Nothing Takes The Place Of You

Album: Nothing Takes The Place Of You (1967)
Charted: 52
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the signature song of Toussaint McCall, who was born in 1934 in Monroe, Louisiana. He played organ and sang. The vast majority of his songs were love songs, most likely because of his soulful voice. McCall may be remembered as a "one-hit wonder," but he doesn't sound like one. His voice is uncommonly affecting.

    McCall released several albums and singles from 1967 to 1970, but his biggest hit was the title song off of his debut album, Nothing Takes the Place of You. The song is about longing for a lost love. The music is a bit pedestrian and is pretty much just background filler to showcase McCall's singing.

    The B-side to the single, "Shimmy," is exactly the opposite as the vocal-focused A-side. It's an instrumental that highlights McCall's organ playing along with some heavy percussion. In some ways it's a more distinct song than the A-side, even though it didn't leave much of a mark on history. The song's got a unique feel to it that would be hard to place in time if you just heard it pop on the radio.
  • Ronn Records published the album and the single. The label recorded many acts, most notably Memphis Slim, who had success with songs like "Steppin' Out."
  • McCall appears as himself in the 1988 film Hairspray. He's introduced as Toussaint McCall and performs this song. He's clearly lip-synching, quite badly, in the scene. It's also an anachronism, as the film is set in 1962, but "Nothing Takes the Place of You" was released in 1967. Also, McCall was around 28 in 1962, but he's in his 50s in the film. The whole thing's just in good fun, of course, and it's a nice moment for an artist who made one of 1967's best tunes.
  • In 1976 Asleep At The Wheel had a hit with their cover of this song, taking it to #35 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
  • Isaac Hayes covered the song in 1971 on his fifth studio album, Black Moses; Robert Plant did a version on his 2020 album Digging Deep: Subterranea.

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