‘Take Me To the River’ by the Talking Heads – Classic Hit or Miss
Believe it or not, this was was written by Grand Rapids own Al Green!
In 1976, Foghat made the first recording of the song by a rock band, on their album Night Shift. Two years later, it was recorded separately by Levon Helm and Bryan Ferry on solo albums, and then by the band Talking Heads on their second album More Songs About Buildings and Food.
Their version, recorded with co-producer Brian Eno in Nassau, Bahamas, was edited and released as a single, and reached # 26 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. As well as hitting the singles charts in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Thomas Ryan wrote of Talking Heads’ version that it “broadsided the status quo by combining the best ingredients of conventional pop music and classic soul music, stirring them together, and then presenting the mix in the guise of punk rock.” Singer David Byrne said that he was drawn to the song because it “combines teenage lust with baptism – not equates, you understand, but throws them in the same stew, at least. A potent blend.”
“Take Me to the River” has also been covered by several other performers including Diane Schuur, Tina Turner, The Blue Ox Babes, Annie Lennox, Toni Childs, Max on the Rox, Dave Matthews Band, Canned Heat, The Dresden Soul Symphony, Grateful Dead, Delbert McClinton, Maná, The Commitments, Gov’t Mule, Guy Sebastian, Phish, The Gizmos, Element Of Crime, Alabama 3 and Eva Cassidy. Bruce Springsteen has used the chorus during live performances of the epic Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out. [SOURCE]
How about today? Still a Hit?