Track This: Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang" Live at the Harlem Square Club
"Chain Gang" was a successful single for Cooke when he released it on on July 26, 1960, and it has become one of his most ubiquitous and well-known songs, as well as his first for RCA Victor after a stellar run on Keen records. The song's call and response chants are instantly recognizable, and, despite its theme, the song is typically upbeat; Cooke narrates the story of the prisoner's daily work lives, but allows them to hope as they slave away under the burning sun. Perhaps the song plays as a bit naive for modern audiences, but it still remains part of the national mythology and oldies station play lists, and has been covered by many artists.
Single version with American Chain Gang pictures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmZdvVnMXCc
Live at the Harlem Square Club