Promised Land

Album: St. Louis to Liverpool (1964)
Charted: 26 41

Songfacts®:

  • Berry wrote this when he was serving time in jail for transporting a girl across state lines for immoral purposes. He had to borrow an atlas of the US from the prison library to plot his hero's journey from Virginia to California.
  • In this song, Berry tells the tale of a poor boy who heads to California from his home in Norfolk, Virginia. The journey takes by bus, train and airplane through much of the United States. When he finally arrives, he calls back home to tell them he made it.
  • In 1974, Elvis Presley recorded a version of this which reached #9 in the UK and #14 in the US.

Comments: 8

  • Brad from ManahawkinThe Elvis version of this song was played in Men In Black when Tommy Lee Jones' character takes Will Smith through the Lincoln Tunnel.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaTony, have to agree about liking Elvis' version better.
  • Will from Rock Hill, ScYeah, you're right Ern, songs like 'Maybellene', 'Thirty Days', 'School Days', 'Havana Moon', 'Back in the USA', 'Sweet Little Sixteen', 'You Can't Catch Me', 'Brown-Eyed Handsome Man' and ALL of his other songs sound like 'Johnny B. Goode'. Listen to his music before you trash it to make Elvis, who never wrote a song, seem better. Chuck influenced nearly every rock guitarist that came after him, so your statement that "Chuck just Blows" is just not true.
  • Ern from Fresno, CaTony is Right On! Elvis blows this tune outta the
    water. Chuck just Blows. Every song sounds like Johnny B. Goode! Stuff it Kevin.
  • Charlie from Bozeman, Mtthe Grateful dead also covered this song playing it live many times.thats how many people came to know this song
  • Ken from Louisville, KyJames Taylor also did a version of this on his "One Man Dog" album
  • Kevin from Reading , PaElvis better than Chuck at one of Chuck's own songs? Tony, are you nuts? Or just deaf. The only person I know who ever cut Chuck at one of his songs was "the Killer" Jerry Lee Lewis, who outdid the maestro on "Little Queenie."
  • Tony from Boston, MaElvis does a much better version in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I love Chuck.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Harold Brown of War

Harold Brown of WarSongwriter Interviews

A founding member of the band War, Harold gives a first-person account of one of the most important periods in music history.

When Rock Belonged To Michelob

When Rock Belonged To MichelobSong Writing

Michelob commercials generated hits for Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood in the '80s, even as some of these rockers were fighting alcoholism.

Van Dyke Parks

Van Dyke ParksSongwriter Interviews

U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.

Mac Powell of Third Day

Mac Powell of Third DaySongwriter Interviews

The Third Day frontman talks about some of the classic songs he wrote with the band, and what changed for his solo country album.

Brenda Russell

Brenda RussellSongwriter Interviews

Brenda talks about the inspiration that drove her to write hit songs like "Get Here" and "Piano in the Dark," and why a lack of formal music training can be a songwriter's best asset.

Ed Roland of Collective Soul

Ed Roland of Collective SoulSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Shine," "December," "The World I Know" and other Collective Soul hits.