Keep on Truckin' (song)

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"Keep on Truckin', Pt. 1"
Single by Eddie Kendricks
from the album Eddie Kendricks
B-side Keep on Truckin', Pt. 2
Released August 1973
Format 7" single
Recorded 1973
Genre Soul, funk
Length 3:21 (single edit)
8:00 (album version)
Label Tamla
T 54238
Writer(s) Leonard Caston, Jr.
Anita Poree
Frank Wilson
Producer(s) Frank Wilson
Eddie Kendricks singles chronology
"Girl You Need a Change of Mind (Pt. 1)"
(1972)
"Keep on Truckin'"
(1973)
"Boogie Down"
(1974)

"Keep on Truckin'" is a 1973 hit song recorded by Eddie Kendricks for Motown Records' Tamla label. The song was Kendricks' first major hit as a solo artist, coming two years after his departure from The Temptations. "Keep On Truckin'" reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B Singles Chart upon its release, and was Kendricks' only number-one hit.[1]

Song information[edit]

By 1973, Eddie Kendricks was two years deep into a solo career following his bitter split from The Temptations in 1971. While his former bandmates went on to record hits such as "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)" (which was a reported jab at Kendricks and fellow ex-Temptation David Ruffin), and their seven-minute opus, "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone", Kendricks had begun to reach a cult R&B fan base following his last two albums.

Working closely with Frank Wilson, who was the main producer in most of Kendricks' solo efforts, the duo worked on a song that would aim at the dance floor rather than the serene ballads that Kendricks was used to recording. His earlier single, "Girl You Need a Change of Mind", was a cult favorite for club fans. With co-writers Anita Poree and Leonard Caston, Jr., Wilson created a song rivaling that of the Temptations' Norman Whitfield-produced cinematic soul that had become commonplace among the group's recordings, but instead of instigating drama, the song's grooves were clearly aimed at the dance floor.

Upon its release in the summer of 1973, the song would finally bring Kendricks out of the shadow of his former band as the song's catchy beats and melody became a crossover hit. By late fall, the song had reached number one on the US pop and R&B singles chart, matching the performance of the biggest singles released by his former group. When "...Truckin'" became a hit, the Temptations' hit luster was waning, with "Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)" barely reaching the Top 40, and the follow-up funk song, "Let Your Hair Down", becoming only a modest hit. Much like their "Superstar", which would notably be covered by David Ruffin, Kendricks included a jab at his former bandmates with the lyric:

In old Temptations' rain, I'm duckin'
For your love through sleet or snow, I'm truckin'

The single version of the song, entitled as "Part 1" features the sound of a truck going by, before the coda.

The song would later be included in debates about the first-recorded and released disco record alongside The Hues Corporation's "Rock the Boat" and Barry White's "Can't Get Enough". The song gave Kendricks a Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance losing out to Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and would remain his signature hit though he would score other hits such as "Boogie Down", "Shoeshine Boy", "Happy" and "He's A Friend". The song's instrumental bridge would later be sampled by singer Ralph Tresvant for his song "She's My Love Thang", rapper Mr. Cheeks on his 2002 single, Lights, Camera, Action and in the Jennifer Lopez 2007 single, Do It Well.

Personnel[edit]

  • Lead vocals by Eddie Kendricks
  • Background vocals by The Young Senators
  • Instrumentation by assorted Los Angeles musicians and The Young Senators

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 319. 
Preceded by
"Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
November 10, 1973 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Photograph" by Ringo Starr
Preceded by
"Higher Ground" by Stevie Wonder
Billboard Hot Soul Singles number one single
October 6, 1973 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips