Eddie Floyd – Knock On Wood

This song never gets old. It has been recorded by many artists including David Bowie to a disco version by Amii Stewart. The song was written by Steve Cropper and Eddie Floyd. This song peaked at #28 in the Billboard 100 and #19 in the UK. It was released on Stax Records.

Stax Records boss Jim Stewart wasn’t a fan of this song, as he thought it was too similar to “In The Midnight Hour.” He didn’t release it until about six months after it was recorded. When he did, Cropper and Floyd did much of the promotion themselves, visiting radio stations to try to get airplay for the song.

Steve Cropper on the song: “We were trying to write a song about superstitions, and after we’d exhausted about every superstition known to man at that time, from cats to umbrellas, you name it, we said, what do people do for good luck? And Ed tapped on the chair and said, ‘knock on wood, there it is.’ So basically the whole theme of the song changed, and we started to sing about, I’d better knock on wood for good luck, that I can keep this girl that I got, because she’s the greatest – and that’s what it was about.”

 

From Songfacts

This was Eddie Floyd’s biggest hit. He wrote the song with Stax Records guitarist Steve Cropper in the Lorraine Motel, which is where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Working late at night, they came up with the famous line, “It’s like thunder, lightning, the way you love me is frightening” when Floyd told Cropper a story about how he and his brother would ride out the storms in Alabama.

“In Alabama, man, there’s like thunder and lightning,” he told Cropper. “We’d hide under the bed because we’d be frightened of the thunder and lightning.”

Cropper liked this phrase and came up with the famous line.

The saying “Knock On Wood” is used to express gratitude for good fortune while humbly acknowledging that it might not continue: “My back has been feeling better ever since I gave up spearfishing… knock on wood.” This is often accompanied by the speaker actually tapping on any nearby (and preferably wooden) surface.

In the song, Eddie Floyd is knocking on wood because he’s so lucky to have found the girl of his dreams.

This song has one of the most effective pauses in music history: After Floyd sings, “I better knock,” there’s some space before drummer Al Jackson comes in with his drumbeats and Floyd completes the line with “on wood.”

This section wasn’t planned – Jackson came up with the idea of putting the pause in and simulating the sound of knocking on a door to break up the line. This little flourish made the song very memorable.

A disco version by Amii Stewart was a #1 hit in 1979. It was the only hit for Stewart, who was also a dancer and actress – she starred in the Broadway musical Bubbling Brown Sugar. The innovative arrangement of her version inspired Jay Graydon’s production of The Manhattan Transfer’s “The Boy From New York City.”

Says Graydon: “There was a re-release of ‘Knock On Wood’ that was fantastic. And some guy played a triplet guitar part in it. I decided to borrow the idea because professionals borrow where amateurs steal. (laughs) So I was borrowing the concept… with different notes that I played, of course, And that was the secondary hook of the song.” (read more in our interview with Jay Graydon)

The intro, with horns and guitar, is similar to another hit for Stax Records: “In The Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett. The guitar lines in both songs are deceptively simple. Steve Cropper explained on his website: “It’s a little school-of-guitar thought that I called ‘follow the dots.’ Basically, you look down on the front markers of the guitar and just kind of follow them out and you can come up with the intro of either ‘In The Midnight Hour’ or the intro of ‘Knock On Wood’ depending on where you start. It was kind of funny that sometime after ‘In The Midnight Hour’ had been a hit, I was laughing that we had always put a lot of pride in our intros at Stax, and you could tell it meant a lot because the hits were pretty identifiable – the old game of name that song in one note, and usually you’d get it right off of the intro before the lyrics start. This is one of those cases. We just thought it was funny and I hit it. Eddie said, ‘man, that’s it!’ That’s how the intro to ‘Knock on Wood’ came about.”

After Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper wrote this song at the Lorraine Motel, they called trumpet player Wayne Jackson, who was doing a gig 10 minutes away in West Memphis, and asked him to come by to work on the horn lines before their session the next morning. He came by around 2 a.m., and an hour later they had the horn lines written and ready to go. At the session, they didn’t have to spend time working up the song because it was already prepared.

This song confused British listeners a bit, as the phrase “knock on wood” in not in their vernacular. In England, the expression is “touch wood.”

