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Billboard #1 Hits: #59-“Hit The Road Jack”- Ray Charles. October 9, 1961. #1 for 2 weeks. Released on ABC-Paramount. Written by Percy Mayfield. Genre: R&B. Time: 2:00. B-side:”The Danger Zone.” Grade: A+

“Hit The Road Jack” was written by Ray Charles friend -R&B singer-songwriter Percy Mayfield in 1960. It would become the 2nd of 3 #1 hits for Ray Charles. It peaked at #6 on the UK Singles Chart and spent 5 weeks at #1 on the US Rhythm and Blues singles chart. It would become one of Ray Charles signature songs. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it at # 387 in its 500 Greatest Songs Ever list. “Hit The Road Jack” won a Grammy for Charles- for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording. The background singer on the song The Raelettes Margie Hendrix was Charles lover at the time. They were both drug addicts at the time. A couple years later Charles fired Hendrix. Charles would beat his addictions but Hendrix wasn’t as lucky- she died in obscurity in 1973 at 38 of a heroin overdose.


13 responses to “BILLBOARD #1 HITS: #59: “HIT THE ROAD JACK”- RAY CHARLES- OCTOBER 9, 1961

    • Ray= cool. Funny your bring cool up a friend of mine texted me the other day with this question- I won’t mention our answers until I hear yours… When did “Cool” start and when did it end? And I added this question- who was the last “Cool” celebrity type?

    • I just watched a McQueen doc so that’s the obvious answer fro me. Lots cool though. I always thought Dan Hicks had that vibe down. There are a whole bunch of cool jazz guys. Some of those guys are beyond cool.
      What were you guys onto?

    • We both came up with without consulting- Bogart as the first “Cool”- and my friend said Alan Alda was the death of cool.. I am still thinking about who the last “cool” person was….McQueen – Jazz guys as you mentioned- The Rat Pack. As a kid growing up Joe Namath was cool… can’t think of anyone today who is cool..

    • Bogart! Of coarse. He is perfect. The Alda thing is funny. Duke Ellington is cool, drifting into class, Perry Como is relaxed (check out SCTV skit, very funny). Lots of cool athletes, Roberto Clemente.
      Today? I could make a list of not so cool but thats a waste of time. Maybe hans and CB. I think we’re pretty cool.

    • Wasn’t Lester Young the one who is credited with coming up with the term ‘Cool” something rattling around is telling me that..

    • Yeah I think you’re right. He came up with a few. The one I remember is “Can Madam burn?” Translated into , “Can she cook”? Lester was pretty cool. Lots of posers but few card carrying members.

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