. . .
And so the two singles that preceded Stand! had the same format: message song on the A-side; party banger on the b-side. Of course, the outcomes were totally different: the message song “Everyday People” became a standard while topping the charts, clearly overshadowing its party banger b-side, “Sing A Simple Song,” whereas the message song “Stand!” got its ass whomped by the party banger “I Want To Take You Higher.”
Which is hardly fair to “Stand!” of course, but even in its truncated 2:56 single version, “I Wanna Take You Higher” is irresistible. And that version is an absolute patch on the fully-crazed version that not only sits on Stand! but also leads off 1970’s fabulous Greatest Hits album.
That album version — famously opening with a duel between Freddie Stone’s squealing guitar and Sly’s massive harmonica riff — is one of the greatest party jams ever recorded. Maybe even the greatest. It’s a total up from start to finish as the opening “hey hey hey hey” and the first verse in which Sly, Freddie, Larry Graham & Rose Stone all explain exactly what their mission with this song is.
Beat is gettin’ stronger
Music gettin’ longer, too
Music is a-flashin’ me
I want to, I want to, I want to take you higher
I wanna take you higher
Baby, baby, baby, light my fire
I wanna take you higher
And anchored by Graham and drummer Greg Errico in complete lockstep — Errico just double-times his snare pretty much through the whole damn thing — and Sly’s organ providing the boogie, everybody gets to scream “higher” and “hey hey hey hey” approximately a million times. And then, of course, there’s this bit of brilliant nonsense:
Pretty much everybody gets solos, too, except for Errico, of course, because that would fuck with the vibe, and as they trade off those solos and vocals, “I Wanna Take You Higher” absolutely fulfills its mission. They eventually put it out as a single in 1970, after it was shown to be one of the highlights of the Woodstock film, but since it had already been a single and an album cut, it peaked out at #38.
I Want to Take You Higher
“I Want to Take You Higher” Live 1973
Did you miss a Certain Song? Follow me on Twitter: @barefootjim
The Certain Songs Database
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.
Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)
Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page