Knock on Wood was perhaps the most famous song in the world in the 1970s. Drawn to the ultimate success by Amii Steward’s amazing performance in 1978, maybe not everyone knows that the song was written almost a decade earlier, in 1966, by Eddy Floyd and Steve Copper, who recorded it as a single.

Many artists took part in this track that contains all the strength of blues and jazz. It is no coincidence that two excellences such as David Bowie and Eric Clapton included it in their repertoires.

But it is Amii Steward herself, in a recent interview, saying that she will always be grateful for this song, which led her to success. She tells that when she first heard Knock on Wood for the first time it was a very hot day, and in the studio where she used to record there was no air conditioning. When the producer made her hear the song, she asked him if he had drunk. It was something she had never heard before. A crazy song and unique in its kind.

About the song

The lyrics are very powerful and repetitive. And even if, theoretically, it’s about a love in crisis and aversions so that it doesn’t end, the often ironic and amusing words are able to avoid melancholy. The words bringing the song into a gritty and lively mood. Surely Amii’s powerful voice was well married with the Jazz tonalities intended by Floyd and Copper at the moment of writing the song. The singer says that she will never get tired of singing Knock on Wood, not only because it is the song that really made her take off in the world of music, but also because of the positive and gritty energy that it gives her.

1966, Memphis

Although signed by Floyd and Copper, actually recording of Knock on Wood, in a Memphis studio in 1966, enjoyed the contribution of many artists. Floyd took charge of the lyrics and the melodic line, Copper of the chords and riffs. But the whole thing was mixed with contributions from Isaac Hayes who wrote the sprightly horn line for the bridge. Jackson contributed the “knock-knock-knock-knock” drum hook (Floyd later said Jackson was inspired by “Open the Door Richard”). While initially rejected by Stax owner Jim Stewart, who thought it was too much of an “In the Midnight Hour” knock-off (which, admittedly, it was). Knock on Wood topped the US soul charts upon its eventual release, and was a UK hit as well.