#136: Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz
Leonard Albert Kravitz was born in 1964 in New York City. His mother was African-American and Bahamian, and a Christian. His father was descended from Russia Jews. Kravitz began banging on pots and pans in the kitchen, playing them as drums at the age of three. He decided that he wanted to be a musician at the age of five. He began playing the drums and soon added guitar. Kravitz’ father was a jazz promotor, and Duke Ellington played Happy Birthday for Lenny on his fifth birthday. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1974 when his mother, Roxie Roker, got cast as Helen Willis in the TV sitcom The Jeffersons.
In 1989, Lenny Kravitz released his debut album Let Love Rule. The title track was a Top 30 hit in the Netherlands and made the Top 40 in the UK. Kravitz subsequently went on tour opening variously for David Bowie, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Bob Dylan. In 1990, Kravitz produced Madonna’s #1 single “Justify My Love”.
In 1991, Kravitz released his second studio album Mama Said. The single “Always On The Run” made the Top Ten in the Netherlands. His fame grew as the next single from the album, “It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over”, climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also made the Top Ten in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand. Kravitz came to Vancouver for the first time, and appeared in concert on January 11, 1992, at the Pacific Coliseum.
In 1993 Lenny Kravitz released the album Are You Gonna Go My Way. The lead single was soon released.
“Are You Gonna Go My Way” is a song written by Lenny Kravitz and bandmate Craig Ross. Born in Los Angeles, Craig Ross was playing in clubs by the age of sixteen. He is a guitarist, and also plays mandolin, keyboards and percussion. While in high school, Ross formed The Broken Homes. The band opened concerts in LA for INXS, Jerry Lee Lewis, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gun’s N Roses and Jane’s Addiction.
In 1991, Craig Ross met Lenny Kravitz at a pool hall. That spring Ross became part of Kravitz band on the Mama Said Tour. Ross has been in the recording studio with Lenny Kravitz on every album since Mama Said, including the most recent recording in 2018, Raise Vibration.
“Are You Gonna Go My Way” is a song about responding to the chemistry of a sexual attraction and affirming wisdom of desire. It is also a song offering a choice to be about making love in this life, or being part of violence and hatred: “So tell me why we got to die, and kill each other one by one? We’ve got to hug and rub-a-dub. We’ve got to dance and be in love.”
“Are You Gonna Go My Way” peaked at #2 in Vancouver, and #6 in Waipahu (HI), and #14 in Los Angeles. Internationally, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” peaked at #1 in Australia for six weeks. It peaked at #2 in Iceland and New Zealand, #4 in France, #5 in Canada, #6 in Ireland and the Netherlands, and #7 in Norway.
“Are You Gonna Go My Way” earned Kravitz two Grammy Award nominations, one in the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance category, and the other for Best Rock Song.
A followup single from the album, “Believe”, was a #1 hit in Iceland, and a Top Ten hit in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. On October 31, 1993, Lenny Kravitz came to Vancouver to appear in concert at the Pacific Coliseum.
In 1995, Lenny Kravitz released the studio album Circus. The lead single “Rock and Roll Is Dead” was a Top Ten hit in Finland, New Zealand and Spain. The single earned Lenny Kravitz another Grammy Award nomination in the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance category. On September 12, 1998, Kravitz performed in concert in Vancouver at the Plaza of Nations.
Between 1999 and 2002, Lenny Kravitz won four consecutive Grammy Awards in the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance category. He won on the strength of his song “Fly Away” in 1999. The single topped the pop charts in Iceland and the UK, and made the Top Ten in a half dozen other countries. That year Kravitz came to Vancouver and gave a concert at General Motors Place on October 16.
His cover of the Guess Who classic “American Woman”, for the film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, won his second Grammy in 2000. It also climbed to #2 in Iceland. In 2001, Kravitz won his third Grammy Award in the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance category for “Again”. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Rock Song category. The single was a Top Ten hit in eleven nations, including number-one in Iceland and Italy. His final Grammy Award was for his recording of “Dig In” the following year. It was a Top Ten hit in Italy, Portugal and Spain.
In 2002, a second track from the album Lenny, titled “Believe In Me”, was a Top Ten hit in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. On August 24, 2002, Lenny Kravitz performed in concert at General Motors Place in Vancouver.
In 2004, Kravitz seventh studio album, Baptism, featured the single “Where Are We Runnin’?”, a #4 hit in Spain. That year, Lenny Kravitz also earned another Grammy Award nomination in the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance category for “If I Could Fall In Love”.
On May 14, 2005, Kravitz appeared in concert in Vancouver at the Orpheum. His 2007 single, “I’ll Be Waiting”, came from the album It Is Time for a Love Revolution. It climbed to #1 in the Czech Republic. As well, the single made the Top Ten in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Switzerland.
In 2009, Lenny Kravitz won critical acclaim for his role as Nurse John in the film Precious. In 2012, Kravitz was cast in a supporting role as Cenna in the film The Hunger Games. and in 2013 in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Also in 2013 Kravitz was cast as one of the butlers in the film The Butler.
In 2014, Lenny Kravitz released the album Strut. The single “The Chamber” was another international hit, climbing to #1 in Hungary, #6 in Italy and Poland, #8 in Belgium and #9 in Switzerland. And in 2018, a track from his eleventh album Raise Vibration, “Low”, was a Top Ten hit in Belgium, France, and Iceland. It also topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart in the USA. The single was nominated for Best Rock Video at both the MTV Video Music Awards and the UK Music Video Awards.
In 2022 Lenny Kravitz will appear opposite Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel in the romantic comedy film Shotgun Wedding.
July 27, 2022
Marina Saval, “Lenny Kravitz: ‘I Never Wanted to Be a Star; I Wanted to Be a Musician’,” Variety, October 26, 2018.
Chris Heath, “Lenny Kravitz Interview,” Telegraph, June 16, 2009.
Hardeep Phull, “Lenny Kravitz: My childhood New York,” New York Post, September 27, 2014.
Lenny Kravitz, “Lenny Kravitz Discovers Weed and Led Zeppelin on the Same Day in New Memoir Excerpt,” Rolling Stone, September 22, 2020.
Courtenay Grimes, “Lenny’s Leading Man: An interview with Craig Ross,” Gibson.com, November 30, 2004.
“Lenny Kravitz concerts – Canada,” setlist.com.
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