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The Staple Singers were an American gospel, soul, and R&B group formed in 1948 by Roebuck “Pops” Staples and his children Cleotha, Pervis, and Mavis. The group became one of the most influential gospel and soul groups in music history, known for their distinctive sound that blended gospel harmonies with soul and R&B rhythms. With Pops Staples’ distinctive guitar playing and Mavis’ powerful and soulful voice, the group achieved numerous chart hits and Grammy Awards throughout their career, influencing generations of musicians.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the top 10 best songs by The Staple Singers, showcasing their unique style and showcasing the iconic music they created over the years. From their early gospel recordings to their later secular hits, the group’s music is a testament to their lasting impact on the music industry. Each of the songs on this list has been selected based on their critical acclaim, commercial success, and cultural impact. Whether you are a longtime fan of The Staple Singers or a newcomer to their music, this list is a must-read to understand the incredible legacy they have left behind.
1. I’ll Take You There
“I’ll Take You There” is one of the most popular songs by The Staple Singers, a gospel-soul group from Chicago. Released in 1972, the song features an upbeat and funky groove that invites listeners to join in on a journey towards a better place. With its catchy chorus and driving bass line, “I’ll Take You There” became an instant hit and a staple of radio playlists for years to come. The lyrics of the song encourage listeners to leave their troubles behind and focus on the positive things in life, such as love and togetherness. The Staple Singers’ soulful vocals add a layer of emotional depth to the song, making it an uplifting and empowering anthem that still resonates with audiences today. “I’ll Take You There” has been covered by many artists over the years and has been featured in various movies, TV shows, and commercials, solidifying its place as one of the most recognizable and beloved songs of all time.
2. Let’s Do It Again
“Let’s Do It Again” is a classic hit song by The Staple Singers that was released in 1975. The song was written and produced by Curtis Mayfield, a legendary soul musician who had a significant influence on The Staple Singers’ sound. “Let’s Do It Again” is a funky and groovy track that features Mavis Staples’ soulful vocals and catchy instrumentation. The song’s lyrics tell a story of a couple who fell in love and are looking to reignite their passion for each other. The song’s infectious chorus “Let’s do it again, sweet love, let’s do it again” became an instant hit and earned The Staple Singers their second number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song also became a crossover hit, topping both the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts. “Let’s Do It Again” has since become a timeless classic and a staple in the soul and R&B genres.
3. Respect Yourself
“Respect Yourself” is a powerful and soulful track by The Staple Singers, released in 1971. The song’s lyrics convey a message of self-respect, empowerment, and standing up for oneself in the face of discrimination and inequality. The Staple Singers’ signature blend of gospel, R&B, and funk is on full display in this track, with its upbeat rhythm, groovy bassline, and soulful vocal delivery. The song’s iconic opening line, “If you don’t respect yourself, ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot”, has become a timeless mantra for self-love and self-empowerment. “Respect Yourself” was a huge commercial success for The Staple Singers, reaching the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming their biggest hit. The song has since been covered by many artists and featured in various films and TV shows, solidifying its status as a classic soul anthem.
4. City in the Sky
“City in the Sky” is a soulful track by The Staple Singers that was released in 1974. The song starts with a mellow and groovy instrumental that sets the tone for the rest of the track. The Staple Singers’ powerful vocals and harmonies blend seamlessly with the music, creating an uplifting and soulful experience. The lyrics of the song speak of a peaceful and harmonious place above the clouds, where one can escape from the troubles of the world. The chorus, “Up above my head, there’s music in the air, I hear a song that makes me know there’s a heaven somewhere,” is catchy and memorable, and will have you singing along in no time. “City in the Sky” is a timeless classic that showcases The Staple Singers’ unique and soulful sound, which has influenced countless artists over the years.
