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"Pumping Iron" is a rock 'n' roll song in which Greaseball boasts about how attractive and powerful he is.

Context

Greaseball arrives onstage and the various female characters flock to him. He dances with each of them, paying particular attention to his partner, Dinah, and the new girl, Pearl.

History

In the original London production, "Pumping Iron" was placed after "A Lotta Locomotion". Rusty left to fetch the Freight carriages as Greaseball arrived with the 2nd and 3rd class sleepers in tow.

When the show was revised for Broadway, "Pumping Iron" was moved after "AC/DC" – where it has remained ever since. Now the song serves as Greaseball's reply to Electra. He even seduces Electra's female components (Joule, Volta and Wrench) to dance with him. Placing "Pumping Iron" immediately after "AC/DC" also highlights the contrast between the 2 competitors, as Electra's futuristic electro music is answered by Greaseball's old-fashioned rock 'n' roll.

In the 2018 re-writes, the National Engines also join in during the dance break. The new dancing choreography pits the following engines with the following wagons: Greaseball with Dinah; Coco with Volta; Espresso with Joule; Ruhrgold with Wrench; Turnov with Belle; Manga with Carrie; and Brexit with Rocky 3.

Video


Lyrics

Original London Lyrics

CONTROL: Oh boy - here comes trouble!
It's the reigning champion!
COACHES: It's Greaseball!
It's Greaseball!
Greaseball the diesel!
Choose me Greaseball,
Race with me.
DINAH: Back off girls - he's mine.
GREASEBALL: Here comes the diesel train
With its steel refrain,
Hear me knocking.
The diesel's on its way,
It's gonna win the day,
Hear me knocking.
Listen to the chatter of the diesel force,
Generating twenty seven hundred horse,
Camshaft rolling while the rockers rock,
Hear me knock.
See me hustle,
Feel my muscle,
Pumping Iron.
Trying to build my body,
Trying to lose my mind.
See me straining,
I'm in training,
Pumping Iron.
I'm a diesel engine,
I'm knocking, I'm knocking, I'm knocking,
I'm Pumping Iron.
COACHES: Well he's the one they'll choose,
You know he just can't lose,
Hear him knocking.
There ain't another rig
That's even half as big,
Hear him knocking.
Everybody's gonna say "that train is smart",
The mighty diesel engine is a work of art.
The undisputed leader of the Rolling Stock,
GREASEBALL: See me knock.
ALL: See me hustle,
Feel my muscles,
Pumping Iron.
Stretching my bullworker,
I'm heaving on my weights.
See my flex my delts and pecs
I'm Pumping Iron.
I'm a diesel engine
I'm knocking, I'm knocking, I'm knocking -
Heading for the rally (heading for the rally)
Gonna win the first race (gonna win the first race)
I'm gonna run the longest (the biggest and the strongest)
I'm knocking, I'm knocking, you know I'm knocking.
Man - I'm so beautiful -
I'm PUMPING IRON !

1987 Broadway Concept Album Lyrics

GREASEBALL: When I am working out
I hear my body shout
Hear me knocking
And then I start to boil
I need a change of oil
Hear me knocking
Generating twenty seven hundred horse,
Gotta get the power, gotta get the force
Pushing and pulling 'til it starts to rock
Hear me knock
Hear me knock
Hear me knock
See me hustle,
Feel my muscle,
Pumping Iron.
Trying to build my body,
But forgot that I'm losing my mind.
See me straining,
I'm in training,
Pumping Iron.
I'm pumping like an engine
And I'm knocking
I said I'm knocking
And I'm knocking
Hear me knock!
I'm Pumping Iron
I love my body so
I love to see it grow
Hear me knocking
There ain't another rig
That's even half as big
Hear me knocking
Pumping up the pressure as the pain gets worse
Stronger than my masters of the universe
Heavy metal welded in a solid rock
Hear me knock, hear me knock, hear me knock
Oh no!
See me straining,
I'm in training,
Pumping Iron.
I'm pumping like an engine
I'm knocking
I'm knocking
I'm knocking
Hear me knock!
I'm Pumping Iron
See me hustle,
Feel my muscle,
Pumping Iron.
I'm trying to build my body,
But you know I'm gonna lose my mind.
See me straining,
I'm in training,
Pumping Iron.
I'm pumping like an engine
'Cause I'm knocking
I'm knocking
I'm knocking
Hear me knock!
I'm Pumping Iron
(riffing/trailing off) I'm Pumping Iron
Feel my muscle
See me hustle
I'm Pumping Iron
Look at me
You see me knocking
But you can't come in - Oh!
Can't come in
Feel my muscle!
No, no, no!

