Hit the Road Jack

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This article is about the single by Ray Charles. For the album by Big Youth, see Hit the Road Jack (album). For the television series, see Hit the Road Jack (TV series).
"Hit the Road Jack"
Single by Ray Charles
B-side "The Danger Zone"
Released 1961
Format 7" single, 45rpm
Genre Rhythm and blues
Length 1:57
Label ABC-Paramount
Writer(s) Percy Mayfield
Ray Charles singles chronology
"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 Raelettes vocalist Margie Hendricks.

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, cover versions, 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.[1]
  • 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 the 1964 short film Scorpio Rising.
  • Ray Charles' version is played over the PA during Chicago Bulls games when an opponent fouls out of 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • Rough Copy sang "Hit the Road Jack" on the fifth live show of the tenth series of The X Factor.
  • 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".
  • In the late 2000s, Pizza brand Delissio used this in one of their commercials.
  • In 2013, Pentatonix sang "Hit the Road Jack" on PTX, Vol. II and PTX, Vols. 1 & 2
  • Nika Terenteva from The voice kids Russia covered this in 2014.
  • 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 was in a garbage truck.


Chart (1961) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[2] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[3] 13
France (SNEP)[4] 42
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[5] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 1
US Hot R&B Sides (Billboard)[6] 1
Chart (2011) Peak
France (SNEP)[7] 90


  1. ^ Weinberg, Scott (October 11, 2005). "Buffalo Bill - The Complete First and Second Seasons". DVD Talk. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book (1940–1969). Turramurra: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-44439-5. 
  3. ^ "Ultratop.be – Ray Charles – Hit the Road Jack" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  4. ^ "Accès direct à ces Artistes: Ray Charles" (select "Ray Charles" and then click "Go") (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Archive Chart: 1961-11-11" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Ray Charles – Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Lescharts.com – Ray Charles – Hit the Road Jack" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved March 8, 2014.

External links[edit]