I'll Take You There

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"I'll Take You There"
I'll Take You There - Staple Singers.jpg
Single by The Staple Singers
from the album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself
B-side"I'm Just Another Soldier"
ReleasedFebruary 1972
GenreR&B, funk, soul
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"

"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 number-one on the Billboard Hot 100. It is ranked as the 19th biggest American hit of 1972.[1]

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 number one on the R&B chart, and also reached no. 90 on the Hot 100.[2] In 1994, the British band General Public released a cover of "I'll Take You There" which peaked at no. 22 on the Hot 100.[3] 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",[1] with the introduction being lifted from "The Liquidator", a 1969 reggae hit 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 electric 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 number-one 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.[4] Billboard ranked it as the No. 19 song for 1972.[5] The song, ranked #276 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time[6] and inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, remains the most successful and recognizable single of the Staples' half-century-long career.

Chart history[edit]

In other media[edit]

The song has been heavily featured in numerous films.

It was used in the 1986 film Children of a Lesser God.[13]

The song was used in the 1994 Spike Lee film Crooklyn

The song can be heard during the end credits for Barbershop (2002) and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005). The song is also performed in the Australian musical film The Sapphires (2012).

In the Michael Moore documentary Sicko, the song is heavily used as a soundtrack for the section covering Hillary Clinton's years from college in the 1960s to her time promoting a national health care program as First Lady in the 1990s.

Additionally, the song was also used for the 2010 film Secretariat.

On October 30, 2010 Mavis Staples performed the song at the closing of comedian/commentators Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear accompanied by Jeff Tweedy and The Roots, and joined on stage by the other performers in the show.

The song was also featured in the pilot episode of Netflix's Orange Is The New Black.

This song is also featured in the Netflix original documentary Seeing Allred (2018)

General Public version[edit]

"I'll Take You There"
I'll Take You There.jpg
Single by General Public
from the album Threesome: Music From the Motion Picture
ReleasedApril 1994
FormatCD, Vinyl, Cassette
StudioEncore Studios
Songwriter(s)Al Bell
Producer(s)General Public, Ralph Sall, Tony Phillips

In 1994, the British band General Public released a cover of "I'll Take You There" featured in the film Threesome. It was an American hit, peaking at No. 22 on the weekly Hot 100 chart and No. 94 on its year-end chart.[14] This version features an added toasted verse specific to this version of the song.


Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1994) Position
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[15] 38

Notable covers[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Climax - Chart History - The Hot 100, Billboard.com. Accessed April 16, 2018.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 631.
  3. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 547.
  5. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972
  6. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". RollingStone.com. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
  7. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  9. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  10. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, May 27, 1972". Archived from the original on December 9, 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". musicoutfitters.com. Archived from the original on 27 April 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ "Children of a Lesser God". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2011-07-24.
  14. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  15. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1994". RPM. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 631.

External links[edit]