February 18, 1971: Stevie Wonder Covers The Beatles' "We Can Work It Out"

Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder

Everyone covers The Beatles - but Stevie Wonder seasoned the popular Beatles tune "We Can Work It Out" with a silky bass line and blues swing that gave the original version a sampling of soul.

On February 18, 1971, the master writer and performer released his remake of the 1960's folk tune as a single, refashioned with respect to the original tune as well as an entirely new vibe. As the song peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, Wonder proved again that his expertise in musical reinterpretation within his energetic 1971 album Signed, Sealed & Delivered

The music legend tightens the groove of "We Can Work It Out" by replacing the string arrangement with an edgier bass line and an amped drum scheme that undeniably prioritizes an essence of soul.

Halfway through the song, Stevie whips out a harmonica solo that reminds listeners, this is not the easygoing rock pop number that The Beatles first presented to the world.  He doesn't just cover the song, he runs with it - he soars with gospel background vocals and an immediate "Hey!" that jumpstarts the song with soulful urgency. 

Wonder essentially flipped the song with flourish. Both versions of the song are masterful on their own, but Wonder distinguished himself from a sea of Beatles' covers in his ability to seal his cut of the track with a brand-new vitality. 

Here is the the original Beatles' song below for your listening pleasure - tell us which version you prefer below. 

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