♫ Hit The Road Jack ♫

Let’s close our eyes for a minute … no, I didn’t say go to sleep … wake up, Joe!  Close your eyes and travel back in time … the year is 1961 … I was ten years old, but I remember this song like it was yesterday.

Although Ray Charles wrote many of the songs he recorded, this one was actually written by his friend, Percy Mayfield. 

Percy_MayfieldMayfield himself had been a popular performer, singing mainly rhythm & blues, but in 1952, at the height of his career, Mayfield was severely injured in an automobile crash.  He was returning from a performance in Las Vegas to Los Angeles as the front-seat passenger in a chauffeur-driven car. The vehicle hit the back of an unseen stationary truck, and Mayfield was hit by debris. Though pronounced dead at the scene, he eventually recovered but spent two years convalescing. The accident left him with a facial disfigurement that eventually ended his career as a performer but did not halt his prolific songwriting.

This song was first recorded in 1960 as an a cappella demo sent to Art Rupe, but it didn’t become famous until it was recorded by the singer-songwriter-pianist Ray Charles with The Raelettes vocalist Margie Hendrix, and eventually became one of Charles’ signature songs.

Charles’s recording hit #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, beginning on Monday, October 9, 1961. Hit the Road Jack won a Grammy award for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording. The song was #1 on the R&B Sides chart for five weeks, thereby becoming Charles’s sixth number-one on that chart. The song is ranked number 387 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

I am told that many professional and semi-professional hockey teams play the first few lines whenever a player is sent to the penalty box.

I found a bit of cool trivia about Ray Charles, including the fact that he owned his own plane and even flew it, though he had been blind since the age of 7!  Take a look for yourself.

I am playing two versions tonight … both by Ray Charles, but one is the original recorded in 1961, and the second is 35 years later when Ray Charles, then … played it on Saturday Night live.  I liked both, loved seeing Ray Charles still as vibrant as ever.

Hit the Road Jack
Ray Charles

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more
What’d you say?

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more

Oh woman, oh woman, don’t treat me so mean
You’re the meanest old woman that I’ve ever have seen
I guess if you say so
I’ll have to pack my things and go (that’s right)

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more
What’d you say?

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more

Now baby, listen baby, don’t you treat me this way
‘Cause I’ll be back on my feet some day
Don’t care if you do, ’cause it’s understood
You ain’t got no money, you just ain’t no good
Well, I guess if you say so
I’ll have to pack my things and go (that’s right)

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more
What’d you say?

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more

Well (don’t you come back no more)
Uh, what you say? (don’t you come back no more)
I didn’t understand you (don’t you come back no more)
You can’t mean that (don’t you come back no more)
Oh now baby please (don’t you come back no more)
What you tryin’ to do to me? (don’t you come back no more)
Oh, don’t treat me like that, baby (don’t you come back no more)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Percy Mayfield
Hit the Road Jack lyrics © The Ray Charles Foundation Dba Tangerine Music

16 thoughts on “♫ Hit The Road Jack ♫

  1. Jill, you have to love Ray Charles. He was so talented and inventive and even daring. He went against his fans and record label’s wishes and did a country classics album, that sold well. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

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