Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “Wake Up Everybody” was one of those albums that grabbed my attention as a kid. Of course, kids are mesmerized by the look of something before they’re attracted to the sound of something, and that stern-looking statue on the album cover certainly caught my eye.
Once I actually pulled out the album and listened to it on my Fisher-Price record player, I was mesmerized by the title track. A plea to make the world a better place, the song was full of righteous positivity, and lead singer Teddy Pendergrass testified through the song like he was some kind of preacher (and as it turns out, he was an ordained minister as a kid).
Fast-forward 34 years and this song is as timely as ever (perhaps MORE timely than ever). Previewing their upcoming album-length collaboration “Wake Up”, John Legend & the Roots have put their own spin on this Seventies classic, and even with the addition of Melanie Fiona and a rap by Common, they treat this song with the reverence it deserves. It also serves as a fitting tribute to Teddy P., who passed away earlier this year.
My homie stromie GG posted about the song on Sonicclash. Give it a listen-based on this song and the Roots/Legend collaborations on the “How I Got Over” album, “Wake Up” looks like it’s gonna be a heater!!