The 1978 duet was released as the theme song of the 1978 film adaptation of The Wiz (itself an adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), and produced by Quincy Jones. The Charlie Smalls–composed tune was an R&B re-interpretation of both "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" and "We're Off to See the Wizard" from the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz. In the song, Dorothy (portrayed in the film by Ross) and the Scarecrow (played by Jackson) dance their way down the Yellow Brick Road, and give each other words of encouragement.
"Ease on Down the Road" is performed four times in The Wiz: once by Dorothy and the Scarecrow, once by the two of them and the Tin Man (played in the movie by Nipsey Russell), by the three of them and the Cowardly Lion (played by Ted Ross), and finally during the end credits. In the album version, Jackson & Ross sing by themselves. The recording was one of Jackson's first collaborations with Quincy Jones, who became his main producer during the late 1970s and 1980s.
In 1980, while celebrating Disney's 25th Anniversary, Michael Jackson along with Disney characters (Mickey Mouse, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Chip 'n' Dale and Goofy), Michael Jackson performed their song after medley with "When You Wish Upon a Star", this was the only song re-sung by Michael Jackson without former label-mate Diana Ross.
Released as a single by MCA Records in the late summer of 1978, the song missed the U.S. Top 40 by one position, peaking at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached #17 on the Soul Singles chart the same year.