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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."
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash
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JJ Burnel of The Stranglers
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Steven Tyler of Aerosmith
Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.
When Judd Apatow needed under-appreciated rockers for his Knocked Up
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