stuff. Other performers are Sting, James Taylor, Elton John, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Paul Simon, Jessye Norman, and Geoffrey Oryema. 
Belated outdoor birthday bash for Bruce at his farm property, originally planned for September 23 but had been delayed due to poor weather. As they had the previous year, NYC-based Cajun-roots band The Gotham Playboys (who would form the core of the Sessions Band when they first assembled in the fall of 1998) provide the entertainment. Bruce joins them for several songs. Party guests include Steven Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Jon Bon Jovi and Sheryl Crow. 
A $500-a-ticket charity benefit gala for "Special People United to Ride of Monmouth County", an organization that employs horseback riding as therapy for handicapped children. Springsteen joined Bobby Bandiera's band (house band for the night) on "Mystery Train" early in the evening. 


Soundcheck with Patti Scialfa, Lisa Lowell, Soozie Tyrell, Southside Johnny, Garry Tallent, and Nils Lofgren
A tour one-off "Mystery Train" is played in honor of the late Sam Phillips. 
  • Snippets (56 times)
2014-11-05 Theater At Madison Square Garden (The), New York City, NY
Bruce performs at the eighth Stand Up for Heroes benefit. He sings a snippet of "Mystery Train" at the conclusion of the auction. 
2006-06-24 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
2006-06-17 DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI
2006-06-16 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
2006-06-14 Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
2006-05-28 Nissan Pavilion, Bristow, VA
2006-05-27 Tweeter Center For The Performing Arts, Mansfield, MA
2006-05-20 Oslo Spektrum, Oslo, Norway
2006-05-17 Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany
2006-05-16 Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2006-05-12 DatchForum, Milan, Italy
2006-05-10 Palais Omnisports De Paris-Bercy, Paris, France
2006-05-08 Hammersmith Apollo, London, England
2006-05-07 Manchester Evening News Arena, Manchester, England
2006-04-26 Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ
2006-04-25 Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ
2006-04-24 Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ
1985-10-02 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA 
1985-03-27 Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia
1985-03-21 Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia
1985-01-26 Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
1985-01-24 Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI 
1985-01-23 Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI
1985-01-18 Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
1985-01-16 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC
1985-01-15 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC
1985-01-13 Carolina Coliseum, Columbia, SC
1985-01-10 Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY
1985-01-08 Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, IN
1985-01-07 Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, IN
1985-01-05 Hampton Roads Coliseum, Hampton, VA
1985-01-04 Hampton Roads Coliseum, Hampton, VA
1984-12-17 Omni (The), Atlanta, GA
1984-12-16 Omni (The), Atlanta, GA
1984-12-14 Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, TN
1984-12-13 Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, TN
1984-12-11 Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
1984-12-09 Murphy Center, Murfreesboro, TN
1984-12-07 Leon County Civic Center, Tallahassee, FL
1984-12-06 Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Arena, Birmingham, AL
1984-12-02 LSU Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA
1984-11-30 Summit (The), Houston, TX
1984-11-25 Reunion Arena, Dallas, TX
1984-11-23 Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX
1984-11-19 Kemper Arena, Kansas City, MO
1984-11-18 Bob Devaney Sports Center, Lincoln, NE
1984-11-16 Hilton Coliseum, Ames, IA
1984-11-15 St. Louis Arena, St. Louis, MO
1984-11-12 McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, CO
1984-11-11 McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, CO
1984-11-08 ASU Activity Center, Tempe, AZ
1984-11-04 Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles
1984-11-02 Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles 
1980-11-28 Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY


"Mystery Train" is a song written and recorded by American blues musician Junior Parker in 1953. Originally performed in the style of a Memphis blues or rhythm and blues tune, it was inspired by earlier songs and later became a popular rockabilly song, with recordings by Elvis Presley and others. Elvis Presley's version of "Mystery Train" was first released on August 20, 1955, as the B-side of "I Forgot to Remember to Forget".  Sam Phillips at Sun Studios again produced the recoridng, and featured Presley on vocals and rhythm guitar. Toward the end of the record is an echo of the 1946 "Sixteen Tons" by Merle Travis. For Presley's version of "Mystery Train", Scotty Moore also borrowed the guitar riff from Junior Parker's "Love My Baby" (1953), played by Pat Hare. "Mystery Train" is now considered to be an "enduring classic". It was the first recording to make Elvis Presley a nationally known country music star. Music historian Colin Escott noted "One of the mysteries about 'Mystery Train' was where the title came from; it was mentioned nowhere in the song". The song uses lyrics similar to those found in the traditional American folk music group Carter Family's "Worried Man Blues", itself based on an old Celtic ballad, and their biggest selling record of 1930 : 
The train arrived sixteen coaches long
The train arrived sixteen coaches long
The girl I love is on that train and gone
Parker's lyrics include:
Train I ride sixteen coaches long
Train I ride sixteen coaches long
Well, that long black train carries my baby home

Other cover versions

  • In 1973, with the approval of Sam Phillips, Robbie Robertson of the Band wrote additional lyrics for "Mystery Train", and the group recorded this version of the song for their Moondog Matinee album. They later performed the song with Paul Butterfield for their 1976 "farewell" concert The Last Waltz.

