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Pop Culture

Soul Asylum's 90's hit song 'Runaway Train' helped save 21 missing children

Some songs literally change lives.

Soul Asylum; missing and exploited children; music video

Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train" actually saved 21 missing children.

Anyone who was a teen in the '90s will remember the grunge era. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were topping the charts with their gravely metaphorical lyrics, but they weren't alone. Soul Asylum burst onto the scene with their solemn anthem "Runaway Train" complete with a video that showcased missing kids.

The video gave missing and exploited children a much bigger platform to be recognized on, because before the video was showcased on MTV, milk cartons were the common method to distribute these photos. In theory, milk cartons seem like a pretty effective way to highlight missing children, but in reality, eventually people would become blind to the photos.

The music video for "Runaway Train" was played all around the world and to the target audience that would most likely recognize the faces. It should come as no surprise, then, that the video helped to bring home 21 missing children. What is surprising, is that the band had to push to keep the pictures of the missing kids in the music video because people didn't think it was working.


David Pirner, the band's lead singer, explained to The Guardian that the song was a metaphor for his depression and the line "call you up in the middle of the night" was actually about a friend that would answer his late-night calls no matter what time. He told the outlet that he had a fascination with trains from a young age, so he used the imagery of a runaway train as a metaphor for when his depression was out of control. As cliches would have it, the rest is history.

Well, that is, of course, until you realize that the song did more than give moody teens an anthem for their feelings. It actually brought them home.

When I watched the music video as a young teen, the gravity of the photos that flashed across my screen didn't truly sink in. What Soul Asylum did in 1993 was the epitome of using your platform for a good cause and unbeknown to young teens like myself, it saved actual lives.

The producer, Tony Kaye, got the idea to put missing children in the video after seeing a billboard of a milk carton that displayed the face of a missing child. He told The Guardian that The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children sent them photos of the missing kids they wanted highlighted in the video and at the end of the video the text would instruct viewers to call a number if they had seen the children featured.

But the record company was fully prepared to pull the plug because it didn't seem to be working. Kaye insisted on leaving the photos and before too long, the tactic started working. Child after child was returning home and when one was found, they'd replace the photo with a different child. They told The Guardian that 21 of the 36 kids featured were returned home.

Missing children on milk cartons.

Missing children on milk cartons.

Screenshot/YouTube

That definitely seems like something to brag about and with the group's 30-year anniversary album release and their upcoming tour, it's something to highlight and attempt to repeat. In 2019, a different artist recorded their version of "Runaway Train" in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in hopes of bringing more missing children home using updated technology. The song is powerful on its own but coupling it with helping to locate missing and exploited children, elevates it to another level.

If you're itching for a grunge fix like me, go reacquaint yourself with Soul Asylum's songs and go catch them on tour with Everclear. The tour starts November 5 in Carrollton, Texas.

Community

Decluttering top of mind for 2024? This Facebook group can help

This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

With the new year comes plenty of resolutions we all vow to keep up with the best of intentions. But by February 1, our resolve has often waned as life gets in the way and things go back to how they were. What we all need a little more of is motivation.

When we participate in something collectively, it’s easier to meet goals and maintain the enthusiasm to get things done. While the support of a friend or two is great, imagine having the power of an entire online community cheering you on and offering advice along the way.

This is where the Daily Decluttering Challenge Facebook group comes in. This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

“By building a network of people who can support and encourage you along the way, you can make progress towards your goals faster and more effectively. Remember, no one achieves success alone, and having a strong support system can make the difference in a goal set versus a goal achieved,” says Kristin Burke, a goal achievement coach.

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via Facebook

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1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

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The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.


This article originally appeared on 06.30.22