Tobacco Road (song)

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"Tobacco Road"
side-A label
Side A of the US single
Single by The Nashville Teens
from the album Tobacco Road
B-side"I Like It Like That"
ReleasedJune 26, 1964 (1964-06-26) (UK)
August 1964 (1964-08) (US)
RecordedMay 1964
LabelDecca (UK)
London (US)
Songwriter(s)John D. Loudermilk
Producer(s)Mickie Most
The Nashville Teens singles chronology
"Tobacco Road"
"Google Eye"
"Tobacco Road"
Tobacco Road (song).png
Cover of the 1972 German single

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Single by Eric Burdon & War
from the album Eric Burdon Declares "War"
B-side"Tobacco Road: I Have A Dream"
Songwriter(s)John D. Loudermilk
Producer(s)Jerry Goldstein
Eric Burdon & War singles chronology
"Spill the Wine"
"Tobacco Road"
"Paint It Black"

"Tobacco Road" is a blues song written and first recorded by John D. Loudermilk in December 1959 and released in 1960. This song became a hit for The Nashville Teens in 1964 and has since become a standard across several musical genres.

Loudermilk original version[edit]

Originally framed as a folk song, "Tobacco Road" was a semi-autobiographical tale of growing up in Durham, North Carolina. Released on Columbia Records, it was not a hit for Loudermilk, achieving only minor chart success in Australia. Other artists, however, immediately began recording and performing the song.

Nashville Teens version[edit]

The English group The Nashville Teens' garage rock[1][2]/blues rock[3] rendering was a bold effort featuring prominent piano, electric guitar, and bass drum parts and a dual lead vocal. Mickie Most produced it with the same tough-edged-pop feel that he brought to The Animals' hits. "Tobacco Road" was a trans-Atlantic pop hit in 1964, reaching number 6 on the UK singles chart and number 14 on the U.S. singles chart. While the Teens would have some further success in the UK, in the U.S. "Tobacco Road" became another one-hit wonder of the British Invasion.

The Jefferson Airplane recorded a version of Tobacco Road on their first album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, in 1966. It was one of only two songs on their first album not written by a member of the band. Takes Off was the only album they recorded with their original lead singer Signe Anderson. Signe, who was a fabulous vocalist for JA, left the band to be a full time parent of her newly born child, which is when JA recruited Grace Slick from the band Great Society. Their sound on Takes Off and on Tobacco Road with Signe was melodic folk rock. However with the addition of Grace Slick the Chrome Nun, who brought White Rabbit with her, they became much more rock and less folk on the next album and kept heading in that direction.[citation needed]

British psychedelic band Spooky Tooth recorded a version in 1968 for their debut album, It's All About.

Other notable versions and uses[edit]

In the 1970s, songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman claimed to have been inspired by "Tobacco Road" while writing The Sweet's "Block Buster!", after accusations of stealing the guitar riff from David Bowie's "Jean Genie".

The song became a hit[citation needed] for Edgar Winter on his debut album Entrance and he plays a 17-minute live version of the song on the double LP Roadwork from 1972.

Roy Clark included the song on his 1986 album Rockin' in the Country. His version peaked at number 56 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.[4]


  1. ^ Stiernberg, Bonnie. "The 50 Best Garage Rock Songs of All Time". Paste. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  2. ^ Dave Marsh; James Bernard (1 November 1994). New Book of Rock Lists. Simon and Schuster. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-671-78700-4.
  3. ^ "Tobacco Road" at AllMusic
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.

External links[edit]