I Want to Take You Higher

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"I Want to Take You Higher"
Single by Sly and the Family Stone
from the album Stand!
Format7" single
GenrePsychedelic soul, funk
Songwriter(s)Sly Stone
Producer(s)Sly Stone
Sly and the Family Stone singles chronology
"Everyday People" / "Sing a Simple Song"
"Stand!" / "I Want to Take You Higher"
"Hot Fun in the Summertime"
"I Want to Take You Higher"
Single by Ike & Tina Turner
from the album Come Together
Released1970 (1970)
Format7" single
GenreFunk, funk rock
LabelLiberty Records
Songwriter(s)Sly Stone
Producer(s)Ike Turner
Ike & Tina Turner singles chronology
"Come Together"
"I Want to Take You Higher"
"Proud Mary"

"I Want to Take You Higher" is a song by the soul/rock/funk band Sly and the Family Stone, the B-side to their Top 30 hit "Stand!". Unlike most of the other tracks on the Stand! album, "I Want to Take You Higher" is not a message song; instead, it is simply dedicated to music and the feeling one gets from music. Like nearly all of Sly & the Family Stone's songs, Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart was credited as the sole songwriter.[1]

About the song[edit]

"I Want to Take You Higher" opens with a bluesy guitar riff played by Freddie Stone. The song, one of the most upbeat recordings in the Family Stone canon, is a remake of sorts of "Higher", a song from the band's 1968 Dance to the Music LP. "Higher" itself has its origins in "Advice", a song Sly Stone co-wrote and arranged for Billy Preston's album The Wildest Organ In Town in 1966.

"Higher" made the setlist for the band's performance at Woodstock alongside "Dance to the Music" and "Music Lover"; Sly Stone used the song during a memorable interlude, during which he had the Woodstock crowd repeating, at three in the morning, the song's frantic cry of "higher!"

Even though it was a b-side, "I Want to Take You Higher" became a Top 40 hit of its own in 1970. That same year, Ike & Tina Turner released a cover of the song that became a hit as well, peaking nine spots above the original Family Stone recording on the US pop charts (at #34), and one position below the original on the R&B singles chart.


Sly & the Family Stone performed a medley of "Dance to the Music" and "I Want to Take You Higher" on Soul Train on June 29, 1974.[2]

The song was featured prominently in the classic Canadian children's show Hilarious House of Frightenstein. It was the theme song for the Wolfman character.

From May 10, 1997 through February 28, 1998, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum presented their first temporary exhibit entitled I Want to Take You Higher: The Psychedelic Era 1965-1969,[3] timed to correspond with the 30th anniversary of the Summer of Love. It opened with a day-long outdoor festival MC'd by Chet Helms that drew thousands to the Museum’s plaza, featuring Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe McDonald, and Donovan, with guests Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters (complete with the Further Bus). It accompanied the publishing of a book of the same name in 1997 (Chronicle Books) documenting the exhibit and the period. The last day featured an appearance by sixties icons Wavy Gravy and Paul Krassner, provided by the Cleveland-based group ACE.

In March 2005, Q magazine placed "I Want to Take You Higher" at number 84 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.

In 2008, Backbeat Books published the bibliography I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly & the Family Stone, by Jeff Kaliss, featuring a foreword by and the first interview in twenty-one years with Sly Stone.[4]

Cover versions[edit]

  • Ike & Tina Turner recorded a cover of "I Want to Take You Higher" and released it as a single in 1970. It was a top 40 pop hit, peaking at No. 25.
  • The Jackson 5 cover the song in their 1971 T.V. soundtrack Goin' Back to Indiana.
  • Randy Hansen covered the song on his eponymous LP released in 1980.
  • Australian rock band Noiseworks recorded the song as 'Take You Higher' with Michael Hutchence of INXS in 1991, for the third Noiseworks album Love Versus Money, Their version was released a single in Australia.
  • Marcella Detroit covered the song as a b-side to her 1994 single "I Believe", and later included it on her album Jewel. It was also released as a promotional 7" single from that album.
  • Duran Duran recorded two versions for their 1995 covers album Thank You.
  • Sonia Dada recorded 'I Want To Take You Higher' for their 1999 live album, Lay Down and Love it Live. Also released as a single, it did not chart.
  • Tesla recorded a version for Real to Reel (2007).
  • The guitar riff from the original version was sampled for "Woodstock Hood Hop", by Slaughterhouse featuring M.O.P., in 2009.
  • Hanson covered the song on their Roots & Rock 'N' Roll EP in 2015.
  • Toto covered the song on their album Live at Montreux 1991, released in September 2016.
  • A cover of this song can be heard in the end credits sequence of Bob's Burgers bonus episode "Into The Mild" first aired on June 11, 2017.



  1. ^ Henke, James; Charles Perry; Barry Miles (1997). I Want to Take You Higher. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-1700-8.
  2. ^ The Best of Soul Train Live (booklet). Time Life. 2011.
  3. ^ I Want to Take You Higher: The Psychedelic Era 1965-1969, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum website.
  4. ^ Kaliss, Jeff (2008). I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly & the Family Stone. New York: Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-984-9.

External links[edit]