According to Eddie Floyd, it was Isaac Hayes, a regular at Stax Records, who came up with the bridge, which ended up being played on a saxophone.

The soul singer Tyrone Davis released a slower version of this song in 1969 on his album Can I Change My Mind.

Otis Redding recorded the song as a duet with Carla Thomas (credited to “Otis & Carla”). Their version went to #30 in 1967.

The Stax house band – Booker T. & the MG’s – provided backing on this track. Isaac Hayes played the piano.

Knock on Wood

I don’t want to lose you, this good thing
That I got ’cause if I do
I will surely,
Surely lose a lot.
Cause your love is better
Than any love I know.
It’s like thunder and lightning,
The way you love me is frightening.
You better knock, knock on wood, baby.

I’m not superstitious about ya
But I can’t take no chance.
I got me spinnin’, baby,
You know I’m in a trance.
‘Cause your love is better
Than any love I know.
It’s like thunder and lightning,
The way you love me is frightening.
You better knock, knock on wood, baby.

It’s no secret,
That woman is my loving cup
‘Cause she sees to it
That I get enough.
Just one touch from here,
You know it means so much.
It’s like thunder and lightning,
The way you love me is frightening.
You better knock, knock on wood, baby.

You better knock, knock, knock on wood

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

42 thoughts on “Eddie Floyd – Knock On Wood”

  1. Good tune , although I think I might actually prefer the Stewart version…the one I grew up with. The record cover you illustrated there was in a book of memorable record covers I was given last year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that Stax sound…that is what won me. I grew up with the Stewart version also….I like that version also…heck it’s hard to do that song bad.

      Oh cool…that sounds like a cool book. What is the name of it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “1000 Record Covers” by Ochs… one of those little coffee table books , part of a set that is prominently displayed at Barnes and Noble around here at least. Kind of neat, goes through the decades and puts albums with similar themes or graphic artists together for comparison

        Liked by 1 person

      2. as a Postscript, now that I flip through that particular book, I don’t see it, although the book is quite cool nonetheless. Maybe either I’m missing it (there’s no index, alas) or else it was in another book I was looking through on the shelves there. Know I saw that cover in some book recently!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ll have to look for that…thanks…sounds like something I would really like…thanks Dave…I like hearing about any kind of book about rock in general.

        Like

      1. I’ve been told that a time or two.
        I tell my son it’s alright not to go with the crowd…do your own thing IF that is what you wanna do.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for bringing that up…I was going to ask you about her. Around the same time, she vanished you stopped showing up…but she vanished lock stock and barrel. After you came back I went ahead and tried to email her but the email was returned. The address is gone. She didn’t give any indication she was leaving. If you hear something tell me, please.

      With me…change the subject all you want…I do it all the time…

      Like

      1. Just before my fever went up & I started to drool on myself, I noticed that she had liked one of my comments & I was headed back to the post to read others. I couldn’t bring the post up. The WP app gives you that “you are not authorized to view this post” nonsense. So, I saw a more recent post & tried to go to that. Same notice.

        Then, flu-monster pounced on me & lived in the Twilight Zone for a while. Once I regained my faculties, I dug a bit.

        retroroxi.wordpress.com returns the message that the site has been removed by the owner. retroroxi.com returned “DNS forsale”…at first. Last time I checked, the server just times out. I never got the chance to find her email. And, I don’t think Roxi is her real name…and, I don’t remember why I think that. 🤔

        I hope she is OK.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know…I thought both you were gone for a while. Her site was hosted by GoDaddy and yep it was taken down. I do hope she is alright…She took the the time to kill her gmail account completely. Unless it was a false address.
        I’m pretty new at blogging and this part sucks…people you get to know and they vanish…and you don’t know what happened.

        I’m glad you are better and back…who else can I bitch about IT with?

        Like

      3. Well, in her case, at least she wasn’t a victim of WP closing her site down. And, if she was hosted by GoDaddy, then she must have been working with the WP.org software…unless GoDaddy was just for a URL re-direct.

        I need to go to the web archive to see if anything is there.

        Was her email address on her site or did she have a contact page?

