A couple weeks back, I explained how much I loved Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ 1976 classic “Wake Up Everybody”, and I treated you to the new remake by John Legend & the Roots featuring Melanie Fiona and Common (whew, that was a mouthful). Well, guess what folks? There’s a video now. Siting and watching the video (and listening to the song) has me filled with conflicting emotions. First is that I’m really looking forward to Legend & The Roots’ album-length collaboration “Wake Up” (scheduled to arrive later this year), and second is that as much as I enjoy The Roots (who’ve made one of 2010’s best albums), Legend (who’s consistent each time), and even Fiona (a bright newcomer) and Common (who appears to be headed back to his peak-era form, vocally and sartorially), the four acts combined can’t hold a candle to Teddy Pendergrass on the original. Legend’s too mannered a vocalist to take you to church the way T.P. did on the original, and the appearance of Fiona on the song doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose.
Nevertheless, the message of the song is always welcome no matter who’s delivering it. Rock with the video and make sure you go back and get your hands on the original while you’re at it.