About the song

Ah, Hit the Road Jack, a cornerstone of American music, and a song so iconic it transcends genre. Released in 1961, this rhythm and blues masterpiece wasn’t even written by Ray Charles himself, but it became synonymous with the soul legend thanks to his electrifying performance.

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Originally penned by Percy Mayfield, a lesser-known but significant figure in R&B, Hit the Road Jack found its true voice when it landed in the hands of Ray Charles. Charles, already a rising star with hits like “Georgia on My Mind” and “Hallelujah I Love Her So,” brought his signature blend of blues, gospel, and jazz to the song, infusing it with a raw energy that resonated with audiences across generations.

The beauty of Hit the Road Jack lies in its simplicity. The story is a domestic dispute laid bare. A woman, fed up with a no-good man, throws him out on his ear. But Charles’s masterful delivery elevates the narrative. His voice, both powerful and pleading, embodies the woman’s frustration and exasperation. The call-and-response with his backing vocalists, The Raelettes, adds a layer of dramatic tension, mirroring the back-and-forth of the argument.

Hit the Road Jack wasn’t just a hit, it was a cultural phenomenon. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961, becoming one of Charles’ biggest commercial successes. It won a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording, further solidifying its place in music history. The song transcended racial barriers, finding a home on both R&B and pop stations. It became a staple in jukeboxes across the country, a soundtrack to countless late nights and emotional confrontations.

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But Hit the Road Jack‘s influence goes far beyond chart success. It became a cultural touchstone, referenced in movies, television shows, and even political speeches. The song’s empowering message of a woman taking control resonated with a generation grappling with social change. It became an anthem for the downtrodden, a battle cry for those fed up with injustice.

Even today, Hit the Road Jack retains its power. Its infectious piano riff, the driving rhythm section, and Charles’s unforgettable vocals ensure its place in the pantheon of great American songs. It’s a testament to the enduring power of rhythm and blues, a song that continues to move audiences with its raw emotion and timeless story. So, put on your dancing shoes, crank up the volume, and prepare to be swept away by the timeless brilliance of Hit the Road Jack.

Video

Lyrics

“Hit The Road Jack”

(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 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)

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

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(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 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 ya treat me this-a 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’d 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 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
(Don’t you come back no more)