JOHN LEGEND & THE ROOTS: WAKE UP! (2011)
John Legend and The Roots perform most of the songs off of their 2010 collaborative album, Wake Up! Inspired by the 2008 Presidential election, Wake Up! features a collection of cover songs from the 60s and ‘70s that were originally written or performed by some of the most influential and timeless artists of the era, such as Donny Hathaway, Eugene McDaniels, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, and many others. Legend and The Roots both felt that something was needed in the stagnant atmosphere and lack of depth in music’s current state and that this album would deliver a sense of urgency and convey the change that was going on in the world at the time. Given the album’s themes/background, this is an episode that still resonates.
A few breakthrough moments in the episode include when Legend breaks away from Wake Up! once to perform “Ordinary People,” arguably his most popular hit from his 2004 debut album Get Lifted. Following that, Legend introduces the song “I Can’t Write Left-Handed,” which he explains was written by Bill Withers during the Vietnam War. Withers dedicated it to a soldier he met who was shot in his right arm and forced to learn to use his left hand to write. The powerful and soulful ballad is heightened with Questlove’s brilliant and passionate drumming. (00:5405)