“Desperados Waiting For A Train” was made popular by the famous country group Highwaymen in 1985. Guy Clark wrote the song in 1973 and was performed by Jerry Jeff Walker. The song was recorded for his album Viva Terlingua. However, Walker’s version did not enter the Billboard chart.
In 1985, The Highwaymen which is comprised of Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson recorded the song. They made the song enter the Billboard chart at No. 15. Furthermore, the song remained on the chart for a total of 18 weeks.
Other artists who covered Guy Clark’s song were Rita Coolidge in 1974, David Allan Coe in 1974, Bobby Bare in 1980, and Guy Clark 1975. Coolidge recorded the song for her album Fall into Spring. Coe included the song on his album The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy.
The Song’s Meaning
“Desperados Waiting For A Train” is a song that tells the story of a boy who looks up to an old man. The boy, being the narrator of the song, tells the story of the old man. The old man was a drifter and an oil driller when he was young. He also took care of the boy by taking him to a bar and even giving him money for girls. Even before the old man died, the boy stayed with him. The words Desperados Waiting for a Train are associated with something that we keep on waiting for but never happens, therefore, it starts to become boring.
The song was based on a true story according to Guy Clark. The old man in the song was a guy who is like a grandfather figure to Clark when he was young. The narrator of the song was Clark himself, telling the story of this old man he knew when he was young.
Here is “Desperados Waiting for a Train” by The Highwaymen.