Track of the Day: 'Last Train to Clarksville' by Cassandra Wilson

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

One of our regular TOTD contributors serves up another gem:

The Monkees were likely the first manufactured pop group. A response to the overwhelming popularity of The Beatles, The Monkees were the star of a weekly sitcom where they had “zany” adventures, in the style of “A Hard Day’s Night.” The group was savagely panned by critics at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight, their songs are pop gems with great hooks and catchy lyrics. “Last Train to Clarksville” was their first single, going to number 1.

Years later, Cassandra Wilson revisited the song, slowing it way down and turning it into a sultry jazz number. It’s a complete reimagining of the song, with off-the-beat drumming and scat singing added.

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