Keep On Truckin' (song)

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"Keep On Truckin', Pt. 1"
Eddie Kendricks – Keep On Truckin'.jpg
Single by Eddie Kendricks
from the album Eddie Kendricks
B-side"Keep On Truckin', Pt. 2"
ReleasedAugust 1973
Recorded1973
StudioMotown studios in Los Angeles with Crystal Sound Recording Players[1]
GenreFunk
Length3:21 (single edit)
8:00 (album version)
LabelTamla
T 54238
Songwriter(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', Pt. 1"
(1973)
"Boogie Down"
(1973)
Official audio
"Keep On Truckin'" on YouTube

"Keep On Truckin'" is a 1973 hit song recorded by Eddie Kendricks for Motown Records' Tamla label. The clavinet-featuring 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.[2] It also reached #18 on the UK Charts.[3] Vibes are played by Gary Coleman.

Background[edit]

By 1973 Eddie Kendricks was two years into a solo career following his bitter split from The Temptations. 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 most recent 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 (1939–2018) 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.[3]

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 (although an R&B #1). 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'

Chart performance[edit]

All-time charts[edit]

Chart (1958-2018) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 201

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from The Billboard Book of Number One Rhythm & Blues Hits.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Adam White; Fred Bronson (1993). The Billboard Book of Number One Rhythm & Blues Hits. Billboard Books. pp. 122–123. ISBN 9780823082858. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 319.
  3. ^ a b Graham Betts (2014). Motown Encyclopedia. AC Publishing. pp. 313–319. ISBN 9781311441546. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  4. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  5. ^ History of the Calvinet Retrieved 15 February 2021