The group Train hadn’t had a hit in the U.S. in five years when they released “Hey, Soul Sister” as the debut single for their fifth album. In the UK, they hadn’t charted since 2001. The song became Columbia Records’ most downloaded song and is the eight most downloaded song in history. WK This lands the song on the DMDB’s list of the top 100 best-selling songs in the world.
The song also topped the charts in sixteen countries. WK Surprisingly, even with its massive sales in the U.S., it only peaked at #3. However, it stayed atop the adult contemporary charts for 22 weeks, making it one of the top 100 adult contemporary songs of all time according to Dave’s Music Database. The DMDB also rates it as one the top 100 songs of the 21st century.
The lyrics are about “a woman who’s got all the right moves.” SF Train’s lead singer and songwriter, Pat Monahan, was inspired by Burning Man, an annual event in the Nevada desert in which a wooden man is burned at the end of the festival and everyone dances around it naked. He had never been, but imagined beautiful women dancing around the fire. WK
He collaborated on the track with Espionage, a Norwegian production duo comprised of Espen Lind and Amund Bjørklund. Previous writing credits included Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” and Chris Brown’s “With You”. SF Monahan told the pair he wanted an INXS-style song, but after getting down the melody and singing it, decided it didn’t sound right. Espen tried it out with ukulele and Monahan, while initially reluctant, decided the approach “made my words dance.” WK He has also said that the use of the ukulele “made everybody happy…people gravitate towards that positive part of it.” SF
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