5. Slippery People
“Slippery People” by The Staple Singers is a lively and soulful gospel-infused track. The song has an infectious beat that will have you tapping your feet and nodding your head to the rhythm. The Staple Singers’ powerful vocals shine through, with Mavis Staples’ voice taking center stage. The lyrics are uplifting and full of energy, with a message of perseverance and overcoming obstacles. The chorus of the song is particularly catchy, with the repetition of the phrase “slippery people” adding to the infectious nature of the song. The instrumentation of the track is also noteworthy, with a grooving bassline and funky guitar riffs that add to the overall feel of the song. The Staple Singers’ “Slippery People” is a timeless classic that showcases the group’s incredible talent and ability to make music that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.
6. If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)
“If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)” is a classic soul and gospel song by The Staple Singers. The track is built around a driving rhythm and a catchy chorus that invites the listener to join in the journey. The song encourages listeners to leave their worries behind and embrace life’s possibilities, with its lyrics that speak of love and unity. The powerful harmonies and call-and-response vocals that are characteristic of The Staple Singers are on full display in this track. The song’s message of hope and togetherness has made it a timeless classic that has endured for decades.
7. Touch A Hand, Make A Friend
“Touch A Hand, Make A Friend” is a powerful soulful track by The Staple Singers, that encourages listeners to reach out and connect with others. The song was released in 1974, during a time of social and political unrest in the United States. The lyrics talk about the importance of human connection and the need for people to come together to help each other through tough times. The lead vocals by Mavis Staples are soulful and passionate, while the backing vocals by the rest of the group add a gospel-like energy to the track.
The instrumentation is also noteworthy, with a groovy bassline, funky guitar riffs, and a driving drum beat that keeps the track moving. The song’s chorus is catchy and memorable, with the group singing “Touch a hand, make a friend, right now, make a friend.” This song has been covered by various artists over the years and continues to be a powerful message of unity and love.
8. Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)
“Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)” is a soulful and upbeat track from The Staple Singers that was released in 1971. The song features an infectious melody with a groovy bassline and horns that complement Mavis Staples’ powerful vocals. The lyrics speak of finding happiness and joy in the midst of difficult times, encouraging listeners to find strength in the power of music and dancing. The chorus, which repeats the phrase “Sha-Na-Boom Boom,” adds to the song’s catchy and memorable nature. “Heavy Makes You Happy” became one of the group’s biggest hits and is a beloved classic of the soul and R&B genres. The song’s message of finding happiness in life’s simple pleasures still resonates with listeners today.
9. Oh La De Da
“Oh La De Da” is a soulful and upbeat track by The Staple Singers, released in 1973. The song features Mavis Staples’ powerful vocals and uplifting lyrics that encourage listeners to let go of their worries and enjoy life. The upbeat rhythm and horn section create a lively and energetic atmosphere, inviting listeners to dance along.
The song’s lyrics encourage listeners to put their worries aside and enjoy the present moment. With lines like “forget about the past, let’s think about the future, and get on with our lives,” The Staple Singers deliver a message of hope and positivity. The song’s catchy chorus of “oh la de da” reinforces this carefree attitude and makes it a joyous anthem that stands the test of time.
“Oh La De Da” was a hit for The Staple Singers and remains a popular song in the soul and R&B genres. Its upbeat tempo and inspiring lyrics make it an uplifting and empowering song that still resonates with listeners today.
10. This World
“This World” is a soulful gospel song by The Staple Singers that delivers a message of hope and perseverance. With its upbeat rhythm and strong vocal harmonies, the song encourages listeners to keep moving forward in the face of adversity and to find strength in their faith. The Staple Singers’ signature blend of gospel, soul, and R&B is evident in the song’s instrumentation, which features lively horns, driving drums, and a catchy bass line. Lead vocalist Mavis Staples delivers a powerful performance, infusing the lyrics with passion and conviction. The song’s message is particularly relevant in today’s world, where many face challenges and uncertainty. “This World” reminds us that, even in difficult times, we can find hope and strength through our faith and the support of those around us. Overall, “This World” is an uplifting and inspiring song that showcases The Staple Singers’ unique musical style and their ability to deliver messages of hope and positivity through their music.