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Exclusive: John Legend and the Roots Go Acoustic

Watch the singer and band recast 'Compared to What,' which appears in electric form on their new album, 'Wake Up!'

September 21, 2010 4:25 PM ET

John Legend and the Roots have kindly given Rolling Stone this exclusive acoustic performance of Eugene McDaniel's soulful anti-war track "Compared to What," which appears in electric form on their new covers album, Wake Up!, which hits stores today. The track was recorded in the Roots' NYC rehearsal studio. "John Legend is modern R&B's classiest male singer, bringing old-fashioned suavity to hip-hop soul; the Roots are the world's most versatile (and maybe best) band," Jody Rosen writes in his Rolling Stone review of Wake Up! , which earns four stars. "Together, they have made a brilliantly conceived and executed album, reviving music from the Nixon-era heyday of politically engaged R&B."

Earlier: John Legend Talks Lending Songs for Education Reform

Video: The Roots and John Legend on their soul LP 'Wake Up!'

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Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

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