Lenny Kravitz is one of the most notable rock-and-roll superstars to emerge in recent decades. In this, he has been helped by his very distinctive music, which incorporates a wide range of influences that include but are not limited to blues, jazz, pop, R&B, and soul. Some people might remember Kravitz because of his four consecutive wins of the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance from 1999 to 2002, which was record-breaking in more than one sense of that word.
10. A Long and Sad Goodbye
“A Long and Sad Goodbye” is a song off of Kravitz’s eighth studio album It Is Time for a Love Revolution, which came out in 2008. Based on the name, interested individuals might be unsurprised to learn that it is about his relationship with his father, which was very complicated to say the least. On the one hand, Kravitz loved his father; on the other hand, Kravitz’s family was devastated by his father’s infidelity. As such, this song has a lot of emotion packed into it.
“Superlove” is an even more recent release. After all, it is the fifth single off of 2011’s Black and White America. Some people found its status as the fifth single rather strange. This isn’t because they felt that it was undeserving in some way. Instead, this is because they were surprised by it being the fifth single when it was one of the best songs on the album.
8. Johnny Cash
“Johnny Cash” can be considered a tribute centered on a very specific interaction that Kravitz had with Johnny and June Cash. In short, the three were living at Rick Rubin’s house in Los Angeles, CA at the time. When Kravitz learned that his mother had passed away from breast cancer, it was Johnny and June Cash who comforted him in his moment of need even though they weren’t particularly close to him. Something that he saw as a beautiful moment of humanity.
7. Let Love Rule
“Let Love Rule” is Kravitz’s debut single from his debut album. As such, it played a huge role in his path to success. Moreover, “Let Love Rule” has managed to hold up remarkably well even though it came out in 1989, being very recognizable as Kravitz’s work.
6. American Woman
“American Woman” started out as a Guess Who song. However, Kravitz’s cover has proven to be more than capable of standing on its own. In this, it has been helped by its sound as well as the context of its release. The Guess Who version was extremely political even though the Guess Who may or may not have intended it to be that way. Meanwhile, Kravitz’s version is much less so, not least because it was released for the soundtrack of the second Austin Powers movie at around the turn of the millennium.
“Again” is rather curious in that it was the one new song on Kravitz’s first Greatest Hits album. Apparently, it was recorded for his sixth studio album Lenny. However, it didn’t fit in, with the result that it was released as on the first Greatest Hits album instead. The rock ballad managed to wow a lot of people, as shown by how it won Kravitz the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in 2001. Naturally, this was reflected by its sales.
4. Are You Gonna Go My Way
If people are asked to name Kravitz’s most iconic songs, chances are good that “Are You Gonna Go My Way” will be one of them. It was received well when it came out, as shown by the praise for its passion as well as the comparisons with Jimi Hendrix. Nowadays, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” remains extremely listenable, which is no mean achievement for a song that is closing in on three decades of age.
3. Always On the Run
Kravitz and Slash were acquainted with one another even before they had become international superstars. When they saw one another at the American Music Awards, they decided that it was time to do a collaboration. Apparently, Slash had already written the music for “Always On the Run” with the intent of releasing it as a Guns N’ Roses song. However, the drummer Steven Adler struggled to play it, with the result that it was stored away for something else. That was good because the result was “Always On the Run,” which is the product of what was by all accounts a very smooth and thus very successful team-up.
2. Fly Away
“Fly Away” almost didn’t make it onto Kravitz’s fifth studio album 5. This is because he had already completed the album when a bit of impromptu inspiration led to the creation of the song, meaning that his first thought was to release it as a b-side. However, a friend convinced him to include it on the album. Initially, Kravitz’s record label was skeptical, but they had a very quick change of mind as soon as they heard the song.
1. It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over
Kravitz realized the potential of “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” before it managed to prove itself out in the wilds. As the story goes, he thought about giving it to Smokey Robinson rather than release it himself, which would have enabled him to remain an underground artist. However, in the end, his record label managed to talk him around, thus resulting in one of his best-known and most beloved releases. Inspiration-wise, the song was Kravitz’s attempt to rekindle his relationship with his then wife Lisa Bonet, which was struggling at the time.