Official Charts Pop Gem #29: Sophie Ellis Bextor – Take Me Home

Sophie covered Cher for her first solo single in 2001 and is our latest Pop Gem.

Sophie covered Cher for her first solo single in 2001 and is our latest Pop Gem.

Cover versions are a funny old thing. They can totally change your relationship with a song – either ruining it for you for ever, or making you realise a tune isn’t so bad after all. Covers can also introduce you to songs you’d never even heard of – opening up the back catalogues of artists you might not have even cared about before.

When we asked for your Pop Gems on a cover version theme, we got some great suggestions. But a true Pop Gem is a tune that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves, or has been all but forgotten by the chart-loving public. And Take Me Home, by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, fits the bill perfectly.

Watch the video for Sophie’s version of Take Me Home before we tell its story:

Take Me Home was suggested by reader Michael Brown, who says: “It's always been overshadowed by Murder On The Dancefloor but it still got to number 2!” And he’s right, it did, back in August 2001. The pop world was eagerly awaiting Sophie’s next move following her huge Number 1 the previous year – the amazing, inescapable Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love), a collaboration with Italian DJ Spiller.

It was to be Sophie’s first proper outing as a solo artist, after her turn as lead vocalist with indiepop band Theaudience and then the team-up with Spiller. The song she chose to launch her new solo venture was a cover of a track by none other than Cher herself. While Take Me Home had been a chart hit on the other side of the Atlantic, it wasn’t as well-known in the UK. Sophie wasn’t content with doing a straight cover, though – she also added a few of her own lyrics, just to freshen things up a little.

The song was a success, entering the charts and peaking at Number 2. The très chic video shows Sophie testing out her popstar chops with a variety of eligible bachelors, and was the brainchild of acclaimed video director Sophie Muller. An album, Read My Lips, swiftly followed and also peaked at Number 2.

As Michael points out, Take Me Home tends to get overlooked thanks to Sophie’s follow-up single Murder On The Dancefloor having an unforgettable chorus and a memorable video, where Sophie does her best to nobble the competition in a cheesy dance contest. But for us, the cutesy, breezy seduction of Take Me Home just edges it, and so takes its place in the Pop Gem hall of fame.

Take Me Home, which sold over 242,000 copies, was a brilliant start to Sophie’s pop career. She has enjoyed nine Top 40 singles since and four Top 40 hits on the Official Albums Chart. Her biggest seller remains the Number 1 smash Groovejet, with 619,000 copies sold. Sophie is currently delighting us as a (very good) contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, and has a fifth album, Wanderlust, out early next year.

Why not have a listen to Cher’s version while you’re here? It’s pretty good, and very disco (the video is pretty low-quality but the tune still sounds fresh):

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