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"A Lotta Locomotion" is the third major song in Starlight Express. It introduces the audience to the coaches: Ashley, Buffy, Dinah, and Pearl.

ContextEdit

Rusty has been sent to fetch the coaches, ready for the start of the race. The pretty new Observation car, Pearl, has tentatively agreed to race with him, but the other coaches talk her out of partnering with a loser. She needs more from a partner, and Locomotion both introduces the individual coaches and talks about what they're looking for.

Virtually every production has tweaked this number in one way or another, from cutting Pearl altogether, to giving Pearl far more solo time than any of the other coaches. Each alteration has served to shorten the original number.

The Original 1984 London production gave each coach equal time in the spotlight, with a verse each to introduce themselves.

In what seems like a rather odd decision, the Broadway Production removed Pearl from this number, having only the other three Coaches describe themselves with a verse each. The subsequent 1989 US Tour remedied the situation by re-incorporating Pearl, but rather than restore her solo verse, she and Dinah shared a verse, Buffy kept the final verse as on Broadway. When the show opened in Las Vegas in 1993, the number was re-written, giving the coaches a snappy introduction to replace "Rusty Can't Be Serious", and a shorter, two verse version of Locomotion. The first verse had one line for each coach to introduce themselves, and the second verse was Pearl's full verse, not previously used in an American production.

J90 Coaches

Coaches from the 1990 cast of the Japan Tour

the 1987 Japan/Australia Tour production took less inspiration from Broadway for this number, and introduced the format also used in Germany, with Buffy and Dinah, both "food cars", sharing a verse and Ashley and Pearl having full introductions.

When Starlight Express was revised in London in 1992 the song was shortened. This time, Buffy's verses were mixed with Ashley's, and Ashley's extra interruption at the end was cut. This version firmly established a hierarchy, with Ashley and Buffy being secondary characters, whilst Pearl and Dinah were the principals.

Since the 2003 US Tour, "A Lotta Locomotion" has been replaced by the sexually loaded "Whole Lotta Locomotion". This song gives only brief introductions to the coaches then proceeds to tell of the coaches's wanting to 'couple up' with an engine. In 2013, "Ne Lok mit Locomotion" was cut from the German production in Bochum and changed to "Nie Genug", the German translation of "A Whole Lotta Locomotion".

Lyrics Edit

1984 London VersionEdit

L84 Coaches 5

Buffy, with Ashley, Pearl and Dinah behind, London 1984

Pearl: A Lotta locomotion,
Coaches: That's what we need,
From a locomotive who can take the lead,
From the Eastern Ocean to the Western Sea,
locomotion's gonna carry me.
A Lotta locomotion,
that's what we need,
If we are ever gonna get up speed.
A lotta locomotion and the right approach
for there are lots of different kinds of coach.
Ashley: Like me I'm Ashley, I'm the smoking car.
I've tried to kick the habit but my insides used to tar,
I know if I don't give up I might choke or have a stroke.
That scares me, and when I'm scared, Boy I need a smoke.
Buffy: Buffy at your service, ever open wide.
My microwave is cooking to warm you from inside.
A lotta locomotion will do the trick.
Come and bite my burgers, I'm hot and cheap and quick.
Dinah: My name is Dinah, I'm the dining car.
I'll cook for you and listen while you lean upon my bar.
I'll serve you with your dinner while the train goes loop-de-loop.
Gee I'm sorry gentlemen, I hope you wanted soup.
Coaches: A lotta locomotion,
that's what we need,
If we are ever gonna get up speed.
From the Eastern Ocean to the Western Sea
locomotion's gonna carry me.
Pearl: My name's Pearl, I'm a brand new girl,
my springs still bounce, my fans still whirl.
Ain't gonna smoke, ain't gonna drink.
Coaches: What are you gonna do?
Pearl: What do you think?
Coaches: A Lotta locomotion,
underneath the sun,
Gonna try them all until she finds the one,
from the Eastern Ocean to the Coast out West...
Pearl: Gonna test them all until I find the best,
Coaches: A Lotta locomotion,
that's what we need,
No one can stop us when we take the lead.
From the Eastern Ocean to the Western Sea...
Don't stop the pistons stroking, don't stop the firemen stoking.
Ashley: Don't make me give up smoking,
Coaches: Give up smoking?
Ashley: You gotta be joking,
Coaches: Locomotion's gonna carry me.

