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