        In the blogosphere, even when folks stop blogging, usually, they leave their blogs up. But, some folks take their stuff down…for whatever reason. “Roxi” just stopped dead in her tracks.

        It’s possible that something went wrong with her account with GoDaddy & they just took her offline for non-payment or something. If she migrated from .com to .org, she was on her own as far as hosting.

        I killed both of my other blogs because I changed as a person…and, I didn’t have time to blog.

        Heh. We geeks have to stick together. 😉😎🤓

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I found her address by going to comments on the admin dashboard… I saw yours also but hesitated. I felt maybe I was crossing a line… yes I think too much at times.

        It could have been a fake address though.

        Yes we do because we are only noticed when things are wanted or going down.

        Retroroxie@gmail.com

        Like

      5. Oh, yeah. Ok. Right. When you comment, your email address shows up with your IP in Admin.

        I wouldn’t have minded an email. And, I appreciate the thought behind it. Britchy @ bitchininthekitchen.org contacted me, checking in. Wonderful little ‘sphere we are all in. 😊

        I’m guilty of overthinking, too. 😳

        I went to the web archive. Curiously, retroroxi.com was only crawled…once, in 2011! And, that returned a server error. retroroxi.wordpress.com was never crawled. No history like that? That is WEIRD. Maybe she hadn’t been blogging for very long? Did you ever see how far back her history was?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes it is a nice little world of it’s own. I don’t do facebook or anything else but this…

        I don’t think she had been blogging for a long time. I noticed her because she had blogged about the same things I did…mood rings…etc… She started a while after I did so I would say around 6 months.

        She was nice…like you said I hope she is alright.

        I knew there was some etiquette in blogging and commenting…Hell I just let it fly being honest…some people kinda shy away from that while commenting…but other things I’m more careful about.

        Like

      7. Yeah. FB. I have been more off than on since late 2008. Classmates & family talked me into joining. I still have a placeholder but, I am done. I had a Twitter account for several years but, never used it. I didn’t see the point. A lot of folks have jumped to minds.com. Blockchain platform.

        You know, if you post for the world to see, somebody is gonna say something, for, against or off topic. Some bloggers turn their comments off which befuddles many…”Why post if you don’t want to interact with your audience?” Some blogs are just news aggregates.

        And, WP didn’t always have ‘like’ buttons. You read, you shared and/or commented. That was it. There was none of this FB-like feel-good endorphin feedback loop crap. Still irritates me. You knew you had readers by blog hits.

        I miss the old days.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. The hardest part is getting started on WP…I knew nothing about it. I didn’t know you had to mingle to get known.

        I’ve enjoyed it so far. It’s somewhat addicting at times. Yea hits are what matters…so I know someone is at least reading…good or bad.

        I use likes as placeholders…I may not comment then but I go back to it…or if I don’t have the time that certain day.

        I would have liked the old system…I didn’t know that.

        Like

      9. Speaking of digging around looking for Roxi, I went back and looked at my ‘two’ previous blogs. Um, oops? As it turns out, it was ONE previous blog that I changed the name on three times. Sheesh. I started blogging in August of 2008, deleted the site in May of 2013 and started this one in June 2013. Reading back over the archived pages, I went from angry, political animal to a toned down yogi to a health nut. After three different site names, my identity crisis got the better of it. So, I started over. Here I am… I’m still using WP’s old Admin panel. I detest their new “block” crap.

        Blogging can be addicting if you have direction and something to say. If you have the split personality I had for five years or writer’s burnout, you won’t make any headway. I’ve been much kinder with myself and tried to share my philosophy with others…”Blogs evolve. It’s no shame or crime. Shift gears if you need to.”

        The sad thing is, I’ve seen four WP sites get taken down because of Sandy Hook. Question the narrative and you are gone. There may be more but, three of those four, I followed quite a bit. Two guys went to self hosting and stayed online. The other two…they were old. They had been around since before I started blogging. Ever heard of ‘Dregs of the Future’ or ‘DeusNexus’? Dregs had some political stuff but, DeusNexus was pretty much New Age & beyond. WP wiped ’em all out. DeusNexus was a product of davidnova.com

        asweetdoseofreality.com
        jaysanalysis.com
        Those two kept on ‘gettin’ it’.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. I started out posting once every month or so…then I got to one post a day…then I found that everyone responded to songs so I started two a day…now three. I’m pulling back some now for a bit. Not stopping but not so many.

