Today’s music video is Promised Land, sung here in this clip by Chuck Berry.
This video was posted to You Tube by mattwrightable
The lyrics for this song were written by Chuck Berry and the melody is an old American folk song from the late 1800’s, a song titled Wabash Cannonball, which was originally titled The Great Rock Island Route, which was written by J.A.Roff.
This version by Chuck Berry has been sped up into a blues rock tempo, and is basically along the same lines as the original song, which was about a train trip.
Here, Chuck talks about a trip across the Continent from the North East to what he refers to as The Promised Land, Los Angeles, California.
Chuck wrote the song while he was in jail as a result of his trial and conviction under the Mann Act in the early 1960’s. He borrowed an Atlas from the prison library and plotted out the route.
He catches a Greyhound bus in the North East, from Norfolk in Virginia, and makes it as far as Birmingham Alabama before the bus breaks down, Next he takes a train to Houston, where friends get him a new suit, some luggage and a plane ticket.
The plane gets him all the way to LA, where he phones home to tell them that he has arrived in The promised Land.
It was his first hit after his release from jail, and by now, in 1963/4 the British Invasion had already started.
The song was a moderate hit on the American R and B Charts and even crossed over into the major National Charts where it was also a minor hit.
The clip I have featured today is a live performance for French television and was performed in Paris. Note how Chuck improvises after a minor problem with the microphone part of the way through the song.
Most of those bands that were instrumental in the start of that British Invasion quoted Chuck Berry as one of their major influences.
Chuck Berry was one of the pioneers of Rock and Roll and brought Rhythm and Blues into the mainstream where it morphed into Rock and Roll.
This song was covered by many artists over the years. One of them was The Dave Edmunds Band, and this song was a relatively large hit for him here in Australia.