1987 Broadway Concept Album Version Edit

Josie Aiello A lotta locomotion,
[Chorus 1] That's what I need.
No one can stop me when we take the lead.
From the Eastern ocean
To the Western coast,
Gotta find the motion that can move me most.
Travelin' song, and I'm on the move.
Got the right train for today.
I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
Got a one way ticket
To somewhere down the track,
And I just don't know if I'll be coming back.
[Chorus 2] A lotta locomotion,
That's what I need,
If we are ever gonna get up speed.
I got the notion,
I made up my mind.
A lotta locomotion's what I'm gonna find.
I'll decide if we take a ride.
Take me into town.
You can pick me up, but I can put you down.
Look out for the signal.
That'll let you know
When you should stop and when you should go.
A lotta locomotion,
That's what I need.
No one can stop me when we take the lead.
[Chorus 1]
[Chorus 2]

1987 Broadway VersionEdit

In the Broadway production, Pearl left with Rusty to get cleaned up and doesn't return until "Freight", thus missing her role in "A Lotta Locomotion" entirely. Due to this, Buffy took her place with Buffy's lines sung to the melody usually given to Pearl.

Buffy: Buffy here, I'll sell you a beer,
I'll smile at you like I'm sincere.
Thank you no, I don't drink.
Coaches: What do you do then?
Buffy: What do you think?
US87 Coaches 2

Dinah, Buffy, and Ashley, without Pearl, Broadway 1987

1987 Japan/Australia TourEdit

Direct English version of the better known German arrangement.

Dinah: Like me, I’m Dinah, I'm the dining car.
I'll pamper you with passion, free champagne and caviar.
Buffy: Buffy here, I'll sell you a beer, I'll smile at you like I'm sincere.
Not too much or you may drown. What’d you know? He’s fallen down!
Ashley: My name is Ashley, I'm the smoking car.
I've tried to kick the habit but my insides used to tar
I know if I don't give up I might choke or have a stroke.
That scares me, and when I'm scared, Boy I need a smoke.

1988 Bochum Version Edit

The Bochum production used a direct translation of the Japan/Australia version, with the two food cars, Buffy and Dinah, sharing a verse.

Pearl: Ne Lok mit Locomotion
Coaches: Wünsch ich mir
Nen Zug, der uns bewegt, den brauchen wir!
Ganz egal wohin er mit uns fahren will
Locomotion bringt uns schnell ans Ziel
Ne Lok mit Locomotion,
brauchen wir
denn ohne Lok kommen wir nie weg von hier!
Ne Lok mit Locomotion und viel Gefühl,
denn jeder Wagen hat 'nen eignen Stil!
Dinah: Ich heiße Dinah, ich bin fürs Essen da
Ich koche gut und hab' 'nen Platz für dich an meiner Bar.
Buffy: Buffy - hier bei mir gibt's Bier. Und auch ein Lächeln schenk ich dir.
Nicht zuviel, das macht krank. Siehste wohl, schon liegt er lang!
Ashley: Hi, ich bin Ashley. Bin der Rauchwaggon
Ich kann es halt nicht lassen. Nikotin bin ich gewohnt
Ich weiß, das Rauch mir schadet. Dennoch krieg ich nie genug
Wenn ich dran denkt, krieg ich 'nen Schreck. Drum nehm' ich schnell 'nen Zug!
Coaches: Ne Lok mit Locomotion
brauchen wir,
denn ohne Lok kommen wir nie weg von hier 
Ganz egal wohin er mit uns fahren will.
Locomotion bringt uns schnell ans Ziel!
Pearl: Ich heiß Pearl, bin neu im Verkehr.
Bin noch sehr schön, bin sehr bequem
Ich rauche nicht und trink' kein Bier!
Coaches: Was machst du dann?
Pearl: Was glaubt ihr?
Coaches: Ne Lok mit Lokomotion
brauchen wir,
denn ohne Lok kommen wir nie weg von hier!
Ganz egal wohin er mit uns fahren will.
Locomotion bringt uns schnell ans Ziel 
Coaches: Ne Lok mit Lokomotion
brauchen wir
Drum lasst den Schornstein rauchen, Weil wir das Feuer brauchen
Ashley: Ich hör nie auf zu rauchen!
Coaches: Lass das rauchen!
Ashley: Bin nicht zu gebrauchen!
Coaches: Locomotion ist, was uns bewegt!

