In an interview with Rock Cellar Magazine, Sayer recalls the song coming out of an impromptu jam session that was fortuitously captured on tape by his quick-thinking producer. "I had a bunch of musicians around me who were very inspiring, principally Jeff Porcaro, who became a great friend, and Ray Parker Jr., a great classic Motown guitarist from Stevie Wonder's band," he said. "We start talking about favorite songs. Jeff and I phoned each other in the morning. I said, 'Have you heard this f--king song on the radio: Shirley & Company, 'Shame, Shame, Shame.' So he stopped by Tower Records on the way to the studio and we put it on the player and we said, 'F--k, man, what a groove!'
And then a break comes and Jeff starts playing the groove of that record and I start singing. And Ray is playing the guitar groove although he's reinvented it and he's playing this pluck thing on his Les Paul. And I'm just jamming along. And [producer] Richard Perry is in the studio. So he rushed to the tape machine, threw the tape on and started recording us. And a few days later, he said, 'That is the hit. That is the most exciting thing I've ever heard. That is a crossover.'"