I Thank You

Album: I Thank You (1968)
Charted: 34 9

Songfacts®:

  • This exuberant song was written and produced by the Stax Records mainstays Isaac Hayes and David Porter, who were Sam & Dave's main songwriters. The song finds the duo so lovestruck they want to shout it to the heavens - throughout the song they thank the special lady for giving them that feeling and making them understand what their friends mean when they say they've been "turned out" by love.

    The gospel feel is established off the top when Sam Moore delivers a spoken introduction with the passion of a preacher: "I want everybody to get up off your seat and get your arms together and your hands together and give me some of that old soul clapping."
  • This was recorded at Stax Recording Studios in Memphis with the Stax house band: Booker T. & the M.G's. Note the drum pattern: Al Jackson accents every third hit of his snare. This was David Porter's idea, although it wasn't easy for him to explain what he was looking for. Porter asked Jackson to play "the sound of horses," and he delivered the beat.

    Steve Cropper added a dirty guitar sound, and Isaac Hayes played the clavinet (the instrument Stevie Wonder used on "Superstition"). Background vocals were provided by another Stax group, Ollie & the Nightingales.
  • The song was released on January 8, 1968 - the same day Stax released the Otis Redding song "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" (Redding had died about a month earlier). Stax would soon go through various business problems and their sound fell out of favor. "I Thank You" was the last big hit for Sam & Dave - none of their subsequent releases made the US Top 40.
  • ZZ Top covered this song on their 1979 album Deguello. Released as a single, it went to #34 US in March 1980.

    The group decided to do the song when they found themselves recording at Ardent Studios in Memphis. Billy Gibbons had heard the song on his car radio and mentioned it. Turns out, the very same clavinet Isaac Hayes played on the original recording was in the studio, so they decided to give it a go.

    The album was the group's first for Warner Bros. Records, and they were happy with how the label was treating them. They considered this song a "thank you" to their fans and to the label.

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