People Get Ready
|"People Get Ready"|
|Single by the Impressions|
|from the album People Get Ready|
|B-side||"I've Been Trying"|
|Studio||Universal Recording (Chicago)|
|The Impressions singles chronology|
"People Get Ready" is a 1965 single by the Impressions, and the title track from the People Get Ready album. The single is the group's best-known hit, reaching number-three on the Billboard R&B chart and number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The gospel-influenced track was a Curtis Mayfield composition that displayed the growing sense of social and political awareness in his writing.
Rolling Stone magazine named "People Get Ready" the 24th greatest song of all time and also placed it at number 20 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The song was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. "People Get Ready" was named as one of the Top 10 Best Songs of All Time by Mojo music magazine, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2015, the song was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry due to its "cultural, historic, or artistic significance". Martin Luther King Jr. named the song the unofficial anthem of the Civil Rights Movement and often used the song to get people marching or to calm and comfort them.
Various artists have covered the song, including Bob Marley and the Wailers in 1965 and 1977, the Chambers Brothers in 1968, Bob Dylan in 1975, and Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck in 1985. Australian group Human Nature had a minor hit in Australia with their version in 1997.
That was taken from my church or from the upbringing of messages from the church. Like there's no hiding place and get on board, and images of that sort. I must have been in a very deep mood of that type of religious inspiration when I wrote that song.
The song is the first Impressions hit to feature Mayfield's guitar in the break.
"People Get Ready" is in a long tradition of Black American freedom songs that use train imagery, such as "Wade in the Water", "The Gospel Train", and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot". The idea comes from the spiritualist idea that once one dies the soul goes in a journey to the afterlife.
Reception and legacy
Rolling Stone magazine named "People Get Ready" the 24th greatest song of all time and also placed it at number 20 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The song was included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998, and selected as one of the ten best songs of all time by a panel of 20 songwriters, including Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Hal David, for Britain's Mojo music magazine in 2000.
The song became a classic that has influenced a wide range of artists from country singers through British, American and Australian pop and rock artists to reggae star Bob Marley who recorded an interpretation of "People Get Ready" as "One Love/People Get Ready" in 1965 and again in 1977. Others who have recorded the song include the Blind Boys of Alabama, Paul Jackson Jr., Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Eva Cassidy, The Persuasions and the Staple Singers.
- Bob Dylan recorded it twice; first in 1967 during the sessions that later became The Basement Tapes, and again in 1989 for the soundtrack to Flashback. A live version by Dylan was included in his 1978 film Renaldo and Clara and on his 14-CD box set, Bob Dylan – The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings.
- One of the best-known covers is by Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart in 1985, which peaked in the US at number 5 on Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs and at number 48 on the Hot 100.
- The Housemartins released a cover of the song on their 1986 debut album London 0 Hull 4, though the song only appeared on the CD version.
- Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers released a version in 1997, a single from Fallen Is Babylon (Grammy Award)
- Human Nature released the song as the 5th and final single from their Telling Everybody album in 1997. It reached number 35 on the Australian chart.
- Seal (musician) released a cover of the song on his 2007 album Soul.
- Greg Lake performed the song on his 2013 live album Songs of a Lifetime.
- The Chamber Brothers released this on two albums. The first was on their 1965 release of People Get Ready and then again on their 1967 release The Time Has Come.
- Cogan, Jim; Clark, William (2003). Temples of Sound: Inside the Great Recording Studios. San Francisco, California, USA: Chronicle Books. p. 133. ISBN 0-8118-3394-1.
- "New Entries to National Recording Registry | News Releases - Library of Congress". Loc.gov. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- Erickson, Brad (2018) People Get Ready. Library of Congress. National Recording Registry
- Robert Pruter, Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions, The Anthology, 1961-1977, liner notes
- Gregg, Jonathan (July 12, 2000). "So, What Are Your Ten Best Songs of All Time?". Time. time.com.
- "Song Inspired by March on Washington Carries Enduring Message". npr.org.
- W. K. McNeil, ed. (2013). Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music. Routledge. p. 368. ISBN 9781135377076.
- Marquse, Mike (January 4, 2011). Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan and the 1960s; Chimes of Freedom. Seven Stories Press. p. 123. ISBN 9781609801151.
- Dylan, Bob; Dylan, Sara; Baez, Joan; Hawkins, Ronnie (January 25, 1978), Renaldo and Clara, retrieved February 27, 2017
- "The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings". bobdylan.com. June 1, 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
- "Jeff Beck".
- "Jeff Beck".
- "Ziggy Marley". 23 November 2020.
- "Book Human Nature - National Feature Acts - National Names". BBC Entertainment. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- Hung, Steffen. "Human Nature - People Get Ready". australian-charts.com. Retrieved July 13, 2014.