Knock On Wood by Eddie Floyd (1966)
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Published on Jun 6, 2012
Floyd was born in Montgomery, Alabama, but grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He founded The Falcons, which also featured Mack Rice. They were forerunners to future Detroit vocal groups such as The Temptations and The Four Tops. Their most successful songs included "You're So Fine" and later, when Wilson Pickett was recruited into the group as the lead singer, "I Found a Love". Pickett then embarked on a solo career, and The Falcons disbanded.
Floyd signed on with the Memphis based Stax Records as a songwriter in 1965. He wrote a hit song, "Comfort Me" recorded by Carla Thomas. He then teamed with Stax's guitarist Steve Cropper to write songs for Wilson Pickett, now signed to Atlantic Records. Atlantic distributed Stax and Jerry Wexler brought Pickett down from New York to work with Booker T. & the MGs. The Pickett sessions were successful, yielding several pop and R&B hits, including the Floyd co-written "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do)" and "634-5789 (Soulsville USA)".
In 1966, Floyd recorded a song intended for Otis Redding. Wexler convinced Stax president Jim Stewart to release Floyd's version. The Steve Cropper/Eddie Floyd "Knock On Wood" launched Floyd's solo career, and has been cut by over a hundred different artists from David Bowie to Count Basie. It became a disco hit for Amii Stewart in 1979.
Floyd was one of Stax's most consistent and versatile artists. He scored several more hits on his own, including "I Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)" and "Raise Your Hand", which was covered by both Janis Joplin and Bruce Springsteen.
The song "Big Bird" (featuring Booker T. Jones on organ and guitar, Al Jackson, Jr. on drums, and Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass) was written while Floyd waited in a London airport for a plane back to the United States for Otis Redding's funeral. Although not a US hit, it became an underground favorite in the UK, was later covered by The Jam, and was featured on the video game, Test Drive Unlimited.
Floyd's career did not keep him from being one of the label's most productive writers. Virtually every Stax artist recorded Floyd material, often co-written with either Cropper or Jones, including Sam & Dave ("You Don't Know What You Mean to Me"), Rufus Thomas ("The Breakdown"), Otis Redding ("I Love You More Than Words Can Say"), and Johnnie Taylor's "Just the One (I've Been Looking For)". The latter played during the opening credits of director Harold Ramis's film, Bedazzled.
Floyd, in 1980, also released material on the UK record label I-Spy Records owned and created by the UK band Secret Affair. He joined old Stax collaborators Cropper and Dunn, and fronted The Blues Brothers Band on a series of world tours, and in 1998, Floyd and former Falcon Wilson Pickett appeared on screen dueting on "634-5789" in Blues Brothers 2000.
As well as singing with The Blues Brothers Band, Floyd has been the special guest with former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings on several dates in the US and the UK.
In 2008, Floyd returned to Stax Records which is now owned by Concord Music Group. His first new album in six years, Eddie Loves You So released in July 2008.
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