Celebrate 30 Years of Let Love Rule!

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Let Love Rule, Lenny Kravitz has announced an exclusive UK date at The O2, London on Tuesday 11 June 2019. Support comes from Corinne Bailey Rae and protest rock collective Brass Against. Tickets are available from AEG.

When you think of the greatest music videos ever made, straight away you probably think of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer, or some other over-rated, over-watched old eye-candy like that. Maybe Johnny Cash’s Hurt if you’re in a thoughtful mood.

A video that's often overlooked is the promo for Are You Gonna Go My Way? by Lenny Kravitz, rock’s renaissance man.

Are You Gonna Go My Way? arrived in February 1993, and announced the arrival of an A-list talent. Always On The Run and It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over had opened the doors – Are You Gonna Go My Way? took him up a level. 

Few songs from the 90s sound as timeless or as classic. Loads of bands have payed homage to Jimi Hendrix – Kravitz didn’t just pay tribute, he wrote a song that could stand side by side with the tracks on Jimi’s Are You Experienced? album, a Manic Depression for modern times.

The video meanwhile, took the angst and dread of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit promo and transformed it into something positive. Vibrant, sexy, stylish – in an era of transient pop it was rock’n’roll remodelled, a smart, swaggering call to arms for rock classicists.

This is Lenny Kravitz all over. The rock renaissance man. Forward thinking, fighting the good fight, up-ending conventions, refusing to take the easy route, ignoring the safe option. In his early days, record labels told him that his music wasn't ‘black enough’ – or that it was ‘too black’. In 1990, his third single from the Let Love Rule album, Mr Cab Driver, was addressed to a racist taxi driver. It could have been the record business itself. (‘Mr Cab Driver won't you stop to let me in/ Mr Cab Driver don't like my kind of skin/ Mr Cab Driver you're never gonna win’). 

He wrote songs for Madonna, Steven Tyler, recorded with Mick Jagger, played guitar for David Bowie, and covered a Kiss track with the help of Stevie Wonder – since then he’s worked with Michael Jackson and Jay-Z, won Grammys and soundtracked Hollywood movies. 

If Hollywood seemed like the next obvious stop for an image-savvy charismatic performer, no-one could have predicted that his debut acting role would be Precious, a hard-hitting drama about an obese teenager and her abusive family. His role as Cinna in The Hunger Games, meanwhile, brought him to millions of viewers in a blockbusting franchise that challenges conventions: an action movie with a female lead, a sci-fi movie that isn’t about space ships or lazer guns, a piece of massive entertainment with a subversive message: that the ruling classes use dumb entertainment to keep the workers placated.

As he embarks on a massive European tour, here are six stone-cold classics from Kravitz...

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.