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"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"
People Get Ready single.jpg
Single by The Impressions
from the album People Get Ready
B-side"I've Been Trying"
Released1965
Format7" single
RecordedChicago: 1964
GenreSoul Gospel
Length2:38
LabelABC-Paramount 10622
Songwriter(s)Curtis Mayfield
Producer(s)Johnny Pate
The Impressions singles chronology
"Amen"
(1964)
"People Get Ready"
(1965)
"Woman's Got Soul"
(1965)

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 2016, the song was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry due to its "cultural, historic, or artistic significance."[1] Martin Luther King Jr. named "People Get Ready" the unofficial anthem of the Civil Rights Movement and often used the song to get people marching or to calm and comfort them.[2]

Various artists have covered the song, including Bob Marley & the Wailers in 1965 and 1977 and Rod Stewart & Jeff Beck in 1985. The Australian group Human Nature had a minor hit in Australia with their version in 1997.

Contents

CompositionEdit

The gospel-influenced track was written and composed by Curtis Mayfield, who was displaying a growing sense of social and political awareness in his writing. Mayfield said,

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.[3]

"People Get Ready" is in a long tradition of Black American freedom songs to use the train imagery - other examples are "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 escaped slaves in America pre-civil war, 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 in African American music including trains, highways, marching and space travel.[4]

Reception and legacyEdit

The single reached #3 on the Billboard R&B Chart and #14 on the Billboard Pop Chart.

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 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.[5]

Cover versionsEdit

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[6] who recorded an interpretation of "People Get Ready" as "One Love/People Get Ready" in 1965 and again in 1977.

Other notable artists who have covered the song include The Rance Allen Group, Lee Atwater, James Booker, Billy Bragg, Glen Campbell, Paul Carrack, David Clayton-Thomas, Tom Constanten, John Denver [15], The Doors, Jonathan Edwards, The Everly Brothers, Janie Fricke, Al Green, Glen Hansard, Jimmy James & the Vagabonds, Lyfe Jennings & Alicia Keys, Wynona Judd, Bap Kennedy, George Lynch, The Manhattans, Ziggy Marley, The Meters, Ronnie Milsap, Aaron Neville, John Oates, Jimmy Osborne, Johnny Osbourne, Maceo Parker, The Persuasions, Johnny Rivers, David Sanborn, Dusty Springfield, Slim & the Supreme Angels, Pops Staples, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Hans Theessink, Phil Upchurch, The Walker Brothers, Yellowman.[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "New Entries to National Recording Registry | News Releases - Library of Congress". Loc.gov. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  2. ^ Erickson, Brad (2018) People Get Ready. Library of Congress. National Recording Registry
  3. ^ Robert Pruter, Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions, The Anthology, 1961-1977, liner notes
  4. ^ Erickson, Brad. (2016). George Clinton and David Bowie: The space race in black and white. Popular Music and Society, 39(5), 563-578.
  5. ^ Gregg, Jonathan (12 July 2000). "So, What Are Your Ten Best Songs of All Time?". time.com.
  6. ^ "Song Inspired by March on Washington Carries Enduring Message". npr.org.
  7. ^ Marquse, Mike (4 Jan 2011). Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan and the 1960s; Chimes of Freedom. Seven Stories Press. p. 123.
  8. ^ Dylan, Bob; Dylan, Sara; Baez, Joan; Hawkins, Ronnie (1978-01-25), Renaldo and Clara, retrieved 2017-02-27
  9. ^ "The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings". bobdylan.com. June 1, 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  10. ^ Pat Kelly, Johnny Clarke & Hortense Ellis. "Lovers Rock". Discogs.
  11. ^ Discogs - Jeff Beck And Rod Stewart – People Get Ready
  12. ^ "Reviews". Billboard: 83. 22 Feb 1997.
  13. ^ "Book Human Nature - National Feature Acts - National Names". BBC Entertainment. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
  14. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Human Nature - People Get Ready". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
  15. ^ People Get Ready-John Denver-Topic on YouTube
  16. ^ "People Get Ready". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-12-24.

External linksEdit