Written by: Eddie Floyd, Steve Cropper
Recorded: 8-12 July 1974
Producer: Tony Visconti
Released: 13 September 1974
Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74)
I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74)
Earl Slick: guitar
Herbie Flowers: bass guitar
Tony Newman: drums
Mike Garson: piano, Mellotron
Michael Kamen: electric piano, Moog synthesizer, oboe
David Sanborn, Richard Grando: saxophone, flute
Pablo Rosario: percussion
Warren Peace, Gui Andrisano: backing vocals
David Bowie performed ‘Knock On Wood’ during the Diamond Dogs Tour and Soul Tour in 1974. His version was released on the David Live album.
The song was written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper, and released as a September 1966 by Floyd. It reached number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, and one week atop the Soul Singles chart.
‘Knock On Wood’ has been covered by a range of artists, with Amii Stewart’s 1979 disco version becoming the biggest chart success. Bowie had performed it as far back as 1966 with his band the Buzz.
Bowie’s first live album, David Live, was recorded in July 1974 at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia, during the first phase of the Diamond Dogs Tour.
‘Knock On Wood’ was released as a single one month ahead of the album, on 13 September 1974. Its b-side, ‘Panic In Detroit’, was a non-album recording from the Philly shows.
The single was released in 1974 in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia, and in January 1975 in Australia and New Zealand.
In February 1975 it was issued in Spain, with ‘Changes’ on the b-side.
In the USA, ‘Knock On Wood’ was the b-side of the ‘Young Americans’ single in January 1975.
In Thailand, the song was issued as a single in September 1974, accompanied by three songs by other artists.
David Live was released on 29 October 1974, with ‘Knock On Wood’ as the twelfth track. It was the album’s only non-Bowie song.
A recording from 5 September 1974 was included on the 2017 live album Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74).
Another live version was released in 2020 on I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74). The final tracks – ‘Knock On Wood’ and medleys of ‘Foot Stomping’/‘I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate’ and ‘Diamond Dogs’/‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)’ – were from a 30 November 1974 concert at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium.