Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper's Dream)

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"Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper's Dream)"
Single by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
from the album Plain Dirt Fashion
B-side "Video Tape"
Released May 21, 1984
Format 7"
Recorded December 1983
Genre Country
Length 3:20
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Rodney Crowell
Producer(s) Paul Worley
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band singles chronology
"Dance Little Jean"
"Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper's Dream)"
"I Love Only You"

"Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper's Dream)" is a song written by Rodney Crowell and recorded by American country music band Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. It was released in May 1984 as the lead single from the album, Plain Dirt Fashion. The song was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's first (of three) No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.[1]


The song is told through the eyes of the son of a sharecropper, who along with his family was forced to work long, hard hours in a cotton field for little pay. Now a grown man, the main protagonist's memories of childhood are mainly pleasant, such as singing songs along with his grandmother's radio, hearing his mother read from the Bible and always having food to eat. However, his dreams take him to a better life:

"Someday I was dreamin' that a song that I was singin'
"Takes me down the road to where I want to go.
"Now I know, it's a long hard road."

Years later, the protagonist has now apparently made it big in his chosen field (perhaps in music, as implied by the lyrics), and has the opportunity to reflect on his childhood. Here, he realizes he didn't have it so bad in the cotton fields and having the warmth and security of his family close by. As he bemoans missing things that marked his childhood — watching lightning bugs dance in the rain, listening to the raindrops beat on the tin roof of his log cabin home and hearing his parents make music with makeshift instruments — he is resigned to living out his dream, which he is determined to make come true.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[2] 1
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 2


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 249. 
  2. ^ "The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Preceded by
"Still Losing You" by Ronnie Milsap
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
August 25, 1984
Succeeded by
"Let's Fall to Pieces Together" by George Strait