500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Load Previous
Al Green, 'Take Me to the River'

117. Al Green, 'Take Me to the River'

Writers: Green, Mabon Hodges
Producer: Willie Mitchell
Released: Nov. '74, Hi

Al Green and Hi Records house guitarist Mabon "Teenie" Hodges wrote "Take Me to the River" not by a river but by a lake: They holed up in a rented house at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, for three days in 1973 to come up with new material. "I was trying to get more stability in my life," said Green, who has famously struggled at balancing his gospel and sexy, earthier sides. "I wrote, 'Take me to the river/Wash me down/Cleanse my soul.'" When it became the first Top 40 hit for Talking Heads in late 1978, "River" gained a whole new audience.

Appears on: Al Green Explores Your Mind (The Right Stuff) 


The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: Al Green

The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time: Al Green

Back to Top