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Knock On Wood


Eddie Floyd

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was Eddie Floyd's biggest hit. It was written with Stax records guitarist Steve Cropper in the Lorraine Motel, which is where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. According to Floyd, the line "It's like thunder, lightning, the way you love me is frightening" was inspired by a thunderstorm that was occurring the afternoon the song was written. (thanks, hal - atlanta, GA)
Stax recording artists Otis Redding and Carla Thomas recorded this as "Otis & Carla." Their version went to #30 in 1967.
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)
Ringo Starr said at the 2011 Mojo Awards this is his favorite song ever.
This song confused British listeners a bit, as the phrase "knock on wood" in not in their vernacular. The saying 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 England, the expression is "touch wood."
Eddie Floyd
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Comments (3):

Amii Stewart ruled and schooled this song! No one compares to her version!
- Ryan, Farmer City, IL
Personally, I think Amii Stewart's version is better, but Eddie Floyd is great.
- Farrah, Elon, NC
The song also charted in 1967 with a remake by Otis & Carla, reaching # 30 on the American Top 40 charts.

In 1974 it was recorded live in concert by David Bowie. The single did not chart in the US, but reached #10 in the UK.

The song was remade yet again in 1979 by 23 year old Washington DC native Amii Stewart, who rode the disco version of the tune all the way to #1.

If memory serves it was also used in the 1989 film Road House with Patrick Swayze and the Jeff Healey Band.
- Steve, Gaithersburg, MD
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