Chain Gang (song)

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"Chain Gang"
Chain Gang Cooke.jpg
Single by Sam Cooke
from the album Swing Low
B-side"I Fall In Love Every Day"
ReleasedJuly 26, 1960
Format7" single
RecordedJanuary 25, 1960
RCA Studio A
(New York City)
GenreRhythm and blues, soul
Length2:34
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)Sam Cooke, Charles Cook, Jr.
Producer(s)Hugo & Luigi
Sam Cooke singles chronology
"You Understand Me"
(1960)
"Chain Gang"
(1960)
"Sad Mood"
(1960)

"Chain Gang" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, released on July 26, 1960. The song became one of Cooke's most successful singles, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, behind both My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own by Connie Francis and Mr. Custer by Larry Verne[1] On the Hot R&B Sides chart, the song peaked at number two as well.[2] Overseas,"Chain Gang" charted at number nine on the UK Singles Chart.[citation needed]

This was Cooke's second-biggest American hit, his first single for RCA Victor after leaving Keen Records earlier in 1959, and was also his first top 10 hit since "You Send Me" from 1957, and his second-biggest Pop single. The song was inspired after a chance meeting with an actual chain-gang of prisoners on a highway, seen while Sam was on tour. According to legend, Cooke and his brother Charles felt sorry for the men and gave them several cartons of cigarettes.[citation needed] Cooke was reportedly unsatisfied with the initial recording sessions of this song at RCA Studios in Manhattan in January 1960, and came back three months later to redo some of the vocals to get the effect he wanted.[citation needed]

Other versions[edit]

Eight years later, in 1968, the song was recorded by the duo of Jackie Wilson and Count Basie. Released on the Brunswick label, this version became a top forty R&B hit and a minor Billboard Hot 100 hit.[citation needed]

Jim Croce medley[edit]

"Chain Gang Medley: Chain Gang/He Don't Love You/Searchin"
Single by Jim Croce
from the album Down the Highway
B-side"Stone Walls"
ReleasedDecember 1975[3]
Format7" 45 RPM
GenreFolk rock
Length4:37
LabelLifesong
Songwriter(s)Sam Cooke, Charles Cook, Jr., Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield, Calvin Carter, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
Producer(s)Terry Cashman, Tommy West
Jim Croce singles chronology
"Workin' at the Car Wash Blues"
(1974)
"Chain Gang Medley: Chain Gang/He Don't Love You/Searchin"
(1975)
"Mississippi Lady"
(1976)

Jim Croce had his last Hot 100 hit in 1976 when Lifesong Records released "Chain Gang Medley," a medley which included this song as well as "He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)" and "Searchin'." The medley reached a peak of 63 on the Billboard Hot 100 after spending 9 weeks on the chart.

Chart (1975–1976) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 63
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 22[4]
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 56[5]
Canadian RPM Top Singles 29[6]
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary 20[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/1960-10-03
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 134.
  3. ^ Strong, Martin Charles & John Peel Great Rock Discography
  4. ^ "Chain Gang Medley (song by Jim Croce) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". www.musicvf.com. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  5. ^ Cash Box Top 100 2/07/76 Archived December 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 24, No. 21, February 21 1976". Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Adult Contemporary - Volume 24, No. 20, February 14 1976". Retrieved 15 March 2018.