The Staple Singers, "I'll Take You There" (1972)
"I'll Take You There"'s one verse, two chords and nearly five minutes of gospel-soul magnificence made communally uplifting black church music safe for white listeners. Its Muscle Shoals arrangement, meanwhile, tapped deeply, if perhaps a little too nonchalantly, into early Jamaican reggae. The lyrics were written by Stax co-owner Al Bell but its rhythmic structure was imported wholesale from the Harry J Allstars' 1969 reggae hit "The Liquidator," with future Wailers Carlton (drums) and Aston "Family Man" Barrett (bass) supplying the riddim that rocksteady singer Alton Ellis claimed was itself lifted from his "Girl I've Got a Date." Mavis Staples' glorious contralto, a virtuosic instrument of shouting and cajoling, released the song from its complicated origins. "People thought 'I'll Take You There' was the Devil's music," she later said, "because people were dancing to it."