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|"Driving the Last Spike"|
|Song by Genesis|
|from the album We Can't Dance|
|Recorded||March – September 1991|
|Label||Charisma/Virgin (UK), Atlantic Records (US)|
|Songwriter(s)||Lyrics - Phil Collins|
Music - Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford
|Producer(s)||Nick Davis, Genesis|
The song's lyrics were written by Phil Collins. They are about the Navvies—railway workers of the 19th century—many of whom died constructing Britain's railways. The song narrates the thoughts and feelings of an unnamed railway worker in the form of a soliloquy or internal monologue. The title is a phrase meaning the completion of a major railway project—placing the "last spike" is often a momentous occasion. The original idea came from a book that actor Dennis Waterman gave to Collins.
Despite not being released as a single, "Driving the Last Spike" charted in Canada and the United States, peaking at number 51 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart and number 25 on the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart.
"Driving the Last Spike" was performed live only on the band's 1992 The Way We Walk Tour. The second half of the song (starting at 5:41) was transposed to a lower key starting after the first nine shows of the tour. This was done to accommodate Collins' deepening voice without straining. (A recording of an early performance of "Driving the Last Spike" was released as an Atlantic Records promo CD featuring the entire song in the album key.)
|Canada Top Singles (RPM)||51|
|US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)||25|