♫ Marrakesh Express ♫ (Redux)

I played this one a couple of years ago, but it was well-received and so tonight I shall … “Play it again, Sam” thanks to our friend Keith for planting this earworm!!!
Marrakesh is a city in Morocco famous for leather goods. The “Marrakesh Express” is the train Graham Nash took on a trip there from Casablanca in 1966. The lyrics are filled with the sights, sounds and vibes that he encountered on the trip.

Prior to exiting the Hollies in 1968, Nash offered this to his band mates. However, the tune was ultimately rejected as being not commercial enough. Their refusal to record this and other tunes he wrote was one of the main reasons Nash left the band and moved to Los Angeles to join up with Crosby and Stills.

“After a couple months of that, a man is liable to go insane. Especially being the only one who was smoking grass at the time.”

Fortunately, his new band mates liked the tune and it ended up on their debut album.

This became Crosby Sills And Nash’s first hit in the US, and surprisingly their only Top 40 single in the UK.  According to Nash …

“In 1966 I was visiting Morocco on vacation to Marrakesh and getting on a train and having a first-class ticket and then realizing that the first-class compartment was completely f–king boring, you know, ladies with blue hair in there – it wasn’t my scene at all. So I decide I’m going to go and see what the rest of the train is like. And the rest of the train was fascinating. Just like the song says, there were ducks and pigs and chickens all over the place and people lighting fires. It’s literally the song as it is – what happened to me.”

Marrakesh Express
Crosby, Stills & Nash

Looking at the world
Through the sunset in your eyes
Trying to make the train
Through clear Moroccan skies
Ducks and pigs and chickens call
Animal carpet wall to wall
American ladies five foot tall in blue.

Sweeping cobwebs from the edges of my mind
Had to get away to see what we could find
Hope the days that lie ahead
Bring us back to where they’ve led
Listen not to what’s been said to you

Would you know we’re riding
On the Marrakesh Express
Would you know we’re riding
On the Marrakesh Express
All on board that train

I’ve been saving all my money just to take you there
I smell the garden in your hair

Take the train from Casablanca going south
Blowing smoke rings from the corners of my my, my, my, my mouth
Colored cottons hang in air
Charming cobras in the square
Striped Djellebas we can wear at home
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
They’re taking me to Marrakesh Express
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
They’re taking me to Marrakesh
All on board that train
All on board that train

Songwriters: Graham Nash
Marrakesh Express lyrics © Spirit Music Group

20 thoughts on “♫ Marrakesh Express ♫ (Redux)

  1. Another piece of musical history I had completely forgotten about. Now that I’ve seen the lyrics for the first time, it makes more sense. What had remained in my mind all these years is the onomatopoeic sound of the line “all aboard the train” but little else. I’ll forever see the song differently from now on 🙂

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    • It always makes me happy when I hear that I’ve shared a song or some facts that were unfamiliar! Being more than 90% deaf for most of my life, I never hear lyrics as they are, so when I started doing these music posts, I was stunned to see some of the lyrics that I had gotten wrong for years!


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  3. Jill, thanks for the shout out. The Hollies missed Nash, although they still had some hits. Nash was, of course, inspired by the other songwriters as well as his future live-in girlfriend Joni Mitchell, who penned a few songs of note. 😉 Keith

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    • Somehow, I just cannot picture The Hollies performing this song … it doesn’t seem their style. Perhaps it all worked out for the best, eh? Oh yeah … Joni Mitchell … seems that name rings a bell … 😉


  4. I still like this one as much as I did last time you played it! Great song from a fantastic album. We didn’t do them justice in our charts but I have all their albums, so at least some of us were buying them!

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