Song Lyric Sunday | “Take a Letter, Maria” – R.B. Greaves


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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is“Maria/Marie/Mary.

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Even though it’s about infidelity, this upbeat song with a Latin flair was a dance favorite and quickly gained airplay reaching number two on Billboards Hot 100. Released in September of 1969, Take a Letter, Maria was certified gold in early December of the same year. It would go on to sell nearly three million copies.

So many songs about broken marriages leave you crying in your beer or scarfing down Ben & Jerry’s. R.B. Greaves doesn’t seem too broken up over his… since he asks Maria out to start a new life!

The video is from a 1969 television performance… yes, it’s lip-synced, but check out that dicta-phone!

FUN FACTS:

  • R.B. Greaves is Sam Cooke’s nephew. He had one more US Top 40 hit: Always Something There To Remind Me. That one, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, reached #27 in 1970.
  • Take a Letter, Maria was kept from the #1 spot by Wedding Bell Blues by The 5th Dimension.
  • The song was recorded at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio using house musicians, including Donna Jean Thatcher on vocals (later Donna Jean Godchaux of the Grateful Dead).
  • Greaves was one of several Atlantic artists sent to Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, but the first to have a hit there.

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Take a Letter, Maria

Written and sung by R.B. Greaves

Last night as I got home, about a half past ten

There was the woman I thought I knew, in the arms of another man

I kept my cool, I ain’t no fool, let me tell you what happened then

I packed some clothes and I walked out, and I ain’t going back again

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Say I won’t be coming home, gonna start a new life

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

You’ve been many things but most of all a good secretary to me

And it’s times like this I feel you’ve always been close to me

Was I wrong to work nights to try to build a good life

All work and no play has just cost me a wife

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Say I won’t be coming home, gonna start a new life

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

When a man loves a woman it’s hard to understand

That she would find more pleasure in the arms of another man

I never really noticed how sweet you are to me

It just so happens I’m free tonight, would you like to have dinner with me

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

Compiled from Genius Lyrics, Google, Wikipedia, Songfacts.com, and YouTube.

16 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday | “Take a Letter, Maria” – R.B. Greaves

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