After attending the funeral of his little brother -- the second of two Bell brothers that were murdered -- Stax vice-president Al Bell walked to a bus in his father's back yard and thought about heavenly ascent. "I sat on the hood of that bus, thinking about my brother's death, and all of a sudden, I started hearing in my head the bass lines of 'I'll Take You There,' and I started hearing the music, and all of the words came next." He gave the song to the Staple Singers, a former gospel act that went mainstream to reach a wider audience.
Boy George has said this song was about standing by what you believe in. However, at the time, he was involved in a secret affair with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss. "Now people can understand the songs better," he said. "They were written about my relationship with Jon, and they were also written about being a gay man in a homophobic world." The lines "If I listen to your lies, would you say/I'm a man without conviction/I'm a man who doesn't know how to sell a contradiction," described his life at the time, he said. "I was selling this big lie."