You Take Me Up

Album: Into The Gap (1984)
Charted: 2 44

Songfacts®:

  • 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.

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1984 {April 15th} "You Take Me Up" by the Thompson Twins peaked at #2 {for 1 week} on the United Kingdom's Official Top 100 Singles* chart, for the week it was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Hello" by Lionel Richie...
    As noted above, "You Take Me Up" reached #44 on U.S. Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    Between 1982 and 1992 the Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England band had nineteen records on the UK Singles chart, five made the Top 10 with the above "You Take Me Up" being their biggest hit...
    Besides "You Take Me Up", their four other Top 10 records were "Love On Your Side" {#9 in 1983}, "We Are Detective" {#7 in 1983}, "Hold Me Now" {#4 in 1983}, and "Doctor! Doctor!" {#3 in 1984}...
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the UK Singles' Top 10 on April 15th, 1984:
    At #3. "A Love Worth Waiting For" by Shakin' Stevens
    #4. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" by Phil Collins
    #5. "I Want To Break Free" by Queen
    #6. "People Are People" by Depeche Mode
    #7. "Glad It's All Over"/"Damned On 45" by Captain Sensible
    #8. "Ain't Nobody" by Rufus and Chaka Khan
    #9. "Nelson Mandela" by the Special AKA
    #10. "(When You Say You Love Somebody) In The Heart" by Kool and the Gang
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