Wednesday, November 5, 2008

'Charlie on the M.T.A.' in French: Eileen Grayam - Le Metro de Boston b/w Michel

If you lived through the folk music scare of the 1960's, you probably remember singin' or strummin' along to The Kingston Trio and their big 1959 hit 'M.T.A.' (a.k.a. 'Charlie On The M.T.A.', or
'The Man Who Never Returned').

(If you somehow missed it, check out an old video clip)

- - And here it is recorded in French, released in the U.S. way back when by a
Los Angeles-based record label...

Listen to:
Eileen Grayam -
Le Metro de Boston

(Prince Records 45, circa 1963?)
(click for audio)

Listen to:
Eileen Grayam -

(Prince Records 45, circa 1963?)
(click for audio)

There's a dearth of information out there regarding 'Eileen Grayam' and The Storytellers, but one possible theory suggests that this Eileen could be the same American-born yé-yé girl Eileen who recorded in France in the 1960's and had a hit with her French-language version of Nancy Sinatra's 'These Boots Were Made For Walking' in 1966.

That Eileen (a.k.a. Eileen Goldsen) had been in L.A. in the early '60's, had translated folk songs into French following her graduation from UCLA, and following her move to Paris, released a 4-song EP around '65 that included a version of 'Le Metro de Boston'.

The pieces fit for all these Eileens to be one and the same, but without verification it's still
just a theory...

See also:
Follow link for more background information on 'Charlie on the M.T.A.' - - the song, its history, and the Boston transit system.

The (now) MBTA, btw, in recent years has given a nod to the song by naming their electronic ticketing 'smart card' after 'the man who never returned'. ▶

ADDENDUM, 7.6.10:
A belated thanks to Pink Frankenstein (of 'Bardot-a-Go-Go' fame) for an initial Eileen confirmation, going back a couple of years ago when this item was first posted.

More up-to-date thanks go to an anonymous French poster (see comments), who has sent along a link to an illustrated Eileen discography page!


Donna Lethal said...

WOW! Being a native Bostonian I now have this song in my head permanently, and I cannot thank you enough for this amazing find. Off to fwd link to about 100 people.

yohs truly,

The Nag said...

You have delighted me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to come two years later, but here you have an illustrated discography of the one and only Eileen :

Great blog, BTW !

Cheers from France !

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