A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.
Joni Mitchell wrote and recorded this song for her album Court and Spark, but she had to switch from her regular band to make the song sound exactly the way she wanted. "I had attempted to play my music with rock & roll players," she told Rolling Stone. "They’d laugh, 'Awww, isn't that cute? She's trying to teach us how to play.'" Mitchell switched to a jazz band, Tom Scott’s L.A. Express, and scored the biggest hit of her career in the process.