People Get Ready

The tropics have made momentary Bob Marley fans of Lucy and I. Which leads to “One Love.” Which leads to “People Get Ready.”

Written by: Curtis Mayfield
Produced by: Johnny Pate
Released: Jan. ’65 on ABC-Paramount
Charts: 8 weeks
Top spot: No. 14

People Get Ready

The Impressions

Posted Dec 09, 2004 12:00 AM

“It was warrior music,” said civil-rights activist Gordon
Sellers. “It was music you listened to while you were preparing to
go into battle.” Mayfield wrote the gospel-driven R&B ballad,
he said, “in a deep mood, a spiritual state of mind,” just before
Martin Luther King’s march on the group’s hometown of Chicago.
Shortly after “People Get Ready” was released, Chicago churches
began including their own version of it in songbooks. Mayfield had
ended the song with “You don’t need no ticket/You just thank the
Lord,” but the church version, ironically, made it less Christian
and more universal: “Everybody wants freedom/This I know.”

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