Eddie Floyd began making records in 1956, in Detroit as a member of the Falcons, but it was at Stax Records in Memphis that the singer-songwriter found his greatest success ten years later. He and guitarist Steve Cropper wrote the song “Knock on Wood” for Otis Redding to record, but Stax founder Jim Stewart insisted Floyd cut it himself. Floyd’s recording of “Knock on Wood” rose to the top of the R&B charts and has proven to be one of the most durable and frequently covered tunes of the ’60s.
Born in 1935 in Montgomery, Alabama, Floyd recorded prolifically with the Falcons between 1956 and ’62 and often sang lead, though not on the group’s two biggest hits: Joe Stubbs led “You’re So Fine” in 1959 and Wilson Pickett was featured on “I Found a Love” in 1962. Floyd and Pickett both quit the group that year, and Floyd began recording for Safice Records, a Washington, DC company he ran in partnership with former Moonglows member Chester Simmons and disc jockey Al Bell.
When Bell was hired in 1965 as Stax’s first black executive, Floyd followed him south. During his decade-long association with Stax, the singer also scored with “I’ve Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)” and “California Girl,” among other hits he had a hand in writing, and with an uptempo treatment of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me.” And Floyd penned tunes for Pickett, Redding, Carla Thomas, and the Emotions, the biggest being Pickett’s “634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.),” which was issued on Atlantic but recorded at Stax. After the demise of Stax, Floyd recorded for Mercury, Malaco, and Wilbe. He’s been touring and recording as a member of the Blues Brothers Band, which also includes Cropper, since the early ’90s.