If I Could Only Take One

My desert island tune by Atlanta Rhythm Section

Today I’m launching a new feature titled If I Could Only Take One…The idea is pretty simple: If I had to move to a desert island and could only take one song by artist or band x, which tune would I pick? This weekly series replaces The Hump Day Picker-Upper feature I retired last week.

For now, I’ve decided to identify the artists and bands by going through my streaming music library in alphabetic order, picking one of each, a to z. This would already translate into 26 posts. If I have more endurance, the same process could be repeated with different picks for each letter.

To minimize redundant content, I also envisage focusing on artists and bands I haven’t covered or only covered a few times. This would exclude bands like AC/DC, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and artists, such as Bob Dylan, Carole King or Neil Young, to name a few of the regulars on the blog.

My pick for the inaugural installment is Spooky by Atlanta Rhythm Section. In this case, the decision of which song to pick was fairly simple since I only know a handful of tunes by the Southern rock band that has been around since 1970. Their take of the groovy tune was included on their eighth studio album Underdog from June 1979. I’ve always dug it!

Spooky, one of ALR’s best-known songs, was also released separately as a single in August 1979. In the U.S., it reached no. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also charted in Canada and Australia.

Originally, Spooky was written as an instrumental by saxophonist Mike Shapiro and Harry Middlebrooks Jr. Performed by Shapiro and released under the name Mike Sharpe, the track first appeared in 1967 and climbed to no. 57 on the U.S. pop charts. That was all complete news to me!

The next iteration of Spooky occurred in 1968 when a band called Classics IV recorded it as the title track of their debut album – again something I had not heard before. The group’s guitarist and songwriter James Cobb and producer Buddy Buie added lyrics, for which they earned credits. Mike Shapiro played the saxophone solo. And this is how it sounded – pretty similar to ALR.

Two years later, Classics IV keyboarder Dean Daughtry became a co-founding member of Atlanta Rhythm Section, along with Rodney Justo (vocals), Barry Bailey (guitar), Paul Goddard (bass) and Robert Nix (drums). James Cobb joined in 1972.

Spooky has also been recorded by numerous other artists, including Dusty Springfield, Percy Sledge, Martha Reeves, R.E.M. and David Sanborn.

Here’s a playlist of different renditions of Spooky. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the original instrumental on Spotify.

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube; Spotify

12 thoughts on “If I Could Only Take One”

  1. Wow, one song. No can do. I did a desert island disc one a few years back. I’m thinking of doing another one but I would list probably 10 to 15 albums, not songs. I don’t even know if they’d be the same ones I picked last time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Admittedly, picking just one song is mission impossible, and I hope I will never be in a position where I would have to make such choice.

      In the case of ARS, it wasn’t as tough for me, since I only know six of their tunes or so. I’ve always dug this one. Another ARS song I like is “So Into You,” so basically, my decision came down to pick between these two.


  2. That said, I do like “Spooky” and frankly, I thought the Classics IV was the original. But, can’t say i like it enough to make it my Desert Island Song. Maybe if you put my feet to the fire, ‘Loan Me a Dime,” coz I just heard it in the Muscle Shoals documentary.


  3. Spooky is one of the ultimate 60 songs. It just screams 1960s. I could never decide which is my favorite Classics IV song, Spooky or Stormy. I put one of them in my top 100 60s songs, but now I’m not sure which one, but I think Stormy. Although, about five of their records made my list. They were one of the greatest pop/rock groups ever. And Dennis Yost was a terrific singer. The kind that they only had in the 60s for some reason. I remember the Atlanta Rhythm Section version of Spooky too , but I didn’t know that the guy had anything to do with the Classics IV. I never knew that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And I frankly had no idea of The Classics IV. For some reason, I always assumed “Spooky” was ALR’s song.

      I think part of the fun of music blogging is what you learn about artists and bands in the process. I also realize time and again how little I truly know!


      1. I always knew that it was an older song, but I didn’t know that the guy in Atlanta Rhythm Section was also the keyboard player in Classics IV. But that certainly would explain why he decided to do a remake of it. I still say that Stormy is a slightly better record than Spooky though. You’ll think so too once you hear it. lol

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved the Classics IV and bought their greatest hits album in 1970. “Spooky”, “Stormy” and “Traces” are all great songs. I liked the Atlanta Rhythm Section too, particularly their songs “So Into You”, “Imaginary Lover” and “Do It Or Die”, as well as their cover of “Spooky”.

    Liked by 1 person

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