Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Alabama, “Take Me Down”

“Take Me Down”


Written by Mark Gray and J.P. Pennington

Radio & Records

#1 (3 weeks)

July 9 – July 23, 1982


#1 (1 week)

July 24, 1982

Many of Alabama’s early hits were written by band members.  This one mined the catalog of another band that would find some country success of their own in the eighties.  

At this point, Exile was best known for their big pop hit “Kiss You All Over.”   Their 1980 version of “Take Me Down” just barely missed the pop charts.  When Alabama covered it, it not only went to No. 1 on the country chart, but also went top twenty on the pop chart.  

Alabama improves on the original recording across the board.  Randy Owen understands how this can work as a country rock hit, and he gives an impassioned vocal performance that easily eclipses Exile’s efforts. 

His vocal and Alabama’s musicianship elevate what is a fundamentally slight composition, giving a half-baked effort a few more minutes in the oven. It’s another gem from their imperial era.

“Take Me Down” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. This has always been a favorite from Alabama for me. I had no idea it was an Exile cover!

    Really, as a whole, the single/album run they had from 1980-1985 was absolutely spectacular.

  2. Make that two of us who had no idea it was an Exile cover!

    Exile was the first concert I lobbied my mom to attend with my sister on our own, but the negotiations failed.

    I look forward to revisiting their largely forgotten run of number hits shortly.

    As for the boys from Fort Payne, Alabama completely redefined what country music bands sounded like during this aptly titled “imperial era.” They were inescapably everywhere on country radio.

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