Birthday in the Key of STEVIE

Revisiting #MusicSermon’s tribute to one of our greatest living artists: few illustrations of Stevie’s wonder.

Today is the birthday of one of our greatest national treasures, Mr. Stevland Morris. This isn’t a full Stevie sermon — I’ve been promising a revival-style look at hist music as some point — but a quick highlight of some of my favorite things about Stevie’s art and talent.


The phrasing here is important. Much in the tradition of Motown (even though Stevie wasn’t a typical Motown artist – Thanks, Marvin), Stevie’s catalog is heavily mined for covers, remakes, and samples…

“Ribbon In the Sky” Live, 1984

The thing is, even though there’s so much STEVIE in his songs, they completely lend themselves to the cover artists to make their own. I’m not sure if that’s Stevie’s talent as a composer, or of the other artists.

We all know there’s been a “Which Ribbon is better?” battle since ‘93.

INTRO, Ribbon in The Sky

Stevie can create a definitive piece of work…


…and another artist redefine it, without taking anything away from Stevie’s version. Them Hailey boys’ styles ain’t nothin’ like Stevie’s, and yet, killed it.

Jodeci “Lately” Uptown Unplugged

I think Donnell had a slam dunk on the vocals here, but the production didn’t age well. You gotta keep the Stevie ballads and mids simple, IMO.

Donnell Jones “Knocks Me Off My Feet”

Tevin rendered a version of “Knocks Me Off My Feet” as well.

Tevin Campbell “Knocks Me Off My Feet”

But this round remains with Stevie, for me.

Knocks Me Off My Feet

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