Writer: Al Green and Michael Hodges
Producers: Brian Eno and Talking Heads
Recorded: April 1978 at Compass Point Studios in New Providence, the Bahamas
Released: Summer 1978
|Players:||David Byrne — vocals, guitar
Chris Frantz — drums
Jerry Harrison — organ
Tina Weymouth — bass
|Album:||More Songs About Buildings And Food (Sire, 1978))|
After Talking Heads established themselves on the vanguard of New Wave with their debut album, Talking Heads '77, the group's choice of an Al Green song to cover was a surprise.
The band gave the song its own distinctive treatment, with a stiffer, more mechanical arrangement under David Byrne's passionate vocal delivery. They added echoey special effects afterwards.
Byrne said that there were three other covers of “Take Me To The River” out at roughly the same time — by Foghat, Bryan Ferry, and ex-Banddrummer Levon Helm. Byrne said, “More money for Mr. Green's Full Gospel Tabernacle Church, I suppose.”
Byrne described “Take Me To The River” as “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!”
“Take Me To The River” was Talking Heads' first Top 30 hit, peaking at Number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The album More Songs About Buildings And Food hit Number 29 on the Billboard 200 and Number 21 in the U.K.
Talking Heads supported the album with their first world tour, hitting not only North America and Europe but also New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.