1997 Mexico + Translation

Pura Fibra (Pure Muscle) includes only the coaches and female components singing alongside Turbo (Greaseball).[1]

TURBO (Spanish): Ya llegué!!! GREASEBALL (English): I've arrived!
CONTROL: Aquí va a pasar algo CONTROL: Here comes something else
COCHES: Es Turbo, es diesel COACHES: It's Greaseball! It's diesel
Es Turbo es Diesel It's Greaseball the diesel!
CONTROL: El actual campeón CONTROL: The current champion
COCHES: Es Turbo es diesel COACHES: It's Greaseball, it's diesel
Es Turbo es diesel It's Greaseball the diesel
Escógeme Turbo, corre conmigo Choose me Greaseball, race with me!
VIANDA: Atrás chiquitas, ¡es mío! DINAH: Get away girls, he's mine!
TURBO: Con este súper tren GREASEBALL: With this super train
Sabes quién es quién You know who is who
Y te suena And you hear it
El Diesel con su voz The diesel with it's voice
Al triunfo va veloz Will quickly reach the triumph
Y te suena And you hear it
Oye al metal vibrando al correr Here the metal vibrate as it runs
Casi son tres mil caballos de poder With nearly three thousand horse power
Mis cilindros suenan en un solo bloc My cylinders sound in a single block
¡cómo rock! Rock!
Ve de lejos Mis conejos See from far my muscles
¡Pura fibra! Pure Muscle!
Me mantengo en forma I am keeping fit
Hasta enroquecer While I rock
Voy jalando arrastrando I am hauling and dragging
Pura fibra Pure muscle!
Soy motor de diesel I'm a diesel engine
Suena, suena, te suena You hear it, you hear it, you hear it
Soy pura fibra I am pure muscle
COCHES: A el he de escoger COACHES: You have to choose him
Jamás podrá perder He will never lose
Como suena How he sounds!
De frente al Cabús In front of the caboose
Tu dices hay Jesus! You say oh Jesus!
Como suena How he sounds
Y miradas de ¡que buen maquinón! And look at that good machine
Con su motor es lo mejor With his motor, he's the best
De la creación Of creation
Y aunque no es electrico And although he's not electric
Te da un shock He'll give a shock!
TURBO: Y mucho rock GREASEBALL: And lots of rock!
Ve de lejos mis conejos See from far my muscles
Pura fibra Pure muscle!
Hago contracciones I make contractions
Con mi gran tractor With my great tractor
Son mis bíceps y mis tríceps They're my biceps and my triceps
Pura fibra Pure Muscle
Soy motor de diesel I'm a diesel engine
Sueno (Suena) And I sound it (He's sounds it)
Sueno (suena) And I sound it (He's sounds it)
Te sueno (suena, suena) You hear it me (He's sounds it, he sounds it)
Voy a las carreras (Va a las carreras) I'm going to the race (He's going to the race)
Rey en la Primera (Rey en la Primera) King in the first (King in the first)
Luego con el resto (a todo está dispuesto) Soon with the rest (Everything is arranged)
Sueno, sueno, sueno, sueno I sound, I sound, I sound, I shoud
(suena, suena, suena, te suena) (He sounds, he sounds, he sounds, you hear him)
COCHES: Y además COACHES: And also!
TURBO: Que buen cabús me traigo GREASEBALL: That good caboose will help me
Soy pura fibra I'm pure muscle