Bruce on the artist

Intro to "Mystery Train"

"I wanna send this out tonight....just lost one of the great, great, great fathers of rock and roll ....without whom which none of us would be here tonight, we´ll send this out to for the memory of the great, great Sam Phillips.." 
Junior Parker, recorded "Mystery Train" for producer/Sun Records owner Sam Phillips. He was the founder of Sun Records and Sun Studio, in Memphis, Tennessee, where he produced recordings by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Howlin' Wolf. He launched Presley's career in 1954. 
Whenever he could, Bruce would mention the enormous influence, Elvis had on him and on his music. Elvis is the most covered artist by Bruce (23 times) together with Chuck Berry, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan. The Influence of Elvis on Bruce, is described in a documentary compiled from previously existing footage by Dennis P. Laverty, a former Old Bridge resident who now lives in Staten Island (and who calls Springsteen and Elvis Presley "my two favorite rock stars". He used concert footage and previously released interview segments with Springsteen and various rock experts to show just how important Elvis Presley was to Springsteen.

"It's a cliché story, but watching Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show changed Bruce Springsteen's entire life. "It was the evening I realized a white man could make magic," he said in 2012, "that you did not have to be constrained by your upbringing, by the way you looked, or by the social context that oppressed you. You could call upon your own powers of imagination, and you could create a transformative self." He urged his mother to buy him a guitar after that, and in 1976 he went to Graceland after a Memphis show and even hopped the fence in a failed effort to meet the King himself. Elvis died during the recording of Darkness on the Edge of Town, right as Springsteen was hoping the King would cover his new song "Fire." Springsteen channeled his sorrow into "Come On (Let's Go Tonight)," which later morphed into "Factory."

keynote speech:

"In the beginning, every musician has their genesis moment. For you, it might have been the Sex Pistols, or Madonna, or Public Enemy. It's whatever initially inspires you to action. Mine was 1956, Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was the evening I realized a white man could make magic, that you did not have to be constrained by your upbringing, by the way you looked, or by the social context that oppressed you. You could call upon your own powers of imagination, and you could create a transformative self. A certain type of transformative self, that perhaps at any other moment in American History, might have seemed difficult, if not impossible. And I always tell my kids that they were lucky to be born in the age of reproducible technology, otherwise they'd be traveling in the back of a wagon and I'd be wearing a jester's hat. It's all about timing. The advent of television and its dissemination of visual information changed the world in the fifties the way the internet has over the past twenty years. Remember, it wasn't just the way Elvis looked, it was the way he moved that made people crazy, pissed off, driven to screaming ecstasy, and profane revulsion. That was television. When they made an attempt to censor him from the waist down, it was because of what you could see happening in his pants. Elvis was the first modern Twentieth Century man, the precursor of the Sexual Revolution, of the Civil Rights Revolution, drawn from the same Memphis as Martin Luther King, creating fundamental, outsider art that would be embraced by a mainstream popular culture. Television and Elvis gave us full access to a new language, a new form of communication, a new way of being, a new way of looking, a new way of thinking; about sex, about race, about identity, about life; a new way of being an American, a human being; and a new way of hearing music. Once Elvis came across the airwaves, once he was heard and seen in action, you could not put the genie back in the bottle. After that moment, there was yesterday, and there was today, and there was a red hot, rockabilly forging of a new tomorrow, before your very eyes."


Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Well, that long black train got my baby and gone
Train, train, comin' 'round the bend
Train, train, comin' 'round the bend
Well, it took my baby, but it never will again
No, not again
Train, train, comin' down, down the line
Train, train, comin' down, down the line
Well, it's bringin' my baby 'cause she's mine, all mine
She's mine, all mine
Train, train, comin' 'round, 'round the bend
'Round, 'round the bend
Train, train, comin' 'round, 'round the bend
'Round, 'round the bend
Well, it took my baby, but it never will again
Never will again