Hit The Road Jack

Album: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (1961)
Charted: 6 1
  • Fred, you can stay. Steve, you're OK. But Jack, you gotta go.

    This kiss-off anthem was written by Ray's good friend Percy Mayfield, an R&B singer who was badly disfigured in a car accident soon after he started performing. Mayfield cut back his touring and made his mark as a prolific songwriter, with many of his compositions performed by Charles.
  • This was the second (and shortest, at an even two minutes) of Charles' three #1 hits.
  • The solo backing vocals were by Margie Hendricks, who was one of Ray's backup singers, The Raelettes. They were lovers for a time, but the song is not about their relationship. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • The continuing popularity of this song is evident by the many professional and semi-professional hockey teams playing the first few lines whenever a player is sent to the penalty box.
  • This was the winner of the 1961 Grammy for Best Male Rhythm and Blues Recording. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 2
  • Canadian group The Stampeders, best known for their hit "Sweet City Woman," released a novelty version of this song in 1976 that featured a telephone conversation with disc jockey Wolfman Jack. Their version hit #40 in the US. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Cole - Moose Jaw, Sk
  • This song is featured in the 1989 move The Dream Team where mental patients played by Christopher Lloyd, Peter Boyle, and a mulleted Michael Keaton sing it in a van as they embark on a field trip.
  • Ray re-recorded this as "Cross The Road Jack" for a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial in the '80s.

Comments: 17

  • Meocyber from Alma. Co.Saw Ray at Fiddlers. Green Amphitheater in early 80's. Super super musician, vocalist and generally happy guy. Like Flip. Wilson's Geraldine used to say " go see Raaayyy. Chaarrlless!".
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaDoes anyone know the name of Ray's band members?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 22nd 1976, the Stampeders' covered version of "Hit the Road Jack" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #79; and five weeks later on March 28th, 1976 it peaked at #40 {for 2 weeks} and spent 8 weeks on the Top 100...
    In the trios' native Canada it peaked at #6 on the RPM 100 chart...
    They had two other Top 100 records; "Sweet City Woman" {#8 in 1971} and "Devil You" {#61 in 1972}...
    But in their native Canada they had nineteen records make the RPM 100 chart; seven made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Sweet City Woman"...
    They just missed having three #1 records when both "Carry Me" {1971} and "Wild Eyes" {1972} peaked at #2.
  • Alan from LondonEveryone likes this song, from kids to Grandma. Classic.
  • Lenin from Aleyh, Lebanonwow...... look there i don't care who wrote the song with all my respect to him. But all what i can tell u all that when i hear this song i stop what i am doing to listen to this song oh man it is perfect .......one of my best...........
  • Byron from Baltimore, MdIn the movie, Ray is in a hotel room "working on songs that Percy sent him"(referring to Percy Mayfield). The movie does not imply Ray wrote the song, but instead that he was working on an arrangement for the song. The implication is that the argument he and Margie had resulted in the version that won him a grammy.
  • Tom from North Attleboro, MaRay didn't write this song, which the scene where he writes it in the movie must be fabricated.
  • Nick from Istanbul, Turkeythe female vocalist is lead Raelette, Margie Hendricks
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnThe Residents recorded a truly bizarre, almost atonal rendition of this song. Then again, bizarre and atonal music has always been the Residents' stock-in-trade.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnThe song is also played at baseball games when the manager takes out the pitcher.
  • Petter from Ã?ngelholm, Sweden"The Cat", a band from Thailand did a amazing cover of this. everyone should check it out, it's even cooler than the original.
  • Liu from Beijing, United StatesI watched the movie, it was performed well, Ray RR is just like people say, hs is fantastic. it is easy to see what is on him to attract women, if i got chance to meet him, i'd be one of them.
  • Maud from Borgloon, BelgiumAnybody saw the movie? "Ray". There they show that this song was created while the singer (I forgot her name)wanted to leave him for not wanting to leave his wife for her.
  • [mutant] Jack_l from Wlg, New ZealandI think all the outlaws should take a leaf outa Percy's lyrics.. :)
  • Ronnie from Ft. Meyers, FlThe female vocalist is the mother of one of Ray's 8 kids by 6 different women.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiaso who's the female vocalist????/
  • Cole from Moose Jaw, Sk, United StatesThe Stampeders did a version of this with Wolfman Jack
see more comments

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go'sSongwriter Interviews

Charlotte was established in the LA punk scene when a freaky girl named Belinda approached her wearing a garbage bag.

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary MachineSong Writing

Fiona's highly-anticipated third album almost didn't make it. Here's how it finally came together after two years and a leak.

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Mike Scott of The WaterboysSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Whole Of The Moon" and "Red Army Blues," and why rock music has "outlived its era of innovation."

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?