Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Billy Waye Grammer’

“Gotta’ Travel On” Was Early Cross Over Hit

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The song “Gotta’ Travel On,” written by by Billy Wayne Grammer (August 28, 1925 – August 10, 2011), is perhaps among the most renown songs in modern recorded history, and for good reason. It was one of the very first songs to have ever had broad “crossover” appeal.

The song’s melody is a traditional one, and the lyrics are thought to be based on a fragment of an unnamed song found in the archives of the Virginia Folklore Society entitled “Done Laid Around,” though there are versions of the song with the same title which typically use a different set of stanzas.

February 22, 1958, Pete Seeger became the first musician to have recorded it and the lyrics with which most are now familiar – which were written by Paul Clayton, David Lazar, Larry Ehrlich, Fred Hellerman, Pete Seeger, and Lee Hays. The BMI Award Winning Song is BMI Work #503008 in the repertoire, and is 100% controlled by BMI.

Pete Seeger performs “Gotta Travel On”

It was only very shortly thereafter, in 1959, when Billy Wayne Grammer recorded and released that song, that it charted on the Country (ranking 5th), Pop (ranking 4th) AND R&B (ranking 14th) music charts! That was no small feat! While not the very first such crossover song,”Gotta’ Travel On” was certainly one of the first. And in the years since, many songs have increased popularity among wider audiences by artists whose interpretations have brought nuance, and even complete change to a song.

Of the numerous musicians have since lent their interpretations to, and re-recorded “Gotta’ Travel On,” which include musical luminaries such as Read the rest of this entry »

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