The Paul McCartney Project

Rock Island Line

Written by TraditionalUnreleased song

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Rock Island Line” is an American folk song. Ostensibly about the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, it appeared as a folk song as early as 1929. The first recorded performance of “Rock Island Line” was by inmates of the Arkansas Cummins State Farm prison in 1934.

The beginning of the most popular version of the song tells the story of a train operator who smuggles pig iron through a toll gate by claiming all he had on board was livestock, but this episode was a later addition not present in the traditional, 1929 version. The song’s chorus includes:

The Rock Island Line is a mighty good road
The Rock Island Line is the road to ride
The Rock Island Line is a mighty good road
If you want to ride you gotta ride it like you find it
Get your ticket at the station for the Rock Island Line

Many artists subsequently recorded it, often changing the verses and adjusting the lyrics.

Paul McCartney rehearsed this song in anticipation of his 1991 “Unplugged” concert. This rehearsal was officially broadcast as part of the Oobu Joobu radio show.

Last updated on June 21, 2019

Bootlegs


Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial live • Released in 2016

1:44 • LiveL2

Session Recording:
January 1991
Studio :
The Barn, Hog Hill, Rye, UK


Unplugged - The Rehearsals

Unofficial live

1:42 • LiveL2

Session Recording:
January 1991
Studio :
The Barn, Hog Hill, Rye, UK


Lumpy Trousers

Unofficial live

1:42 • Studio versionL2

Session Recording:
January 1991
Studio :
The Barn, Hog Hill, Rye, UK


Rehearsals at 3 Savile Row

Unofficial album

2:29 • Rehearsal • Diggin' My Potatoes-Hey Liley, Liley Ho-


Kansas City (Batz)

Unofficial album

1:43 • Studio version


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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