Billboard #1 Hits: #273: “I’ll Take You There”- The Staple Singers. June 3, 1972. #1 for 1 week in the Billboard Hot 100.

  • Single:”I’ll Take You There”- The Staple Singers
  • Record Company- Stax
  • Genre: Soul
  • Written by Al Bell
  • Time: 4:43
  • B-side”I”m Just Another Soldier”
  • Album-Be Altitude: Respect Yourself
  • Grade: A+
  • Peaked at #1 1 week in Billboard Hot 100. #20 in UK Singles Chart.

The Staples Singers biggest hit- they had another #1 later with “Let’s Do It Again”- but this is the more famous one. “I’ll Take You There” was ranked in Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs Ever list at-#276.

From Songfacts-

Stax Records vice-president Al Bell (born Avertis Isabell) wrote this after attending the funeral of his little brother, who was shot to death. Said Bell: “I went out in the backyard in my father’s home. He had an old school bus there parked that was not running. I went back there and sat on the hood of that bus thinking about all that was happening. And all of a sudden, I hear this music in my head. And I heard these lyrics: ‘I know a place, ain’t nobody worried, ain’t nobody crying, and ain’t no smiling faces lying to the races, I’ll take you there.’ I heard it, and I heard the music. And it wouldn’t leave, it stayed there. kept trying to write other verses, but I couldn’t. Nothing worked – there was nothing left to say.

Many elements of this song, including the famous intro, were based on a Jamaican instrumental song called “The Liquidator” by The Harry J All Stars, which was a #9 UK hit in 1969. Al Bell, who had made frequent trips to Jamaica, brought the record into the session and played it for the band, who used it as a template. They thought the record was a demo Bell made, and didn’t find out until many years later that they lifted an existing song. David Hood, who played bass on this track, told us: “The Liquidator thing, we didn’t know what that was. As I recall, he came in and brought what they call a dub. It was like an acetate or something, a disk that you put on the record player and play. And it had no lyrics on it. We just thought it was an instrumental track that somebody had done for a song. And it was only years later when I found out that that had been a record.”

3 responses to “BILLBOARD #1 HITS: #273: “I’LL TAKE YOU THERE”- THE STAPLE SINGERS – JUNE 3, 1972

  1. Wow on two counts. One is Bell hearing the music and the lyrics that wouldn’t go away. The other was lifting someone else’s song and not letting the band know you did it. It’s a good song and I love the way Mavis Staples sings it. Didn’t I learn from you that Bob Dylan proposed to Mavis?

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