Written by
Bob Stumpel

November 9

Hit The Road Jack (With The Raelettes)

Album 1960 - 1973 Singular

Single (A): ABC 10244, August 1961, b/w The Danger Zone.
Compilation album: Singular Genius, Concord Records, 15 November 2011.

Steve Hoffman wrote that “Ray Charles recorded both Hit The Road Jack and Unchain My Heart on one 30-minute reel of tape in real ‘reel’ time. In other words, both songs finished, recorded and mixed within 1/2 hour!”

When Hoffman was remastering the song at RPM one day, Ray

“[…] came in and stood right in front of the speakers. It was obvious he had not heard his recording of that song for a very long time. He nodded his head for a minute to the music, and then screamed out in time with the song: ‘Oh Woman, oh woman why’dya treat me so mean, you are the meanest old woman that I’ve ever seen’, etc. His voice roared out, louder than the blaring speakers, louder than any human voice I had ever heard. Amazing. Jumped out of my skin, actually. What a voice! I was in awe at that moment and felt very glad to be there. 

Funny thing is, he wanted to erase his old vocal track on that song and replace it with a new one. ‘I sing it SO much better now,’ he said! I talked him out of it, thank God!”

Update 13.02.2021: the video of this performance is no longer available on YouTube, please let me know in the comments below if you have any footage, thanks — Cyd

In 1960 Percy Mayfield pitched Hit The Road Jack to Ray Charles with a demo (released on Specialty LP 7000; also see this):

Percy and Ray in 1961.

In November ’61 the record got a response song, titled Well I Told You, with Ritchie Barrett taking the male part, and The Chantels doing the response lyrics:

And also in ’61 the great Nina Simone put out Come On Back, Jack on single (Colpix 614, 1961):

Another answer, by Jo Ann Campbell, in a different composition (produced by Sid Feller!) – I Changed My Mind Jack:


Paris 1961:

O Gênio, São Paulo 1963
Edmonton 1981
Saturday Live, London 1996

’61 LC Zurich
’61 LC Paris – 3x – Released
’62 LC Paris – Released
’63 LC Gênio – Released
’64 LC Copenhagen
’65 FI Ballad – Film version with school choir
’64 LC Comblain
’67 LC Melbourne
’67c TV Road
’69 LC Paris
’69 DM Jack
’72 TV Cosby
’75 TV Cher
’77 TV Heart
’77 LC Gladys – With Gladys Knight & The Pips – Released
’77 TV Saturday
’78 LC Montreux – Part of medley
’79 LC Viareggio
’79 LC Austin
’81 LC Edmonton – Released
’81 LC Barcelona
’82 LC Capital
’82 LC Antibes
’82 LC Japan – Partial
’83 TV Man
’84 LC Ithaca
’87 FI Boss
’87 FI Moonlighting – TV series – Spoof
’88 LC Ballet – 2x
’89 LC Ballet – 2x
’90 LC ArtPark
’93 TV Dorothée – With Dorothée
’94 LC Moscow
’95 LC Tramps
’96 TV Saturday
’96 LC Lugano
’97 LC WolfTrap
’98 CM QVC
’00 LC Moscow
’02 LC Travis – With Travis Tritt
’02 TV Star – With Emma Daumas
’02 LC NewJersey


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *