♫ Back Stabbers ♫ (Redux)

I mentioned in yesterday’s post about Joe Manchin’s betrayal that it had brought to mind a song, and this is that song.  Interestingly, I played this one over two years ago, and when I did, my friend Jerry sent me another version … an episode of Live From Daryl’s House featuring the O’Jays in 2016, some 44 years after the original!  I thought it was fun and they still sound pretty darn good for old dudes, so I’m playing both the original and the one with Daryl Hall on this post!


The O’Jays were formed in 1958 and named after Cleveland DJ Eddie O’Jay.  This song, released in 1972, was their first Top 40 hit!  Gene McFadden and John Whitehead wrote this song along with Leon Huff, who along with Kenny Gamble produced the track and released it on their Philadelphia International label. The song was inspired by problems Whitehead faced with his family and friends.

This song starts with a piano roll that Leon Huff played. Huff explains …

“‘Back Stabbers’ sounds like something eerie, so that roll was like something horrible, because that’s what back stabbers are. It reflected that type of drama. Our dream was to play so many counter-melodies that came with those songs, and the orchestra was able to put that together. Plus, stereo radio had just come around, and you had a lot of space to fill up. Stereo was much more soothing than mono, so we thought about the mixes we could do. The music was funky and classical at the same time.”

Backstabbers
The O’Jays

All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers (back stabbers)
(They smilin’ in your face)
All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers (back stabbers)
All you fellows who have someone and you really care, yeah, yeah
Then it’s all of you fellows who better beware, yeah yeah

Somebody’s out to get your lady
A few of your buddies they sure look shady
Blades are long, clenched tight in their fist
Aimin’ straight at your back
And I don’t think they’ll miss

All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers (back stabbers)
I keep gettin’ all these visits from my friends, yeah, what they doin’ to me?
They come to my house again and again and again and again, yeah
So are they there to see my woman?
I don’t even be home but they just keep on comin’
What can I do to get on the right track?
I wish they’d take some of these knives out my back

All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers (back stabbers)
Low down dirty

Smiling faces smiling faces sometimes tell lies (back stabbers)
(They smilin’ in your face)
I don’t need low down, dirty bastards (back stabbers)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Leon Huff / Gene Mcfadden / John Whitehead
Backstabbers (Re-Recorded / Remastered) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

11 thoughts on “♫ Back Stabbers ♫ (Redux)

  1. Pingback: BACK STABBERS ( Redux ). |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  2. O’Jays are good vocalists, but to me the song is whiny and weak. A problem is presented, but no solution is offered. Worst of all, no credit is given to the lady, who is obviously remaining loyal despite whatever advances are being made. The music is upbeat. I think the singer enjoys getting stabbed in the back.
    Maybe it’s just the mood I’m in today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was never really a fan of this style of music, and always thought they borrowed a bit from Santana’s Oye Como Va for it. But that newer version is really good, and I rather enjoyed it 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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