10 Best The Staple Singers Songs of All Time
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The Staple Singers were a family gospel group that emerged from Chicago in the 1950s. The group consisted of Roebuck “Pops” Staples and his children Cleotha, Pervis, and Mavis. They were known for their soulful and powerful vocal harmonies, combined with Pops Staples’ distinctive guitar playing. The Staple Singers were also notable for their socially conscious lyrics and activism during the Civil Rights Movement. They had a string of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, including “Respect Yourself,” “I’ll Take You There,” and “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me).” Their music blended gospel, soul, and R&B, and they were known for their ability to make meaningful music with mass appeal. The Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, and their music continues to inspire and influence artists today. Their contributions to music and civil rights activism have earned them a place in music history.
1. Respect Yourself
“Respect Yourself” is a soulful anthem by The Staple Singers, released in 1971. With its groovy bassline, funky guitar riffs, and catchy lyrics, the song became an instant hit and a classic of the soul and R&B genre. The song’s message about self-respect, dignity, and standing up against prejudice and discrimination made it a staple of the Civil Rights Movement. Mavis Staples’ powerful vocals, backed by the harmonies of her family members, make this song an uplifting and inspiring call to action. The Staple Singers’ “Respect Yourself” remains a timeless and relevant message of empowerment and self-love.
2. City in the Sky
“City in the Sky” is a gospel-soul track from The Staple Singers, released in 1971. The song showcases the group’s signature style, which blends traditional gospel with elements of R&B, soul, and funk. The song’s powerful lyrics explore the idea of heaven as a “city in the sky,” a place of hope and peace where one day we will all be reunited with our loved ones. The Staple Singers’ smooth harmonies, lead vocals, and groovy instrumentation make this track a classic example of their unique sound, and it has become a beloved song of the civil rights movement.
3. I’ll Take You There
“I’ll Take You There” is a classic soul song by The Staple Singers that was released in 1972. The song is known for its catchy melody, upbeat rhythm, and positive message. It features Mavis Staples’ powerful vocals and a driving groove from the band’s backing musicians. The lyrics encourage listeners to transcend their troubles and find hope and joy in life, with the chorus declaring, “I’ll take you there, I’ll take you there, I’ll take you there, ain’t nothin’ wrong with love.” The song became a huge hit, reaching number one on the Billboard R&B chart and number three on the pop chart, and has since become a beloved staple of the soul and gospel music canon.
4. Let’s Do It Again
“Let’s Do It Again” by The Staple Singers is a soulful and upbeat track that blends gospel, funk and R&B. Released in 1975, the song was featured in the film of the same name and became a hit for the group. The catchy chorus and infectious groove make it impossible not to dance along. The Staple Singers’ soulful harmonies are front and center, with Mavis Staples’ powerful lead vocals driving the song. The message of the song is one of love and unity, encouraging listeners to come together and do things over again in a positive way.
5. If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)
“If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)” is a soulful gospel and R&B track from The Staple Singers. Released in 1973, it features the dynamic vocals of Mavis Staples and uplifting harmonies from the group. The song is an invitation to join in a journey towards a better future, with lyrics that encourage listeners to come together and work towards positive change. The powerful instrumentation and infectious groove make it a perfect dance track, while the message of unity and hope still resonates with listeners today. The song became a hit for The Staple Singers and remains a beloved classic.
6. Slippery People
“Slippery People” is a funk/soul song recorded by The Staple Singers in 1984. Written by Talking Heads members David Byrne, Chris Frantz, and Jerry Harrison, the song features the band’s signature funky bassline and gospel-influenced vocals from The Staple Singers. The lyrics use religious imagery to suggest that people should strive for salvation and not be tempted by “slippery people” who may try to lead them astray. The song was a commercial success, reaching the top 5 on the US R&B chart and earning a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It has since become a staple of The Staple Singers’ discography and a classic of the funk/soul genre.
7. Touch A Hand, Make A Friend
“Touch A Hand, Make A Friend” is a soulful track from the Staple Singers that emphasizes the importance of reaching out to others and forming connections. Released in 1974, the song features Mavis Staples’ powerful vocals over a groovy instrumental that incorporates elements of funk and gospel. The uplifting lyrics encourage listeners to make a positive impact in the world by being kind and supportive to those around them. With its infectious beat and inspiring message, “Touch A Hand, Make A Friend” remains a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences today.
8. Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)
“Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)” by The Staple Singers is an upbeat soulful track that urges people to find joy in life despite its hardships. The song starts with a catchy guitar riff followed by the smooth and soulful vocals of Mavis Staples. With the powerful and joyous backing vocals of The Staples, the song celebrates the power of love and how it can make people feel weightless and carefree. The song’s message is about finding happiness in the small things in life and how love can bring people together. It’s a perfect blend of soul and gospel, and a true classic of the era.
9. Oh La De Da
“Oh La De Da” is a song by The Staple Singers that was released in 1973. The song was written by Al Bell, Booker T. Jones, and Eddie Floyd, and produced by Steve Cropper. It features a funky rhythm guitar, a punchy horn section, and Mavis Staples’ powerful vocals. The lyrics urge listeners to let go of their worries and dance, with a catchy chorus that repeats the title phrase. “Oh La De Da” was a hit for The Staple Singers, reaching number 33 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 12 on the R&B chart. It remains a beloved staple of their catalog and a classic example of their soulful sound.
10. This World
“This World” by The Staple Singers is a powerful and soulful gospel song that speaks to the struggles and injustices of the world. With Mavis Staples’ incredible vocals and the group’s tight harmonies, the song delivers a message of hope and perseverance in the face of adversity. The lyrics encourage listeners to keep pushing forward and to work towards creating a better world for future generations. The driving rhythm and uplifting melody make it impossible not to feel uplifted and inspired by the end of the song. “This World” is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with listeners today.
Edward Tomlin is a frequent contributor to Singers Room. Since 2005, Singersroom has been the voice of R&B around the world. Connect with us via social media below.