Slight lyric changes were made to Dinah and Pearl's verses, with Pearl completing her own verse without interjection from the other coaches.

Dinah: Ich heiße Dinah, ich bin fürs Essen da
Ich koche gut und hör Dir zu, bist Du an meiner Bar!
Buffy: Buffy - hier bei mir gibt's Bier. Und auch ein Lächeln schenk ich dir.
Nicht zuviel, das macht krank. Siehste wohl, schon liegt er lang!
Pearl: Ich heiß Pearl, bin neu im Verkehr.
Bin noch sehr schön, bin sehr bequem
Ich biete Luxus, bin charmant,
als erste Klasse weltbekannt!
Ne Lok mit Lokomotion on German TV 200901:39

Ne Lok mit Lokomotion on German TV 2009

1989 US TourEdit

Combining Dinah and Pearl for one verse, allowing Buffy to take the final verse as in the Broadway production.

Dinah: Like me, I’m Dinah, I'm the dining car.
I'll pamper you with passion, free champagne and caviar.
Pearl: But if you're into luxury, then give my fans a whirl
With me, the world's your oyster. That's why they call me Pearl.
Ashley: My name is Ashley, I'm the smoking car.
I've tried to kick the habit but my insides used to tar,
I know if I don't give up I might choke or have a stroke
That scares me, and when I'm scared, Boy I need a smoke.
Coaches: A lotta locomotion,
that's what we need
If we are ever gonna get up speed
From the Eastern Ocean to the Western Sea
locomotion's gonna carry me.
Buffy: Buffy here, I'll sell you a beer,
I'll smile at you like I'm sincere.
Thank you no, I don't drink.
Coaches: What do you do then?
Buffy: What do you think?

1992 Revised London Version Edit

Another re-working, from the original London version with 4 verses, giving priority to Dinah and Pearl over Buffy and Ashley.

Dinah: Like me, I’m Dinah, I'm the dining car
I'll cook for you and listen while you lean upon my bar
I'll serve you with your dinner while the train goes loop-de-loop
Gee I'm sorry gentlemen, I hope you wanted soup.
Buffy: I'm Buffy, have a sandwich, Each one is curled by hand.
Ashley: I'm Ashley, I'm a smoker, The last one in the land.
Buffy: I stack the snacks in plastic packs, The range is really wide.
Ashley: Eat the plastic, that's fantastic,
Both: But don't touch what's inside!
A Lotta Locomotion03:22

A Lotta Locomotion.VOB

Lotta Locomotion - London 2002

1993 Las Vegas VersionEdit

"Rusty Can't Be Serious" Vegas alternative

Ashley: Hey listen to the one man band
Buffy: Rusty, you don’t understand
Dinah: You’ll be nowhere, you’ll be last
Pearl: You ain’t going nowhere fast

All four Coaches shared the first verse, and Pearl also had her solo verse.

Dinah: You need a dining car so you can eat what’s right.
Ashley: You need a smoking car to get you through the night.
Buffy: You need a buffet car or you’ll die of thirst.
Pearl: You need a car with class and that class is first.
US93 Coaches

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