Songwriters Remake Soul Asylum’s ‘Runaway Train’ for Video’s 25th Anniversary
Singer-songwriters Skylar Grey, Jamie N Commons and Gallant have recreated Soul Asylum’s 1993 hit, “Runaway Train,” and shared a video that might also help locate a new generation of lost children.
The original Tony Kaye-directed video for “Runaway Train” famously featured real-life footage of missing children in the hopes that it might lead to their discovery. As the song rose up the charts — peaking at Number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 — the video became a staple on MTV and miraculously led to the location and recovery of 21 of the 36 missing kids featured in the video.
“Runaway Train 25” — meant to mark the 25th anniversary of the video, which would have been last year — finds Gray, Jamie N Commons and Gallant putting a distinctly contemporary pop spin on the song, though without losing any of its original potency.
The video, meanwhile, was produced alongside the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and takes a novel approach to the original clip’s mission. Though a standard version is available to watch on YouTube, if it’s viewed on the “Runaway Train 25” website, geo-targeting technology changes the footage so that viewers receive information about children from their area who have gone missing.
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In an interview with Billboard, Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner spoke about the legacy of “Runaway Train” and the success of the video. “I’m not even suggesting that one thing led to the other, but as far as trying to bring about some awareness by using the platform of MTV, it really surprised me that it was as effective as it was,” he said. “Katie Couric was asking me about runaway children. It just was a direction that was very pleasing to me, because the rock videos were just getting more and more shallow, if you will. So I wanted to do something that had impact in the real world, and it did.”
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