        I have met a lot of cool people on here. I’ve said before…my biggest trouble is off topic commenting. I swear my mind will read a word and it will remind me of something else and off I go. I’ve tried to reign it in but that is just how my mind works. I’ve learned a lot about myself doing this.

        I want to post about more varied subjects…I did one on the Algonquin Round Table a week or so ago and I loved it. Not many hits but that is ok…

        I have heard of the Dregs before… I’ll check those out. That is interesting…it’s a world to itself. I remember I was on newsgroups for a long time back in the day.

        Oh I hate the block panel…it aggravated me to no end.

        Like

      11. I do good to get one post. If I have time, I’ll do more, if I have something to say.

        There are some neat people here. And, it appears that our minds work very similarly. I term those rabbit-hole thoughts as “pulling on tapestry threads”. You wander around, reading & commenting and, invariably, someone will type something and a memory gets fired up.

        Algonquin Round Table! Ha! Dorothy Parker was a damn scream. She was not a Milne fan. Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s brother, Peter Benchley’s grandfather, Harpo Marx and Edna Ferber (Giant) were members. Good topic.

        I hope WP doesn’t force me to use that mess. *sigh*

        Like

      12. This was in “Pending”
        Mine are simple…the thing is I found that people like simple more than in-depth with my stuff…the more info I add the fewer hits I get. The Algonquin post got hardly any hits. I’m doing one on another member soon. Neysa Mcmein. Harpo Speaks is where I learned a lot about the Round Table. He said he didn’t talk much…he was a professional listener which is great because with those egos they needed one.

        “Pulling on tapestry threads” is a very good way of putting it. I know some people will stop the conversation when that happens…I do think it stems with an IT mindset. You have to think out of the box on different problems…or that maybe the way I am and the reason I’m good at what I do.

        Well at least WP doesn’t have that annoying box coming up anymore asking you to use it… Oh I did a good search on “retro roxi” and I do believe she had a youtube account because it had topics up her alley…of course, anyone with retro may have the same thing…it was closed also.

        Like

      13. I know you moderate your comments. The Reader on the PC reflects that. I do the same.

        These days, everyone lives on soundbites & 140/280 character snippets. In depth analysis, really reading material & common sense are rare things these days.

        I’ve never heard of Neysa.

        Yeah. Even Parker criticized her own group after its dissolution.

        IT geekery is for the analytical. Troubleshooting is no different than thread pulling. We would also make good detectives & forensic types (may I have that hair on your shoulder). Heh.

        Hm. Roxi’s exit was bizarrely abrupt. Hope she is alright.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. No I don’t moderate them…I turned that off after I started…I never approve comments… The reason I check the dashboard is because of good comments in spam….so far I haven’t had to delete anyone’s comment. That is why it shouldn’t have been in pending. When people posts it should come right to me.

        I will recheck my settings but everything should go through.

        Oh last night I’m glad my comment made sense…I never do this but yesterday was stressful…sit down to watch a movie at 7…woke up at 9:30 and checked WP lol.

        Like

      15. Hm. I thought I saw “your comment is awaiting moderation” more than once but…hell. I was up till 3am so, I could have been hallucinating. 😳

        All your comments make sense. 😉

        And, stress will wear you OUT.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. Tell me if you see that again. I’ve been finding more in Pending…but most don’t go there. I would think if it was turned on…then it would be turned on for all.

        I’ve ordered a book for meditation. Something that jeremyjames recommended… I’m going to try…what have I got to lose.

        “All your comments make sense” whew that is going on a limb…
        See with you if I go off subject you can just say MAX focus… you won’t ignore because you get it.

        Like

  2. Stax!!!! I love the natural balance…with the vocal slightly buried….these upfront modern hyper vocals sound very unnatural. The singer here is fighting to be heard…fair enough too, drums, amps and horns are loud!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The building itself of Stax was an old cinema. From what I read it had a natural sound… and slant…
        You are right…there must be a book somewhere…

        Like

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