Well I'm standing by the river But the water doesn't flow It boils with every poison you can think of And I'm underneath the streetlight But the light of joy I know Scared beyond belief way down in the shadows And the perverted fear of violence Chokes the smile on every face And common sense is ringing out the bell This ain't no technological breakdown Oh no, this is the road to hell
And all the roads jam up with credit And there's nothing you can do It's all just pieces of paper flying away from you Oh look out world, take a good look What comes down here You must learn this lesson fast and learn it well This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway Oh no, this is the road This is the road This is the road to hell
Billy from Warwick R I UsaI think "The Road To Hell" although maybe conceived while in a traffic jam w/frustration is a reflection on being a very successful musical artist of quality intelligent song lyrics with music and having the legitimate wealth and luxury, that rightfully is the reward, is reflected on when considering the demand of record labels, touring etc... I have been with a few very successful American groups, agent and promoters from the early folk movement to the early 1980s, some English bands also, and understand and can look "under the lyrics and between the lines". I also believe the face in the reflection is a vision of Chris' mom affirming his thoughts.
Billy from Warwick R I UsaChris Rea is the most overlooked writer of intelligent song and ranks with people like Bob Dylan. When are you coming to the U S A paisono?
Jim from Pleasant Hill, CaI've always noticed a contradiction between this song and "Steel River." In "Road to Hell," he laments polluted water that "...boils with every poison you can think of," but in "Steel River" he sings "...I know one salmon ain't no good to them," as if it's a bummer that a former industrial waterway could support salmon after being cleaned up.
Jon from Scotland, United KingdomIn 2008, Chris re-recorded the tracks "The Road To Hell (Parts 1 & 2) for his latest "best of" offering "Fool If You Think It's Over - The Definitive Greatest Hits". This version slightly shortens Part 1 and extends Part 2 (both are one continuous track) but in all other aspects, it's the same as the 1989 version.
Jon from Scotland, United Kingdom"The Road To Hell" (Part One) was nothing more than an elongated intro featuring a quasi-spoken dialogue before building up into the main part of the song (Part Two). Chris Rea wanted the record company to release the song with both parts segued into one, but the record company refused citing "Part One" sounded too boring. Early versions of the album had the song listed only as "The Road To Hell", but after the single version was released, it began being titled "The Road To Hell (Parts One and Two)". Even if Rea got the inspiration for the song from sitting in a traffic jam on the notorious M25, it's not actually about a 'traffic jam'. The meaning behind the lyrics focuses on the end of the free-spending days of the 80s and huge salaries of white collar employees in the city (London) and the financial strife that ensued. The album marked a return to the spotlight for Rea, not to mention one of his lesser known 80s hits ("Working On It") was used on an episode of the US TV show, "Baywatch". Following up "The Road To Hell", Rea released "God's Great Banana Skin" the following year. Still, even if "The Road To Hell" was Rea's most successful (commercial) release to date, it's far from being his best.
Dave from Cardiff, WalesChris Rea's only hit in the US was 1978 debut "Fool (If You Think Its Over)", which was also the first of his 13 UK Top 40 hits to date, of which "The Road To Hell (Part 2)" was the biggest
John from Akron, OhOne of my favorite "thinking" songs...
Patrick from Wevelgem, BelgiumThe single was a top 10 hit in England. The album of the same title got to number one. Both single and album failed to chart in the U.S.