Promised Land

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

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

Steve Morse of Deep Purple

Steve Morse of Deep PurpleSongwriter Interviews

Deep Purple's guitarist since 1994, Steve talks about writing songs with the band and how he puts his own spin on "Smoke On The Water."

Michael Sweet of Stryper

Michael Sweet of StryperSongwriter Interviews

Find out how God and glam metal go together from the Stryper frontman.

British Invasion

British InvasionFact or Fiction

Go beyond The Beatles to see what you know about the British Invasion.

La La Brooks of The Crystals

La La Brooks of The CrystalsSong Writing

The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the Song

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the SongSong Writing

How a goofy detective movie, a disenchanted director and an unlikely songwriter led to one of the biggest hits in pop history.

Kerry Livgren of Kansas

Kerry Livgren of KansasSongwriter Interviews

In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."