Train’s success says as much about the band’s rare talent for penning undeniably catchy tunes as it does the state of rock music when they first blew up. Amid an early-2000s landscape dominated by brooding post-grunge and nu-metal acts, the San Francisco outfit’s first big hit, 2001’s “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me),” sounded like a breath of fresh air. The ballad reintroduced rock fans to the kind of irresistibly hummable melodies and soulful vocals (courtesy of frontman Pat Monahan) that had dominated radio in the ’70s and early ’80s. This throwback blend of pop smarts and rock punch didn’t happen overnight, though. Rather, it took Train, who formed back in 1993, almost a decade of club gigs and marathon rehearsals to hammer out. With the accompanying album, also titled Drops of Jupiter, going double platinum, Train proceeded to rattle off a string of hits—five additional Top 10 albums and six more Top 40 singles—that lasted well into the 2010s. Along the way, Train underwent changes in both sound and personnel. Later smashes, like 2009’s “Hey, Soul Sister” (as bubbly as anything from feel-good singer/songwriters like Jason Mraz or Colbie Caillat) and 2012’s Latin-inspired “Drive By” found them steering toward straight pop. “Play That Song,” anchoring 2017’s a girl a bottle a boat, is even sweeter, borrowing its melody from the vintage Hoagy Carmichael composition “Heart and Soul.” Yet Train have never forgotten their roots, a fact made loud and clear on 2016’s Does Led Zeppelin II, which finds Monahan, now the lone original member, honoring the classic rock that had inspired him to become a musician in the first place.
ORIGINSan Francisco, CA