Hit the Road Jack

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Hit the Road Jack"
RaCharles HTRJ.png
Single by Ray Charles
from the album Ray Charles Greatest Hits
B-side "The Danger Zone"
Released 1961
Format 7" single, 45rpm
Genre R&B, Jazz
Length 1:57
Label ABC-Paramount
Songwriter(s) Percy Mayfield
Ray Charles singles chronology
"Hit the Road Jack"
"I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town"
"Hit the Road Jack"
"I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town"

"Hit the Road Jack" is a song written by the rhythm and blues artist Percy Mayfield and first recorded in 1960 as an a cappella demo sent to Art Rupe. It became famous after it was recorded by the singer-songwriter-pianist Ray Charles with The Raelettes vocalist Margie Hendrix.

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".

Cover versions[edit]

The Stampeders[edit]

In 1976, Canadian band The Stampeders released a version of the song featuring DJ Wolfman Jack. The song was a hit, reaching number 6 in Canada and the top 40 in the US.[1]

Other versions[edit]

References in popular culture and usage in media[edit]

  • 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.[2]
  • 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.
  • The sitcom Unhappily Ever After used the song as its theme.
  • The song is featured in Kenneth Anger's 1964 short film Scorpio Rising.[3]
  • Ray Charles' version is played over the PA during Chicago Bulls games when an opponent fouls out of the game.
  • A version is played over the PA in Chicago Cubs games when an opposing pitcher is 'chased' (pulled) from the game.
  • The song is featured in the 1980 film Cheech and Chong's Next Movie after the main characters are kicked out of the welfare office.
  • The song, performed by the characters appeared in the 1981 Arthur Penn film Four Friends[4]
  • It plays during the closing credits of 1989 film The Dream Team.
  • During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kentucky Fried Chicken released a series of TV advertisements 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 featured in the 1995 film Man of the House, which features Chevy Chase as a character named Jack.
  • The song is referenced in the hook of British singer Conor Maynard's single "R U Crazy".
  • In the movie The Fisher King, radio DJ Jack Lucas uses it as the closing theme for his phone in show.
  • EastEnders actor Scott Maslen and professional dancer Natalie Lowe danced a Jive to this song in the 8th series of Strictly Come Dancing in week 7, scoring 39 points out of 40 from the judges.
  • 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 advertisements.
  • 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".


Chart (1961) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[6] 13
France (SNEP)[7] 42
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[8] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 1
US Hot R&B Sides (Billboard)[9] 1
Chart (2011) Peak
France (SNEP)[10] 90


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 847. ISBN 0-89820-188-8. 
  2. ^ Weinberg, Scott (October 11, 2005). "Buffalo Bill - The Complete First and Second Seasons". DVD Talk. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ Kenneth Anger - Scorpio Rising 1964 / With Interview, YouTube.
  4. ^ [1].
  5. ^ Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book (1940–1969). Turramurra: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-44439-5. 
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Ray Charles – Hit the Road Jack" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  7. ^ "Accès direct à ces Artistes: Ray Charles" (in French). InfoDisc. Archived from the original (select "Ray Charles" and then click "Go") on February 17, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Ray Charles – Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Lescharts.com – Ray Charles – Hit the Road Jack" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved March 8, 2014.

External links[edit]