You Take Me Up

Album: Into The Gap (1984)
Charted: 2 44
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is an odd contradiction: With music based on African American spirituals, it tells the story of a factory worker in desperate financial condition, but it also has a fun, quirky feel that belies the message. It's almost like the Seven Dwarfs singing "Heigh Ho" as they go into the mines.

    In our interview with lead singer Tom Bailey, he explained: "On the face of it is very kind of fun-oriented. It's kind of a novelty song. It's almost forgettable in a certain sense, but behind it, the subject matter is really important."

    Tom added that they had a specific social commentary in mind for the tune. "It takes its musical form partly from Negro spiritual songs that slaves would sing in the cotton fields," he said. "We reimagined that as a contemporary reality for people working in factories and sweatshops and places like that. The modern forms of slavery, if you like."
  • Tom Bailey wrote this song with the other members of the Thompson Twins trio, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway. The lyric is intentionally gender-neutral - "I know what it means to work hard on machines" can apply to either a man or a woman working in a factory.

    The video, however, portrayed the labor as outdoor construction work with lots of digging.
  • According to Bailey, the group didn't get a good feel for many of their songs until they performed them in front of an audience. This one really hit home when they realized that they were selling T-shirts and other merchandise at their shows that was likely made by exploited factory workers very much like the one they were singing about.
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

Taylor DayneSongwriter Interviews

Taylor talks about "The Machine" - the hits, the videos and Clive Davis.

Rebecca St. JamesSongwriter Interviews

This Australian Christian music star found herself a California surfer guy, giving new meaning to her song "Wait For Me."

Jeff TrottSongwriter Interviews

Sheryl Crow's longtime songwriting partner/guitarist Jeff Trott reveals the stories behind many of the singer's hits, and what its like to be a producer for Leighton Meester and Max Gomez.

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"They're Playing My Song

With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Modern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real GroupSong Writing

The leader of the Modern A Cappella movement talks about the genre.

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman JackSong Writing

The story of the legendary lupine DJ through the songs he inspired.