Key to the Highway — Big Bill Broonzy (OKeh, 1941)

Dozens of artists have recorded the blues standard ‘Key to the Highway,’ and although Big Bill Broonzy was not the first, he was among the earliest to popularize the song, and has been credited as co-composer (along with Charles Segar, who first recorded it in 1940). Broonzy played guitar on a second 1940 version by harmonica player Jazz Gillum before recording it himself for OKeh Records in Chicago on May 2, 1941. A classic lament on leaving a lover to roam the highway, by some interpretations the song is an anthem of the homeless. It has been recorded by John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Freddie King, Eric Clapton, and many others, most frequently by Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry. Despite its fame, the song registered only once as a single on the Billboard charts, in 1958 when recorded by Little Walter.

2016-11-10T17:06:56+00:00 November 10th, 2016|