"Starlight Express", the title song from the musical, is the closing number for Act One. Rusty sings alone on a darkened stage.

The song has been reworked a few times, each time getting shorter and simpler. There are three distinct versions:

  • the original London version, which has verses starting "When your Good-nights Have Been Said"
  • the Broadway version, whose verses have a different melody and starting "When the Night is Darkest"
  • a shortened version of the Original London version, which cuts the mid-8 section.

Context

After the chaos of Laughing Stock, in which every character is onstage, either supporting or disparaging Rusty, he is left on his own to try to summon the courage to follow through with his promise to race in Poppa's place. Poppa has such faith in The Starlight Express, but Rusty is unsure, and sings this number outlining his worries.

Music

We first hear the "Starlight Express" melody during the overture, as the lullaby sung by Control's mother, and sung by Poppa (and Belle) to try to encourage Rusty to step up and race. The melody becomes more significant as a victory theme in Act Two.

In the original London recording, there is a large cut between the Starlight Express intro and the song "Starlight Express", leading to some confusion over the running order of the show. Within this cut material is two races and "Laughing Stock", but the cut is edited so smoothly that there is no apparent jump.

Lyrics

1984 Original London Lyrics

RUSTY: When you good nights have been said
And you are lying in bed
With the covers pulled up tight
And though you count every sheep
You get the feeling that sleep
Is going to stay away tonight.
That's when you hear it coming
That is when you hear the humming of the
Midnight train, here again,
Can't explain that midnight train,
That midnight train!
Starlight Express, you must confess,
Are you real, yes or no?
Starlight Express, answer me yes.
I don't want you to go.
Want you to take me away
But bring me back before daylight
And in the time between
Take me to everywhere
But don't abandon me there
Just want to say I've been.
I believe in you completely
Though I may be dreaming sweetly
I can hear the train, here again.
Can't explain that midnight train,
That midnight train!
Starlight Express, you must confess,
Are you real, yes or no?
Starlight Express, answer me yes
I don't want you to go
Starlight Express, answer me yes
I don't want you to go
Starlight Express, you must confess,
Are you real, yes or no?
Starlight Express, answer me yes
I don't want you to go.

1987 Revised Broadway Lyrics

RUSTY: When the night is darkest, open up your mind
What can you see? Is it getting clearer
Listen to the distance, listen and you'll find
The midnight train is getting nearer
Starlight Express, Starlight Express
Are you real? Yes or no?
Starlight Express, answer me yes
I don't want you to go
Show me all the places I have never seen
But bring me home safely before I wake up
I don't want to stay there, just to say I've been
Take me with you through the night, but get me back before daylight
Starlight Express, Starlight Express
Are you real? Yes or no?
Starlight Express, please answer me yes
I don't want you to go
And if you're there, and if you know,
Then show me which way I must go?
Starlight Express, Starlight Express
Are you real? Yes or no?
Starlight Express, please answer me yes
I don't want you to go
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Are you real, are you near?
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
I need you to be here!

1988 Original Bochum Lyrics

RUSTY: Wird es um mich dunkel, wird es in mir still
Seh' ich ein Licht leuten in der Ferne.
Und hör' ich den Nachtzug, der mich holen will,
Dann folge ich dem Zug der Sterne.
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Wo bist du? Sag' es mir.
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Ich brauche dich jetzt und wünsch' mit, du wärst hier.
Nimm mich mit und zeig' mir, was ich noch nie sah,
Bring' mich zurück, ich will dort nicht bleiben
Und wenn ich erwache, weiß ich, du warst da,
Ich gehe mit dir durch die Nacht, komm' wieder, eh' der Tag erwacht!
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Wo bist du? Sag' es mir!
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Ich brauche dich jetzt und wünsch' mir, du wärst hier.
Wenn es dich gibt, dann zeige mir den Weg,
Damit ich nicht verlier',
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Wo bist du? Holst du mich?
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Du weißt, ich brauche dich.
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Wo bist du? Sag' es mir.
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Ich bitt' dich komm' zu mir.

2013 Revised Bochum Lyrics

RUSTY: Der Mond wirft Schatten auf's Dach,
Du liegst im Bett und bist wach,
Endlos langsam fließt die Zeit.
Du zählst das hundertste Schaf,
Doch findest nicht in den Schlaf
Und starrst nur in die Dunkelheit.
Dann fühlst du ihn erscheinen,
Den du schon so oft sahst in deinen Träumen:
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Wo bist du? Sag' es mir.
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Ich brauche dich jetzt und wünsch' mir, du wärst hier.
Trag mich ins Weltall hinaus,
Doch bring' mich wieder nach Hause
Bevor der Tag erwacht.
Flieg' mit mir himmelweit fort,
Aber verlass' mich nicht dort,
Bleib bei mir in der Nacht!
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Wo bist du? Sag' es mir.
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Ich brauche dich jetzt und wünsch' mir, du wärst hier.
Wenn es dich gibt, dann zeige mir den Weg,
Damit ich nicht verlier'!
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Wo bist du? Holst du mich?
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Du weißt, ich brauche dich.
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Wo bist du? Sag' es mir.
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Ich bitt' dich komm' zu mir.

2017 London Workshop Lyrics

RUSTY: Listening in the darkness, waiting for a sign
I hope, I think, but I can’t be certain
Hoping for a signal, hoping down the line
Someone somewhere draws back the curtain
Starlight Express, Starlight Express
Are you real? I wish I knew
Starlight Express, answer me yes
I need you to be true
Take me to the places I have never been
Bring me home safely before I wake up
Help me to believe in all I’ve never seen
This is not the kind of thing that anyone could make up
Starlight Express, Starlight Express
Are you real? Yes or no?
Starlight Express, answer me yes
I don’t want you to go
And if you’re there and if you know
Then show me which way I should go
Starlight Express, Starlight Express
Are you real? Yes or no?
Starlight Express, answer me yes
I don’t want you to go
Starlight Express, Starlight Express,
Are you real? Are you near?
Starlight Express, answer me yes 
I need you to be here.

Boyband Lyrics

For the German show's 15th Anniversary, the current Rusty and his understudies formed a "Rusty Boyband" and released a pop arrangement of the title song.

Starlight_Express_(Boy_Band_Version)

Starlight Express (Boy Band Version)

Audio - Starlight Express Boyband version.

1997 Mexico Spanish Lyrics

Despite the Mexico Production of Starlight Express Cast Recording was unable to release due to complications with the rights, audio of some songs from the live show have been recorded and made available via compartiendoaudios on YouTube.

Starlight_Express_-_Ricardo_Villarreal_Audio-0

Starlight Express - Ricardo Villarreal Audio-0

Videos

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.