Last Train to Clarksville

(written by: Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart )
Originally recorded by: The Monkees

Take the last train to clarksville,
And Iíll meet you at the station.
You can be be there by four thirty,
ícause I made your reservation.
Donít be slow, oh, no, no, no!
Oh, no, no, no!

ícause Iím leaviní in the morning
And I must see you again
Weíll have one more night together
ítil the morning brings my train.
And I must go, oh, no, no, no!
Oh, no, no, no!
And I donít know if Iím ever coming home.

Take the last train to clarksville.
Iíll be waiting at the station.
Weíll have time for coffee flavored kisses
And a bit of conversation.
Oh... oh, no, no, no!
Oh, no, no, no!

Take the last train to clarksville,
Now I must hang up the phone.
I canít hear you in this noisy
Railroad station all alone.
Iím feeliní low. oh, no, no, no!
Oh, no, no, no!
And I donít know if Iím ever coming home.

Take the last train to clarksville,
Take the last train to clarksville,
[repeat and fade]


This was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, a songwriting team who came up with many songs for the Monkees. They also wrote songs for Chubby Checker and Jay And The Americans. 
Boyce and Hart wrote this as a protest to the Vietnam War. They had to keep this quiet in order to get it recorded, but it is about a guy who gets drafted and goes to fight in the war. The train is taking him to an army base, and he knows he may die in Vietnam. At the end of the song he states, "I don't know if I'm ever coming home." 
Bobby Hart: "We were just looking for a name that sounded good. There's a little town in Northern Arizona I used to go through in the summer on the way to Oak Creek Canyon called Clarksdale. We were throwing out names, and when we got to Clarksdale, we thought Clarksville sounded even better. We didn't know it at the time, [but] there is an Air Force base near the town of Clarksville, Tennessee - which would have fit the bill fine for the story line. We couldn't be too direct with The Monkees. We couldn't really make a protest song out of it - we kind of snuck it in." 
Hart got the idea for the lyrics when he turned on the radio and heard the end of The Beatles' "Paperback Writer." He thought Paul McCartney was singing "Take the last train," and decided to use the line when he found out McCartney was actually singing "Paperback Writer." 
The Monkees didn't play on this. The 4 members of the group were chosen from over 400 applicants to appear on a TV show based on The Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night. The show was about a fictional band, so the members were chosen more for their looks and acting ability than for their musical talent. Session musicians played on their albums. 
This was The Monkees' first single. It was released shortly after their TV show started on NBC and got a lot of publicity as a result. The Monkees followed this up with another hit, "I'm A Believer," and had several more hits before their show was canceled in 1968. Eventually, the group wrote their own songs and played their own instruments. (

Rick Springfield performed this song live a couple of times including Harris, MI 6/17/00 (2nd show) and Columbus, OH 8/10/00

Footnote - the background picture was taken in Columbus, OH on 8/10/00 (but not during the actual performance of the song)