The Meaning Behind The Song: Keep On Truckin’ by Eddie Kendricks
In 1973, Eddie Kendricks released “Keep On Truckin’,” a single that became an instant hit, topping Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and peaking at number ten on the Hot 100. While the song’s catchy melody and danceable rhythm were undeniable, what made it truly unforgettable was its message.
Getting Through Tough Times
“Keep On Truckin'” is an anthem about perseverance, about not giving up in the face of adversity. The lyrics, “Keep on truckin’, baby. I got to keep on truckin’,” are a reminder that life can be difficult, that we all face challenges, but that we can keep going if we stay focused and determined.
The song’s origin, according to co-writer Leonard Caston, was a conversation he had with Kendricks. “Eddie and I were talking about some of the trials and tribulations we’d been through,” Caston said in an interview with PopMatters. “And you know, we just started talking about the perseverance it takes to keep going.”
A Message of Hope and Resilience
“Keep On Truckin'” is not just a feel-good song; it’s a message of hope and resilience. For Kendricks, who had recently left The Temptations to pursue a solo career, the song was a statement of confidence and determination. As he once said in an interview, “It was saying that I was going to keep going no matter what, and that’s what everyone’s got to do.”
The song’s message resonated with audiences across the country, and it quickly became an anthem for the struggling urban communities of the 1970s. As author Nelson George notes in his book “The Death of Rhythm and Blues,” “Keep On Truckin'” was “a message of hope to ghetto youngsters who dreamed of escape through music and fame.”
From Disco to Classic Rock
“Keep On Truckin'” was more than a hit single; it was a cultural phenomenon. The song’s catchy beat and memorable hook made it a staple of disco clubs, and it remains a classic of the genre to this day. But its impact went beyond the disco scene; it also became a favorite of classic rock fans.
Rolling Stone magazine included “Keep On Truckin'” in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and it has been covered by a variety of artists, including Bob Dylan, Phish, and the Grateful Dead. The song’s message of perseverance and resilience has made it a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
A Reminder to Keep Going
“Keep On Truckin'” is a testament to the power of music to inspire and uplift us. It’s a reminder that no matter how difficult life may get, we can keep going if we stay focused and determined. As Kendricks himself once said, “I wanted to give people a sense of hope. I wanted to say, ‘Keep on truckin’, baby. Keep on going.'”
And so, whenever we face challenges or obstacles in our lives, we can turn to “Keep On Truckin'” for inspiration. Its message of hope and resilience will continue to inspire generations of music lovers to come.