German Lyrics + Translation

GREASEBALL (German): Hey! Moment! GREASEBALL (English): Hey! A moment!
CONTROL: Oh Mann, da kommt der amtierende Weltmeister! CONTROL: Oh man, here comes the reigning world champion!
COACHES: Seht Greaseball, Greaseball, Greaseball der Diesel! COACHES: Look Greaseball, Greaseball, Greaseball the Diesel!
Nimm mich, Greaseball, renn' mit mir! Take me, Greaseball, race with me!
DINAH: Weg da, der gehört mir! DINAH: Get away, he's mine!
GREASEBALL: Hier kommt die Diesellok, GREASEBALL: Here comes the diesel locomotive,
Der Held des Rolling Stock, The hero of the Rolling Stock,
Hört den Rhythmus. Hear the rhythm.
Steigt in den Diesel ein, Get on the Diesel,
Er wird der Sieger sein, He will be the winner,
Hört den Rhythmus. Hear the rhythm.
Nur der Dieselmotor hat die Antriebskraft, Only the diesel engine has the driving force,
Die viel mehr PS als jeder and're schafft, That creates much more horsepower than any other,
Und im Rennen immer vorne liegt - mein Rhythmus siegt! And is always ahead in the race - my rhythm wins!
Seht mich laufen, Watch me run,
Hört mich schnaufen, Hear me huff,
Pumping Iron! Pumping Iron!
Training stählt den Körper, Training strengthens the body,
Bringt um den Verstand. Drives you out of your mind
Stangen heben, mich bewegen, Lifting bars, moving around,
Pumping Iron! Pumping Iron!
Diesel hat den Vorzug: Diesel has the advantage:
Hat Rhythmus, Has rhythm,
Hat Rhythmus, Has rhythm,
Hat Rhythmus, Has rhythm,
I'm Pumping Iron! I'm Pumping Iron!
COACHES: Er hat die beste Chance, COACHES: He has the best chance,
Er ist die Nummer eins, He is number one,
Er hat Rhythmus. He has rhythm.
ALL: Mein/sein Chassis ist stahlhart, ALL: My/his chassis is hard as steel,
Mein/sein Motor bringt in Fahrt, My/his engine gets going,
Ich/er hat Rhythmus I/he has rhythm
COACHES: Jeder findet diesen Zug sehr attraktiv, COACHES: Everyone finds this train very attractive,
Wünscht sich, dass er mit ihm dieses Rennen lief'. Wishes, that they'd ran this race with him.
Diesel ist bei allen Wagen sehr beliebt! Diesel is very popular with all the cars!
GREASEBALL: Mein Rhythmus siegt! GREASEBALL: My rhythm wins!
(Dance break) (Dance break)
ALL: Seht mich laufen, ALL: Watch me run,
Hört mich schnaufen, Hear me huff,
Pumping Iron. Pumping Iron.
GREASEBALL: Ich stähl' meinen Kolben, GREASEBALL: I strengthen my pistons,
Heb' jedes Gewicht. Lifting every weight.
ALL: Ich renn' mit, denn ich in fit, ALL: I'll race with you, 'cos I'm fit,
Pumping Iron. Pumping Iron.
GREASEBALL: Diesel hat den Vorzug: GREASEBALL: Diesel has the advantage:
Hat Rhythmus, Has rhythm,
Hat Rhythmus... Has rhythm...
Diesel ist im Rennen. Diesel is in the running.
COACHES: Diesel ist im Rennen. COACHES: Diesel is in the running.
GREASEBALL: Siegt im ersten Rennen. GREASEBALL: Wins in the first race.
COACHES: Siegt im ersten Rennen. COACHES: Wins in the first race.
GREASEBALL: Ich bin heut' der Erste, GREASEBALL: I am first today,
ALL: Der Größte und der Stärkste, ALL: The biggest and the strongest,
GREASEBALL: Hab' Rhythmus, GREASEBALL: Has rhythm,
Rhythmus, Rhythm,
Rhythmus, Rhythm,
Rhythmus, Rhythm,
Oh yeah! Oh yeah!
Mein Gott, bin ich schön! My God, I am beautiful!
I'm Pumping Iron! I'm Pumping Iron!
  • In 2018, the coaches took the "trying to lose my mind" line.


Trivia

When "Pumping Iron" was repositioned, the characters of the Sleepers were removed from the show as they only existed for this one number. The performers doubled as Joule and Volta, so they would already be onstage after "AC/DC".

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