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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!'

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »
 
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