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The Meaning Behind The Song: Keep On Growing by Derek & the Dominos

The Meaning Behind The Song: Keep On Growing by Derek & the Dominos

Released in 1970, “Keep On Growing” is a classic rock song by the supergroup Derek and the Dominos. Led by guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton, the band also featured other musical luminaries such as Bobby Whitlock, Jim Gordon, and Carl Radle. The song was written by Whitlock and Clapton, and it was included in the band’s only studio album, “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.” “Keep On Growing” talks about a journey of personal and spiritual growth. In this article, we will take a closer look at the meaning behind this song.

The Lyrics

The lyrics to “Keep On Growing” center on a theme of self-improvement and self-realization. The song starts with the lines, “I was laughing, playing in the streets, I was unknowing, I didn’t know my fate.” These lines portray a person who is naive and oblivious to the bigger picture. The next two lines, “Playing around, trying to find my way, but fate kept pushing me back.” show how life’s circumstances can often seem like obstacles.

However, the chorus of the song, “Keep on growing, keep on showing, keep on knowing,” is a call to persist through these circumstances and trust in the journey of personal growth. The verse, “Into a conversation, whoa, where people hypnotized, Yes the conversation, realizing what I left behind” shows how growth comes from self-reflection and realizing what we need to leave behind.

The Message

The message of “Keep On Growing” is a timeless one, even today. The song can be seen as a call to action for individuals to take charge of their lives and become better versions of themselves. It is about a person who starts out naive and unsure of their path in life but through perseverance and self-reflection, they are able to grow and evolve.

The song’s message is even more potent when seen in the context of the band’s history. Derek and the Dominos were formed in the aftermath of Clapton’s exit from Cream, one of the most innovative and influential rock bands of the 1960s. For Clapton, this was a period of personal and artistic growth, as he experimented with new genres and collaborations.

The message of “Keep On Growing” applies not only to the individual but also to society as a whole. As we continue to face challenges, such as inequality, prejudice, and climate change, we must keep on growing as a society to overcome them.

The Music

“Keep On Growing” is a great example of the band’s superlative musicianship and tight arrangements. The song features a prominent riff that sets the tone for the song. Throughout the song, Clapton’s guitar work is masterful, and his style of playing combines his blues roots with a newfound confidence and experimentation. Whitlock’s keyboard playing gives the song an additional funky and soulful edge. And the rhythm section featuring Carl Radle on bass and Jim Gordon on drums serves as the rock-solid foundation of the song.

The interplay between the musicians is evident throughout the song, and it shows a band that is in sync and able to elevate each other’s playing. The result is a classic rock song that is both timeless and unforgettable.

The Spiritual Connection

Another interpretation of “Keep On Growing” is that it has a spiritual connotation. The repeated line, “Keep on knowing,” can be interpreted as a call to become more self-aware and spiritually awake. The line “As we’re bypassed by the stars, Are you happy where you are?” suggests that we should constantly question our place in the universe and our own spirituality.

This interpretation makes sense when seen in the context of Clapton’s own spiritual journey. Clapton has been open about his struggles with addiction and how he sought solace in spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer. He has also spoken about the transformative power of music and art, and how it can be a gateway to higher states of consciousness.

The Legacy of the Song

“Keep On Growing” remains one of Derek and the Dominos’ most enduring songs, and it is a testament to the band’s ongoing legacy. The song has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including Susan Tedeschi and the Tedeschi Trucks Band. It remains a staple of classic rock radio and has been referenced in popular culture, from movies to TV shows.

The song’s enduring appeal can be attributed to its message of hope and perseverance. These themes are universal and timeless and still resonate with listeners today. Moreover, the song showcases the immense talent of Derek and the Dominos, and it is a reminder of a golden age of rock music.

Frequently Asked Questions

What inspired Derek and the Dominos to write “Keep On Growing”?

“Keep On Growing” is a song that celebrates personal growth and perseverance. The songwriters, Clapton and Whitlock, were going through personal and artistic transformations during the time the song was written. Clapton had just left the supergroup Cream, and he was branching out into new musical territories. Meanwhile, Whitlock was bringing his soulful keyboard playing to the band, contributing to the band’s evolving sound.

What is the significance of the chorus “Keep on growing, keep on showing, keep on knowing”?

The chorus of “Keep On Growing” is a repeated call to action, urging the listener to persist through adversity and embrace the journey of personal growth. The words “keep on knowing” suggest that the process of growing is an ongoing and never-ending one.

What is the spiritual connotation of the song?

The song has been interpreted as having spiritual connotations, particularly the repeated line “keep on knowing.” This can be interpreted as an invitation to become more self-aware and spiritually awake. The line “Are you happy where you are?” also suggests that the song’s message is about questioning one’s place in the universe and seeking deeper meaning.

Who played on “Keep On Growing”?

“Keep On Growing” featured the musical lineup of Derek and the Dominos, which included Eric Clapton on guitar and vocals, Bobby Whitlock on keyboards and vocals, Carl Radle on bass, and Jim Gordon on drums.

What is the song’s legacy?

“Keep On Growing” has remained a classic rock staple since its release in 1970. It has been covered by numerous artists, and its message of perseverance and hope continues to resonate with listeners today. It is a testament to Derek and the Dominos’ immense talent and their contribution to the golden age of rock music.

What is the song’s message?

The song’s message is a call to persist through life’s obstacles and embrace a journey of personal and spiritual growth. It encourages the listener to keep on growing, knowing, and showing, despite the challenges that may come their way.

What makes “Keep On Growing” a classic rock song?

“Keep On Growing” has all the elements of a classic rock song, including tight musicianship, catchy riffs, and a memorable chorus. The song also showcases the immense talent of the band, particularly Clapton’s guitar work and Whitlock’s keyboard playing.

What other songs are included in the album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”?

“Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” is Derek and the Dominos’ only album. In addition to “Keep On Growing” and the iconic hit “Layla,” the album includes other classic rock songs such as “I Am Yours,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” and “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?”

Why is Derek and the Dominos considered a supergroup?

Derek and the Dominos is considered a supergroup because it included some of the most talented musicians of the time. Eric Clapton was already a guitar legend, having played with bands such as Cream and the Yardbirds. Bobby Whitlock was a gifted keyboard player, and drummer Jim Gordon and bassist Carl Radle had played with a variety of acclaimed musicians before joining the band.

What is the significance of “Keep On Growing” in popular culture?

“Keep On Growing” remains a classic rock radio staple, and its message of perseverance and hope has been referenced in popular culture. The song was featured in the 2010 movie “Love & Other Drugs” and has been used in TV shows and commercials.

What has Eric Clapton said about “Keep On Growing”?

Eric Clapton has been complimentary of “Keep On Growing” over the years, particularly its message of personal growth. In an interview with NPR, he said that the song was a good example of the band’s collaboration and the musical chemistry they had.

What other songs celebrate personal growth like “Keep On Growing”?

There are numerous songs that celebrate personal growth and perseverance, including Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop,” and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” These songs, like “Keep On Growing,” encourage the listener to embrace change and persist through obstacles.

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