I'll Take You There

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"I'll Take You There"
Belgian single release
Single by the Staple Singers
from the album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself
B-side"I'm Just Another Soldier"
ReleasedFebruary 1972
3:16 (7" version)
Songwriter(s)Al Bell
Producer(s)Al Bell
The Staple Singers singles chronology
"Respect Yourself"
"I'll Take You There"
"This World"
Alternative release
Side A of US single release
Side A of US single release

"I'll Take You There" is a song written by Al Bell (using his real name Alvertis Isbell), and originally performed by soul/gospel family band the Staple Singers. The Staple Singers version, produced by Bell, was released on Stax Records in February 1972, and spent a total of 15 weeks on the charts and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. By December 1972, it had sold 2 million units[4] and is ranked as the 19th biggest American hit of 1972.[5] It remains one of the best-selling gospel songs of all time.

The song was also a significant chart hit in two later cover versions. A 1991 cover version by BeBe & CeCe Winans, with Mavis Staples featured as a guest artist, made it to #1 on the R&B chart, and also reached #90 on the Hot 100.[6] In 1994, the British band General Public released a cover of "I'll Take You There" which peaked at #22 on the Hot 100.[7] Rap trio Salt-N-Pepa sampled "I'll Take You There" in their 1991 hit "Let's Talk About Sex".

Original Staple Singers version[edit]

Included on the group's 1972 album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, "I'll Take You There" features lead singer Mavis Staples inviting her listeners to seek Heaven. The song is almost completely a call-and-response chorus, with the introduction and bassline being lifted—uncredited—from "The Liquidator", a 1969 reggae hit written by Harry Johnson and performed by the Harry J Allstars. In fact, the entire song, written in the key of C, contains but two chords, C and F. A large portion of the song is set aside for Mavis' sisters Cleotha and Yvonne and their father "Pops" to seemingly perform solos on their respective instruments. In actuality, these solos (and all music in the song) were recorded by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. When Mavis Staples says "Daddy, now, Daddy, Daddy" (referring to "Pop's" guitar solo), it is actually Eddie Hinton who performs the solo on the record. Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section bass player David Hood performs the song's bassline. Terry Manning added harmonica and lead electric guitar. Roger Hawkins played drums, Barry Beckett was on Wurlitzer electronic piano, and Jimmy Johnson and Raymond Banks contributed guitar parts. The horn and string parts were arranged by Detroit arranger Johnny Allen. The horns and strings were recorded at Artie Fields Recording Studios in Detroit Michigan.

Quite a few Staple Singers songs reference civil rights and social conditions. Many people interpret this song as describing an imagined world in which the civil rights movement has succeeded: "No more smilin' faces/lyin' to the races."

Rolling Stone editor David Fricke described this song as the "epitome of the Muscle Shoals Sound". It was recorded in Sheffield, AL at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, and overdubbed and mixed at Ardent Studios in Memphis by Engineer Terry Manning.

Bolstered by a "feel-good" vibe, "I'll Take You There" peaked at #1 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart for four weeks May 1972. In June, "I'll Take You There" reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for one week.[8] Billboard ranked it as the #19 song for 1972.[9] The song, ranked #276 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time[10] and inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, remains the most successful and recognizable single of the Staples' half-century-long career.


Partial credits from Richard Buskin and Terry Manning.[11]

The Staple Singers
  • Mavis Staples - vocals
  • Pops Staples - vocals
  • Cleotha Staples - harmony and backing vocals
  • Yvonne Staples - harmony and backing vocals
Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section
Additional musicians
Production and technical staff
  • Al Bell – arranger, producer
  • Johnny Allen - arranger
  • Terry Manning – engineer, additional production (uncredited), additional arrangements (uncredited)
  • Jerry Masters – engineer
  • Ralph Rhodes – engineer



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Silver 200,000
United States (RIAA)[20] Gold 500,000
United States
1972 physical sales

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Cover recordings[edit]

In 1991, the song returned to number-one on the US R&B chart when it was covered by BeBe & CeCe Winans, with Mavis Staples featured as a guest artist on the track.[22] The single also peaked at number 90 on the Hot 100[23][24] and number 11 on the Holland National Airplay chart.[25]

In 1994, the British band General Public released a cover of "I'll Take You There" featured in the film Threesome. It peaked at #22 on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart and #95 on its year-end chart.[26] It also peaked at #38 on the year-end chart of Canadian RPM Top Singles.[27] This version features an added toasted verse specific to this rendition.

In 2005, Sammy Hagar and The Waboritas released a cover titled "Let Me Take You There" as the first single from their 2006 album Livin' It Up!

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "100 Greatest Funk Songs". Digital Dream Door. August 7, 2008. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  2. ^ Breihan, Tom (February 27, 2019). "The Number Ones: The Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There"". Stereogum. Retrieved June 17, 2023. But it's still hard to hear it as anything other than a gospel song — one of the purest and most direct that ever went to #1 in America.
  3. ^ Horton, Matthew (2015). "The Staple Singers - "I'll Take You There". In Dimery, Robert (ed.). 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die. New York: Universe. p. 299.
  4. ^ "Staple Singers Get Disc For 2 Million Record Sales". Jet. Vol. 43, no. 12. Johnson Publishing Company. 14 December 1972. p. 50. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved January 25, 2024 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Climax - Chart History - The Hot 100, Billboard.com. Accessed April 16, 2018.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 631.
  7. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 547.
  9. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972
  10. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". RollingStone.com. Retrieved 2009-01-06.[dead link]
  11. ^ Buskin, Richard. "Classic Tracks: The Staple Singers 'I'll Take You There'". SoundOnSound. Sound On Sound. Retrieved 26 July 2023.
  12. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Staple Singers: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 2, 2024.
  14. ^ "Chart service: Soul" (PDF). Disc. June 10, 1972. p. 2. Retrieved February 2, 2024.
  15. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  16. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, May 27, 1972". Archived from the original on December 9, 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". musicoutfitters.com. Archived from the original on 27 April 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  18. ^ http://tropicalglen.com/Archives/70s_files/1972YESP.html Archived 2018-09-28 at the Wayback Machine Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 30, 1972
  19. ^ "British single certifications – Staple Singers – I'll Take You There". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 4, 2023.
  20. ^ "American single certifications – Staple Singers – I'll Take You There". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 4, 2023.
  21. ^ Brinton, Robert (May 6, 1972). "Percy, proving he's funky..." (PDF). Disc. p. 10. Retrieved January 28, 2024 – via worldradiohistory.com.
  22. ^ "BeBe & CeCe Winans Chart History: Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved February 2, 2024.
  23. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 631.
  24. ^ "BeBe & CeCe Winans Chart History: Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved February 2, 2024.
  25. ^ "NATIONAL AIRPLAY: HOLLAND" (PDF). Music & Media. March 7, 1992. Retrieved February 2, 2024.
  26. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  27. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1994". RPM. Retrieved November 23, 2017.