“Runaway Train” was released as the third single from Soul Asylum’s 1992 album, Grave Dancers Union. It peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, and has definitely become one of the band’s most successful songs. It resonated very strongly with me when it was released, and I still enjoy the song just as much now as I did then.
The music video for “Runaway Train” focused on the theme of missing kids, especially on runaways. There are three main storylines featured in the music video, which are interspersed with pictures of missing kids. Three different versions of the video were made and aired in the United States, which included a total of 36 featured missing children. I thought this was a great way to take advantage of the music video medium to try to make a difference during a time when MTV was still relevant and actually aired music videos.
According to Wikipedia, the video helped reunite many of those missing kids with their families. Unfortunately, not all of these stories had a happy ending. At least two of the kids who were featured in the three U.S. videos were found deceased. Another one of the kids apparently approached Soul Asylum while they were on tour and told them they have “ruined her life” because she saw herself in the video, and she was ultimately forced back into a bad home situation.
If Wikipedia is to be believed, five of the kids featured in the U.S. videos are still missing as of 2013.