First: today’s song is so iconic in R&B circles, that no matter what lyric I used, it would probably give the song away.
Many of you know that I watch The Voice television show, and many times I have seen the contestants take on songs written by and/or performed by Stevie Wonder. I always fear that what I will hear won’t be good, because of Stevie’s idiosyncrasies. Basically, there is no one on the planet who sounds or sings like Stevie. Despite that, there have been some good performances of his songs on the show. I also have to admit, I don’t remember anyone performing today’s song on the show; but I haven’t seen all ten seasons either.
So what happens when two acclaimed singers decide to cover one of Stevie’s works? What if that song just so happens to be my favorite Stevie Wonder song ever? Well, what you get are George Michael and Mary J. Blige doing a duet on “As.” That version of the song is today’s Morning Groove.
I’ll go ahead and say off the top that it’s not better than Stevie’s. I’ll also say that it’s pretty darn good. I think it works because it doesn’t try to sound like Stevie; it sounds like George Michael and Mary J. doing their own thing with the song. Taken from Michael’s Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael greatest hits collection, the song managed to chart at #57 on the Billboard R&B listings back in 1999, which seems woefully low. It did make the top 5 in Michael’s native U.K., however.
Why do I love the song so much? Besides the fact that it sounds good in both versions (and there are other covers out there), the lyrics! Stevie uses a creative way to describe how long his love will last for his significant other—by listing the physical impossibilities that have to happen for his love to end.
It would be really easy to post Stevie’s version here; but I’m going to let this version stand on its own. So what do you think? Is it good enough? Do you think it’s better than the Stevie original? Are you hearing it for the first time? Say what you think in the comments.
No matter how you feel about it, I hope you enjoy today’s Morning Groove. As always, thanks for reading and listening.