People Get Ready
"People Get Ready" is a 1965 single by the Impressions, and the title track from the People Get Ready album. The single is the group's best-known hit, reaching number-three on the Billboard R&B Chart and number 14 on the Billboard Pop Chart. The gospel-influenced track was a Curtis Mayfield composition that displayed the growing sense of social and political awareness in his writing.
|"People Get Ready"|
|Single by the Impressions|
|from the album People Get Ready|
|B-side||"I've Been Trying"|
|The Impressions singles chronology|
Rolling Stone magazine named "People Get Ready" the 24th greatest song of all time and also placed it at number 20 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The song was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. "People Get Ready" was named as one of the Top 10 Best Songs Of All Time by Mojo music magazine, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2015, the song was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry due to its "cultural, historic, or artistic significance". Martin Luther King Jr. named the song the unofficial anthem of the Civil Rights Movement and often used the song to get people marching or to calm and comfort them.
Various artists have covered the song, including Bob Marley and the Wailers in 1965 and 1977, and Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck in 1985. The Australian group Human Nature had a minor hit in Australia with their version in 1997.
That was taken from my church or from the upbringing of messages from the church. Like there's no hiding place and get on board, and images of that sort. I must have been in a very deep mood of that type of religious inspiration when I wrote that song.
The song is the first Impressions hit to feature Mayfield's guitar in the break.
"People Get Ready" is in a long tradition of Black American freedom songs that use train imagery, such as "Wade in the Water", "The Gospel Train", and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot". The imagery comes from the Underground Railroad, not a real train but an escape route North to freedom for fugitives from the American slavery system, with conductors such as Harriet Tubman going back time and again to the South to show people the route of the "railroad". Images of mobility have been consistently linked to liberation from oppression in African American music including trains, highways, rivers, marching and space travel.
Reception and legacyEdit
Rolling Stone magazine named "People Get Ready" the 24th greatest song of all time and also placed it at number 20 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The song was included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998, and selected as one of the ten best songs of all time by a panel of 20 songwriters, including Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Hal David, for Britain's Mojo music magazine in 2000.
The song became a classic that has influenced a wide range of artists from country singers through British, American and Australian pop and rock artists to reggae star Bob Marley who recorded an interpretation of "People Get Ready" as "One Love/People Get Ready" in 1965 and again in 1977. Others who have recorded the song include the Blind Boys of Alabama, Al Green, Aretha Franklin and the Staple Singers.
- Bob Dylan recorded it twice; first in 1967 during the sessions that later became The Basement Tapes, and again in 1989 for the soundtrack to Flashback. A live version by Dylan was included in his 1978 film Renaldo and Clara and on his 14-CD box set, Bob Dylan – The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings.
- One of the most well-known covers is by Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart in 1985, which peaked in the US at number 5 on Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs and at number 48 on the Hot 100.
- Human Nature released the song as the 5th and final single from their Telling Everybody album in 1997. It reached number 35 on the Australian chart.
- "New Entries to National Recording Registry | News Releases - Library of Congress". Loc.gov. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- Erickson, Brad (2018) People Get Ready. Library of Congress. National Recording Registry
- Robert Pruter, Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions, The Anthology, 1961-1977, liner notes
- Erickson, Brad. (2016). George Clinton and David Bowie: The space race in black and white. Popular Music and Society, 39(5), 563-578.
- Gregg, Jonathan (July 12, 2000). "So, What Are Your Ten Best Songs of All Time?". time.com.
- "Song Inspired by March on Washington Carries Enduring Message". npr.org.
- W. K. McNeil, ed. (2013). Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music. Routledge. p. 368. ISBN 9781135377076.
- Marquse, Mike (January 4, 2011). Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan and the 1960s; Chimes of Freedom. Seven Stories Press. p. 123. ISBN 9781609801151.
- Dylan, Bob; Dylan, Sara; Baez, Joan; Hawkins, Ronnie (January 25, 1978), Renaldo and Clara, retrieved February 27, 2017
- "The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings". bobdylan.com. June 1, 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
- "Book Human Nature - National Feature Acts - National Names". BBC Entertainment. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- Hung, Steffen. "Human Nature - People Get Ready". australian-charts.com. Retrieved July 13, 2014.