The record industry was initially reluctant to embrace Lenny Kravitz. Depending on who you asked, he wasn't black enough, or he wasn't white enough. But 1993’s Are You Gonna Go My Way album turned Kravitz into an MTV staple and then a superstar.
Next June, Kravitz returns to The UK to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album that got the ball rolling, his 1989 debut Let Love Rule. He play's London's O2 on June 11, his only UK date of 2019.
From his early funk-rock singles to his breakthrough worldwide hit to an Austin Powers cover, these are six essential Lenny Kravitz songs.
Mr. Cab Driver
A song from the sharp end of New York, Kravitz’s third single was tracked on the day after the singer tussled with a racist cabbie:. “We were fighting on top of the cab and, y’know, he was calling me nigger. And it got really out of hand.”
Always On The Run
Between the snake-charmer riff, the parping brass, Slash’s stunt-guitar solo and that endearingly daft middle-section where Lenny pretends to be on the phone to his dear old mum, this lead-off single from Mama Said remains a high-water mark.
What The Fuck Are We Saying?
It might have been overshadowed by the embarrassment of hit singles on its parent album, but this five-minute slow-burner has aged well: a protest song that rides on clanging piano, an F-bomb chorus and the best sax break that Clarence Clemons never played.
Are You Gonna Go My Way
A stoned Kravitz had casually scribbled the lyrics for this song on a takeaway bag, but the resulting track – a huge hit single; the album was a UK No.1 – became his stomping signature tune, with a riff that took three cycles to sear itself on to your cortex. Like a dreadlocked Pied Piper, we followed him in droves.
The song that came to Kravitz as he gunned his Jeep along the beaches of his Bahamas retreat, Fly Away also gave the singer a UK No.1, and Grammy for Best Male Rock Performance. Not bad, considering the lyrics are essentially a rewrite of Orville The Duck’s I Wish I Could Fly.
Respect to The Guess Who’s 1970 original, but Kravitz’s retread pips it, floating in on a musky cloud of animal sexuality. The only dissenting voice was that of the song’s composer, Randy Bachman, who said: “He didn’t do my guitar solo, which is kind of the signature of the song."