The classic double album by The Clash, “London Calling” contains 19 tracks but only 18 of them are listed on the album sleeve.
The final track #19, “Train in Vain“, was originally excluded from the back cover’s track listing because it was intended to be given away through a promotion with NME. When the NME deal fell though, the track was added to the album at the last minute on Side Four as Track 5.
“Train in Vain” was written in one night and recorded the next day near the very end of the recording for “London Calling”. The song was recorded after the artwork for the album had already been sent to the printer. With the sleeve already printed, the song was tacked onto the end of the master tape. It was not originally intended as a hidden track. Mick Jones commented,
“The real story on ‘Train in Vain’ is that originally we needed a song to give to the NME for a flexi disk that NME was going to do. And then it was decided that it didn’t work out or decided the flexi disk didn’t work out so we had this spare track we had done as a giveaway. So we put it on London Calling but there wasn’t time because the sleeves were already done.”
The result of its late addition was that it was the only song without lyrics printed on the insert, and was not listed as a track, although its presence is announced as the title and position on the original vinyl record was scratched into the vinyl in the needle run-off area on the fourth side of the album.
The song was later added on future album releases as “Train In Vain“.
On the single it is listed as “Train In Vain (Stand By Me)” as people had already assumed that the untitled song was called “Stand By Me”.