World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Travelin' Prayer

Article Id: WHEBN0041309999
Reproduction Date:

Title: Travelin' Prayer  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Prelude/Angry Young Man, Big Man on Mulberry Street, Christmas in Fallujah, The Night Is Still Young (Billy Joel song), No Man's Land (Billy Joel song)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Travelin' Prayer

"Travelin' Prayer"
Single by Billy Joel
from the album Piano Man
B-side "Ain't No Crime"
Released 1974
Format 7"
Recorded Devonshire Sound, Los Angeles
Genre rock, folk rock
Length 3:03 (single)
4:16 (album)
Label Family Productions/Columbia
Writer(s) Billy Joel
Producer(s) Michael Stewart
Billy Joel singles chronology
"Worse Comes to Worst"
"Travelin' Prayer"
"The Ballad of Billy the Kid"

"Travelin' Prayer" is a single by singer Billy Joel released as the 3rd single from his 1974 album Piano Man. The song is described as an urgent, banjo-fueled gem.[1] It reached number #77 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #34 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Lyrics and music

Joel wrote "Travelin' Prayer" about two years before it appeared on the album.[2] The song has four verses, the first of which is later repeated, and two instrumental breaks.[3] The lyrics offer a prayer that the singer's lover be protected until she returns to the singer.[3] The song has elements of country music, and is taken at a brisk pace.[3] Instrumentation includes honky-tonk piano, banjo, violin and drums, the latter of which are played with brushes.[3] Joel plays mouth harp during the second instrumental break.[3] Author Ken Bielen sees the song as being influenced by a traditional Irish blessing for an easy return home.[3] Bielen also notes that the song fits with a trend during the period in which religious images were often used in popular songs.[3] Author Hank Bordowitz describes the song as a "pop-grass on-the-road-again song."[2] Bordowitz particularly praises the banjo playing of Eric Weissberg.[2]

Cover versions

"Travelin' Prayer" was covered by Earl Scruggs Revue in 1973 on the album Rockin' Cross the Country.[4] Billboard Magazine rated it as one of the "best cuts" on the album.[5] It later earned Dolly Parton a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, when she covered it in 1999 on the album The Grass Is Blue.[6][7] CMJ noted the song as a "recommended track."[8]

Parton has stated that she "always loved Billy Joel's 'Travelin' Prayer', which [she] thought lent itself to pure bluegrass."[9] The CMJ New Music Report confirmed that Parton's arrangement transforms the song into a "legitimate bluegrass tune."[8] Allmusic critic Philip Van Vleck agrees that it works as a bluegrass song.[10] Author Ken Bielen notes that "Parton recognizes the roots music element" of the song.[3] Bielen notes that Parton's version begins with a slow violin introduction that lasts almost a minute, but the rest of the song goes at "pedal to the metal" speed.[3] In addition to the violin, Parton's backing instruments include banjo, dobro, mandolin, guitar and bass guitar.[3]

Chart positions

Chart (1974) Peak
Canadian Singles Chart[11] 61
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[12] 77
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[13] 34


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.