Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way

Love the guitar riff, the vibe, and the artist. To my surprise this was not released as a single in the US, but in 1995 a live version was used as the B-side of Kravitz’ “Rock And Roll Is Dead” single.

I first learned of Lenny Kravitz in 1989 with Let Love Rule which is probably my favorite song by him. I do like this one because it’s aggressive and right in your face.  The song was released in 1993. 

The song is about Jesus Christ, whom Lenny referred to as “the ultimate rock star.” It’s about how God gives choice to man about where to turn. 

Lenny Kravitz: “I thought the subject matter was really interesting, because it’s coming from the mouth of Jesus Christ, as I thought. So basically, ‘Are you gonna go my way?’ meaning ‘my way of love.’ I had no idea that that song would become what it became. No idea. There was nothing on the radio like that. And the recording is so raw, it’s ridiculous.”

The music video, directed by Mark Romanek, finds Kravitz and his band performing beneath a brilliant chandelier. The clip earned him the MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Artist.

From Songfacts

. The opening lines spell it out:

I was born long ago
I am the chosen I’m the one
I have come to save the day
And I won’t leave until I’m done 

Kravitz played this on Saturday Night Live in 1993. 

In an interview posted on his website, Kravitz explained the origin of this song: “We were just jamming in the studio. You know, I was jamming with Craig Ross, who I wrote the song with. It was one of those songs that happened in 5 minutes. We were jamming. I thought there was something happening. I told Henry to turn the tape machines on, and we played it. And that was it. And then I went and wrote the lyrics on a brown paper bag, I remember at my loft on Broome Street at the time. Went in and sang it the next day. And that was it.” 

This was a #2 hit on the Modern Rock chart. Because it was released as an airplay-only single in the US, it wasn’t eligible for the Hot 100. At the time, many record labels chose to only release promo singles to radio stations so listeners would have to buy the whole album to hear the song. While the strategy worked for album sales, it also kept artists off the chart until the rules changed in 1998.

Are You Gonna Go My Way was Kravitz’ first Top 20 album in the US, where it peaked at #12. It hit #1 in the UK, Switzerland, Canada, and Australia.

This earned Kravitz Grammy nominations for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo and Best Rock Song. He lost to Meat Loaf for “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” and Dave Pirner for Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train,” respectively.

Tom Jones recorded this for the 1995 comedy The Jerky Boys. It’s also been covered by Robbie Williams, Mel B, and Adam Lambert.

This was used in the 1994 movie I Love Trouble, starring Julia Roberts. It also showed up on The Simpsons (“How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” – 2002) and Sex and the City (“Ghost Town” – 2001).

A remixed version was used at the opening theme to the 2001 video game Gran Turismo 3.

Are You Gonna Go My Way

I was born long ago
I am the chosen I’m the one
I have come to save the day
And I won’t leave until I’m done

So that’s why you’ve got to try
You got to breath and have some fun
Though I’m not paid I play this game
And I won’t stop until I’m done

But what I really want to know is
Are you gonna go my way?
And I got to got to know

I don’t know why we always cry
This we must leave and get undone
We must engage and rearrange
And turn this planet back to one

So tell me why we got to die
And kill each other one by one
We’ve got to love and rub-a-dub
We’ve got to dance and be in love

But what I really want to know is
Are you gonna go my way?
And I got to got to know

Are you gonna go my way?
‘Cause baby I got to know
Yeah

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

32 thoughts on “Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way”

      1. I have the Robertson one on order from the library. Been listening a lot to The Band this week. Which rock stars do you think will never go this way? I’d say Paul and Mick would lead the list- I’d also think no way in the world would Van Morrison write a memoir.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You took the 3 I would have picked….I also would say if they would have lived…Bowie or Harrison would not have written a true memoir. Harrison had I, Me, Mine …which I never read but from the reviews it’s not a real memoir.

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  1. I think that there must be two viewpoints in this song and if one of them is Jesus, then the other one must be somebody questioning Jesus. The line, “So tell me why we got to die And kill each other one by one” would never be said by Jesus, as Jesus is God and supposedly knows all things.

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  2. I remember hearing this one on the radio in middle school and what an antidote it was to all the late stage hair metal dominating the airwaves (GnR mostly, and hey I love them too, but this sounded like real rock n roll, 60’s style, crunchy guitar hook and all)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was surprised to hear it when I did…it was a great thing when I did. The Black Crowes brought it back somewhat also but this was later on. You could tell who Lenny’s influences were…

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    1. Oh it was…it just wasn’t released as a single. I don’t know why they didn’t release it as a single…that is a head scratcher…I guess they wanted people to buy the album.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. a fine song, one of many he put out back then… I would’ve assumed it was a ‘single’ (radio play and a video) but that was not uncommon in 90s I guess , releases pegged for radio as such but not put out individually. By ’95 or so not many people bought physical singles anyway.
    Kravitz to me was over-exposed in the ’90s but now is rather unfairly forgotten… basically never hear him on radio anymore, even the stations that play a lot of Nirvana, Gin Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls and stuff from the same era. A bit of a shame that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I checked his albums out…he has been releasing in the 2000’s quite successfully. Most of them went gold and are in the top 40 for the most part…but yea you never hear them.

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  4. Great guitar riff! Lenny’s a pretty talented musician and songwriter.

    The first time I heard of him was in the early ‘90s in a restaurant in France while I was on vacation. They were playing the “Mama Said” album. I immediately dug it.

    My bother-in-law ended up asking the waiter about the music. I bought the CD after my return to Germany.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I looked at his 2000’s output…he has been successful for an “older” artist…which surprised me…. the essence of cool is a perfect way to describe him.

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  5. Great record, topped the charts in the UK which still had singles sales in the 90’s, I never understood the determination to force people to buy an album in the US by refusing to release the best tracks, yet the strategy worked. As a music fan and consumer I react against marketing ploys – force me to buy an album? No chance, I stop buying all product from that act. I buy an album and then a year later the same album is pushed out with bonus tracks forcing me to either buy the album again or buy the single tracks? No thanks, I just won’t buy the next album till the bonus tracks version is released….

    Now of course with streaming mostly nobody buys physical or digital and playlists determine charts. So I don’t stream and I don’t use playlists 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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