The Impressions’ “People Get Ready” becomes a Civil Rights anthem

One of the civil rights movement’s most enduring anthems entered the pop Top 20 in February, making it to No. 14. Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions’ “People Get Ready” was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and by the traditional gospel song “This Train’s Bound for Glory.” Like Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “People Get Ready” states that integration is inevitable. But in place of Dylan’s strident voice of conquest, the Impressions sing in a healing way that makes the song a timeless resource for anyone who needs to make it through hard times.

A few months after its release, Bob Marley rewrote the song for his band the Wailers’ original version of “One Love.”

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