Song of the Day #4,132: ‘Take Me to the River’ – Talking Heads

This cover of Al Green’s ‘Take Me to the River’ was the top single from Talking Heads’ 1978 sophomore album More Songs About Buildings and Food (I love that title!).

The song hit #26 on the singles chart, making it their third best performer ever, behind ‘Burning Down the House’ and ‘Wild Wild Life.’ The band also released a terrific live version of ‘Take Me to the River’ on their 1984 concert album/movie Stop Making Sense.

‘Take Me to the River’ is a popular cover song, having been recorded or played live by everybody from Foghat to Annie Lennox, Hootie and the Blowfish to Bruce Springsteen.

David Byrne wrote this about the song in the liner notes of one of the Heads’ greatest hits collections:

“Coincidence or conspiracy? There were at least four cover versions of this song out at the same time: Foghat, Bryan Ferry, Levon Helm, and us. More money for Mr Green’s full gospel tabernacle church, I suppose. A song that combines teenage lust with baptism. Not equates, you understand, but throws them in the same stew, at least. A potent blend. All praise the mighty spurtin’ Jesus.”

[Verse 1]
I don’t know why I love her like I do
All the changes you put me through
Take my money, my cigarettes
I haven’t seen the worst of it yet

[Pre-Chorus]
I wanna know, can you tell me
Am I in love to stay?

[Chorus]
Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Take me to the river, dip me in the water
Washing me down, washing me down

[Verse 2]
I don’t know why you treat me so bad
Think of all the things that we could have had
Love is a notion that I can’t forget
My sweet sixteen I would never regret

[Pre-Chorus]
I wanna know, can you tell me?
Am I in love to stay?

[Chorus]
Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Push me in the river, dip me in the water
Washing me down, washing me

[Bridge]
Hug me, squeeze me, love me, tease me
Till I can’t, till I can’t, I can’t take no more

[Chorus]
Dip me in the water, drop me in the river
Push me in the water, drop me in the river
Washing me down, washing me down

[Verse 3]
I don’t know why I love her like I do
All the trouble you put me through
Sixteen candles there on my wall
And here am I, the biggest fool of them all

[Pre-Chorus]
I wanna know, can you tell me?
Am I in love to stay?

[Chorus]
Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Dip me in the river, drop me in the water
Washing me down, washing me down
Ooh, a-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya

[Outro]
Ooh, a na na na
A na na na na, ah!
A na na na, hoo!
A na na na, ooh!
A na na na na, hoo!
Ha! Na na na na, ah!
Na na na na na
Na na na na

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,132: ‘Take Me to the River’ – Talking Heads

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    The Talking Heads version is the best of the covers imo- particularly the live one from Stop Making Sense.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.