This is the title track of Livin' on a High Note, a collection of songs written specifically for Mavis Staples by a various artists, most of whom are half her age. This song, released as the project's first single, was penned by Memphis singer-songwriter Valerie June.
When Mavis Staples first heard the song, she thought Valerie June was singing "Leaving on a high note." "I said: 'She's got me leaving! I don't want to leave!'" the gospel legend recalled to The New York Times. "And then when I saw the lyrics, it said, 'living on a high note.' Now that's more like it. I can go for that! I want to be living. I don't want to be leaving here. I'm not tired yet! Get out of my way, I'm coming through like a speedball. Like a ball of fire!"