Album Art

"Promised Land" by Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry wrote “Promised Land” in a prison cell, and I’m sure he must have remembered how apprehensive he’d felt when he was touring across a nation that was hostile to a black man singing Rock & Roll to white kids.  Greil Marcus passes along an interesting theory:

See, what that song is really about is the civil rights movement, the Freedom Riders, the way he plans the Po’ Boy’s bus route to avoid Rock Hill, that’s in South Carolina, a Klan town, then the bus breaks down in Birmingham, where the Klan blew up a church and killed four little girls, that was in 1963, ‘turned into a struggle,’ see?

To a racist DJ deciding whether or not to play this single when it came out in 1964, “Promised Land” must have sounded like an uncomplicated road song, but if you knew what the score was in those days you knew this song was a lot more than that.  That’s what early Rock & Roll was all about.  You can try and censor artists all you want, but they’ll subvert you at every turn.

ArtistChuck Berry
TitlePromised Land (Single)
AlbumThe Chess 50th Anniversary Collection: Chuck Berry - His Best, Vol. 2
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    Promised Land- Chuck Berry.
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    chuck? he’ll hurt ya.
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