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"Rolling Stock" is the opening number of Starlight Express and has been throughout the show's history. A pounding rock anthem to the power of engines, it introduces the reigning champion, Greaseball, and his gang.


Context

Depending on the era, "Rolling Stock" has begun in two difference ways:

In the original London and Bochum productions, the song grew out of the Overture, with Greaseball and his gang entering in darkness, looking intimidating in their mainly black costumes and large helmets. In Bochum, Greaseball entered from the top of the bowl, rolling down the middle of the stage directly towards the first row.

In Broadway and most later productions, "Rolling Stock" follows the "Entry of the National Engines", with Greaseball being announced as the reigning champion. In this version, the National Engines join the song.

Some performers choose to have Greaseball enter wearing sunglasses, which he takes off in dramatic slow motion.

Gang b14 Rolling Stock.jpg

History

The music and lyrics of "Rolling Stock" have remained largely unchanged.

The lyrics were briefly tweaked by David Yazbek for the 2003 US tour, with Greaseball singing "Rock 'n' rollin' on a pair of wheels" instead of "You got no lovers if you got no wheels" and "Don't try to show you can go faster than me/This is my back view and it's all you'll see" instead of "What makes you think you can go faster than me?/Check out my back view 'cuz it's all you'll see". These changes were reversed for subsequent productions.

Additionally, a vocal harmony in the chorus was removed in most productions as part of the 1992 "New Starlight Express" revisions.

Finally, the song's tempo gradually accelerated after the original London recording. By 2015, it had increased from its original 107bpm to 115, creating a noticeable shift in feeling. The original tempo was reinstated as part of the 2018 revisions in Bochum.

Lyrics

Original London Lyrics

GREASEBALL: I'm just the fastest thing you'll ever see.
That streak of lightning you just missed was me.
ALL: Don't stop now - you gotta keep it going all night.
Rolling Stock! Rolling Stock!
GREASEBALL: You got no lovers if you got no wheels.
ALL: Come on and heat me up the way you do
And I can keep it going longer than you
Don't stop now, you gotta keep it going all night
GREASEBALL: Don't try to show you can go faster than me.
This is my back view and it's all you'll see.
ALL: Don't stop now - we gotta keep it going all night.
Rolling Stock! We're Rolling Stock!
Rolling Stock! We're Rolling Stock!
(instrumental break)
GREASEBALL: So get the motion in your wheels somehow.
The racing action's starting here and now.
ALL: Don't stop now - you gotta keep it all night.
GREASEBALL: Deep down inside you know that I am the best
So come on, baby, put me to the test
ALL: Don't stop now, you gotta keep it going all night!
Rolling Stock! We're Rolling Stock!

Revised Lyrics

The later version of English lyrics used in tours such as the Las Vegas tour, then later brought back for the London Revival.

GREASEBALL: I'm just the fastest thing you'll ever see.
That streak of lightning you just missed was me.
ALL: Don't stop now - you gotta keep it going all night.
Rolling Stock! Rolling Stock!
GREASEBALL: You got no wheels, you don't know how it feels.
ALL: Rolling Stock! Rolling Stock!
GREASEBALL: You got no lovers if you got no wheels.
GREASEBALL: Don't try to show you can go faster than me.
This is my back view and it's all you'll see.
ALL: Don't stop now - we gotta keep it going all night.
Rolling Stock! We're Rolling Stock!
Rolling Stock! We're Rolling Stock!
(instrumental break)
GREASEBALL: So get the motion in your wheels somehow.
The racing action's starting here and now.
ALL: Don't stop now - we gotta keep it all night.
Rolling Stock! We're Rolling Stock!
Rolling Stock! We're Rolling Stock!
Rolling Stock! We're Rolling Stock!
Rolling_Stock_-_Pebble_Mill_London_1994

Rolling Stock - Pebble Mill London 1994

London Cast perform "Rolling Stock" on TV show "Pebble Mill"

Bochum Lyrics

ALL: Ich bin der Schnellste, den es jemals gab,
denn wie der Blitz fahr' ich bergauf, bergab,
ich mach' mit und keiner kann mich bremsen - heut' Nacht!
Rolling Stock, Rolling Stock
GREASEBALL: Und wer nicht rollt, erlebt nie das Gefühl.
ALL: Rolling Stock, Rolling Stock
GREASEBALL: Und in der Liebe kommt er nie ans Ziel.
GREASEBALL: Komm heiz mir ein und dann bring mich in Fahrt
und du wirst sehen, welche Zugkraft ich hab.
Ich mach' mit und keiner kann mich bremsen - heut' Nacht!
Und wenn du glaubst, du bist noch schneller als ich,
dann zeigt mein Rücklicht dir: du bist es nicht!
ALL: Ich mach' mit und keiner kann mich bremsen - heut' Nacht!
Rolling Stock, der Rolling Stock
Rolling Stock, der Rolling Stock
(instrumental break)
ALL: Kommt macht euch auf die Räder für den Start,
weil der Moment des großen Rennens naht,
ich mach' mit und keiner kann mich bremsen - heut' Nacht!
Rolling Stock, der Rolling Stock
Rolling Stock, der Rolling Stock
Rolling Stock, der Rolling Stock - HUH!

2018 Bochum Lyrics + Translation

ALL: Ich bin der Schnellste, den es jemals gab, I‘m the fastest who’s ever existed
Denn wie der Blitz fahr' ich bergauf, bergab, Cause like lightning, I go uphill, downhill
Ich mach' mit und keiner kann mich bremsen - heut' Nacht! I take part and nobody can slow me down - tonight!
Rolling Stock, Rolling Stock Rolling Stock, Rolling Stock
GREASEBALL: Und wer nicht rollt, erlebt nie das Gefühl. And who doesn’t roll won’t experience the feeling
ALL: Rolling Stock, Rolling Stock Rolling Stock, Rolling Stock
GREASEBALL: Und in der Liebe kommt er nie ans Ziel. And he’ll never reach his destination of love
Und wenn du glaubst, du bist noch schneller als ich, And if you think you’re faster than me
Dann zeigt mein Rücklicht dir: du bist es nicht! Then my rear light shows you: it’s not you!
ALL: Ich mach' mit und keiner kann mich bremsen - heut' Nacht! I take part and nobody can slow me down - tonight!
Rolling Stock, der Rolling Stock Rolling Stock, the Rolling Stock
Rolling Stock, der Rolling Stock Rolling Stock, the Rolling Stock
(instrumental break)
ALL: Kommt macht euch auf die Räder für den Start, Now get on the wheels for the start
Weil der Moment des großen Rennens naht, Cause the moment of the big race is approaching
Ich mach' mit und keiner kann mich bremsen - heut' Nacht! I take part and nobody can slow me down tonight
Rolling Stock, der Rolling Stock Rolling Stock, the Rolling Stock
Rolling Stock, der Rolling Stock Rolling Stock, the Rolling Stock
Rolling Stock, der Rolling Stock - HUH! Rolling Stock, the Rolling Stock - HUH!


Video

Overture_-_Rolling_Stock_-_Las_Vegas_1996

Overture - Rolling Stock - Las Vegas 1996

Rolling Stock - Las Vegas 1996

Rolling_Stock_-_Broadway_-_Macy's_Day_Parade,_1987

Rolling Stock - Broadway - Macy's Day Parade, 1987

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