Charles's recording hit number one for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, beginning on Monday, October 9, 1961. "Hit the Road Jack" won a Grammy award for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording. The song was number one on the R&B Sides chart for five weeks, thereby becoming Charles's sixth number one on that chart. The song is ranked number 387 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
References in popular culture and usage in media
The Buffalo Bill episode "Hit the Road, Newdell" includes a dream sequence where Dabney Coleman's character lipsyncs the Ray Charles version of the song. This musical sequence was deleted from the DVD release because producers were unable to secure rights to include the song.
In the Two and a Half Men episode "A Bottle of Wine and a Jackhammer", Charlie plays the piece in delight on his piano as Alan moves out of his house.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kentucky Fried Chicken released a series of TV commercials that used a rerecorded version of the song, re-titled "Cross the Road Jack"; additionally, the line "and don't you come back no more" was also changed to "Kentucky Fried Chicken's got more".
The song is referenced and sampled on Kid Rock's 2001 hit, "Forever".
Ray Charles' version plays over the closing credits of the 2006 film Failure to Launch.
In the late 2000s, Pizza brand Delissio used this in one of their commercials.
The song is included in the 2015 dance exergame Just Dance 2016 as an in-house cover production under the pseudonym "Charles Percy", presumably from the names of Ray Charles, the singer who popularized the tune, and Percy Mayfield, the song's composer.
In the 2016 film Deadpool it is briefly played while Wade Wilson is in a garbage truck.
In the MTV game show Remote Control: Audience sang this song when the contestants sprang through the wall after they lost.
A recording of the song was sampled by dance artist Throttle on an electronic swing/disco song also entitled "Hit the Road Jack".