Soul and groove musicians William D. Smith and Eric Mercury composed the song Down The Backstairs (of My Life) which they both recorded separately in their albums. Smith (aka Smitty) would record the song in his A Good Feelin’ album in 1976 while Mercury would included it in his self-titled 1975 album, originally released in Toronto. Sadly these albums have become particularly rare even on iTunes.
The song was covered by Joey Scarbury in the album America’s Greatest Hero. Although the best version in Teki’s opinion is Kenny Rankin‘s. The track was included in his album After The Roses. This version has a fuller orchestration and elevates the melancholia associated with the song with a kind of hopeful plea. A nice song as this new year has started and as one has tiptoed in the background of our lives.
Three Versions, One Song
Listen to the three versions of this song that now rarely gets played on the airwaves.
Play William D. Smith‘s version from the album A Good Feelin’
Obviously this version is more R&B. Allen Toussaint played keyboards for this track and was influential in the rise of rhythm and blues music in New Orleans.
Play Eric Mercury‘s version from the album Eric Mercury
With a more folksy feel to the song owing to the guitar rendition, Eric Mercury’s take on this song is equally soulful as that of Smitty’s. The use of backing vocals near the ending brings it to a slow gospel song.
Play Kenny Rankin‘s version from the album After The Roses
It’s like a song that celebrates a good memory. Kenny Rankin’s voice and the orchestration have made the song something more than just an ordinary ballad but a kind of goodbye that becomes a good addition to a “moment in a life” soundtrack.
Lyrics: How I Understood Them
As you leave please tiptoe down the backstairs of my life. Down the backstairs of my life. Everything is all you ever meant and said to me. Everything you meant to me.
Could you live with all the hurt and the pain and the tears again? Yesterday could be a song for the year. Refrain.
They can vessel me. I’ve given all – I’ve been outpoured. Oh I’ve been poured out.
As you leave please tiptoe down the backstairs of my life. Down the backstairs of my life.
When you leave you’re takin’ all my dreams outside my door. Twisted heart is crying more and more. Encore.
In the darkness now all I can see is where we’ve been. Oh, where we’ve been.
As you leave please tiptoe down the backstairs of my life, Down the backstairs of my life. Down the backstairs of my life. Down the backstairs of my life. (Backstairs of my life.)