As (song)

"As" is a song written and performed by Stevie Wonder from his 1976 album, Songs in the Key of Life. It reached number 36 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Black Singles chart. The song gets its name from the first word of its lyrics.

"As"
As Single.jpeg
French single cover
Single by Stevie Wonder
from the album Songs in the Key of Life
B-side"Contusion"
ReleasedOctober 1977
Recorded1974
GenreSoul
Length
  • 7:08 (album version)
  • 3:27 (single edit)
LabelTamla
Songwriter(s)Stevie Wonder
Producer(s)Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder singles chronology
"Another Star"
(1977)
"As"
(1977)
"Pops We love You"
(1979)

Subject and interpretationEdit

The song implies that the love the singer has for his partner will never diminish, as he says that he will love her “always” (the song's main lyric) until the physically impossible becomes true. The impossible feats include: rainbows burning the stars out in the sky, oceans covering the tops of every mountain, dolphins flying, and parrots living at sea, dreaming of life and life becoming a dream, day becoming night and vice versa, trees and the seas flying away, 8×8×8 equaling 4, this day becoming the last day, the Earth turning right to left, the Earth denying itself (for the Sun), Mother Nature saying her work is through, and "until the day that you are me and I am you."

By the most straightforward interpretation of the lyrics, this is a lover serenading his beloved. By another possible interpretation, the lyrics describe endless unconditional love for the listener, sung on behalf of the Abrahamic god. In yet a third interpretation, the song expresses the lyricist's own love for humanity. The verse that begins with "We all know sometimes life's hates and troubles..." would seem to preclude the first interpretation, and the second interpretation would seem precluded by the lyric, "As today I know I'm living but tomorrow, Could make me the past but that I mustn't fear."

PersonnelEdit

  • Nathan Watts – bass, handclaps
  • Dean Parks – guitar
  • Herbie Hancock – Fender Rhodes, handclaps
  • Greg Brown – drums
  • Stevie Wonder – lead and background vocal, Fender Rhodes
  • Mary Lee Whitney – background vocals
  • Dave Hanson, Yolanda Simon, Josette Valentino – handclaps

ChartsEdit

Chart (1977–78) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[1] 36
US Billboard Easy Listening[1] 24
US Billboard R&B 36

George Michael and Mary J. Blige versionEdit

"As"
 
Single by George Michael and Mary J. Blige
from the album Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael and Mary
B-side"A Different Corner" (live at Parkinson)
ReleasedJanuary 12, 1999 (1999-01-12)
Recorded1998
Genre
Length4:42
LabelEpic
Songwriter(s)Stevie Wonder
Producer(s)Babyface
George Michael singles chronology
"Outside"
(1998)
"As"
(1999)
"If I Told You That"
(2000)
Mary J. Blige singles chronology
"Seven Days"
(1998)
"As"
(1999)
"All That I Can Say"
(1999)
Music video
"As" on YouTube

In 1999, George Michael and Mary J. Blige covered the song for Michael's greatest hits album Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael (1998). Released outside the United States, "As" was the second single from the album, it became a top 10 hit in Michael's home country, reaching number four on the UK Singles Chart.

"As" was not released on the US version of Ladies & Gentlemen or as a single in the US. Michael cited Blige's record company president, Jay Boberg, for pulling the track after Michael's arrest for committing a lewd act in a public restroom.[2] In 2019, Kirk Burrowes, who executive produced Blige's fourth album Mary, told Rated R&B that it was indeed Boberg's decision not to release "As" in the US: "[Boberg] did not want to let George Michael, who initiated that original production, use it as a single in the U.S. to launch his greatest hits album. It pissed everyone off at Sony. It pissed George Michael off. It pissed everyone off, but we couldn't make Jay Boberg bend. He should have put it on the Mary album, but we couldn't put it on the album in the states because he wouldn't let George Michael put it on the Ladies & Gentlemen [album] in the states."[3]

Critical receptionEdit

Daily Record commented that Michael "drafted in US soul diva Blige, but the ex-Wham! star is playing safe with his third Stevie Wonder cover."[4]

Music videoEdit

A music video was made to accompany the song, directed by Big TV!. It features Michael getting out of a car and entering a club where many doppelgängers of himself and Blige are chilling out and having a drink. Towards the end of the video, most of the people are dancing on the dance floor. It was published on YouTube in December 2010. As of December 2020, the video has been viewed more than 17 million times.[5]

Track listingsEdit

UK CD 1

  1. "As" – 4:42
  2. "A Different Corner" (live at Parkinson) – 4:28

UK CD 2

  1. "As" (original) – 4:42
  2. "As" (Full Crew Mix) – 5:39
  3. "As" (CJ Mackintosh Remix) – 6:06

US CD Promo

  1. "As" (Beyond Real Mix) – 7:18
  2. "As" (Jonathan Peters Remix) – 4:10
  3. "As" (Maurice's Millennium Mix) – 7:55

ChartsEdit

Chart (1999) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA Charts)[6] 45
Belgium (Ultratop Flanders)[6] 42
Belgium (Ultratop Wallonia)[6] 34
Denmark (IFPI)[7] 12
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[8] 12
France (SNEP)[6] 27
Germany (Official German Charts)[9] 38
Hungary (Mahasz)[10] 9
Iceland (Íslenski Listinn Topp 40)[11] 20
Ireland (IRMA)[12] 12
Italy (Musica e dischi)[13] 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[14] 7
New Zealand (RIANZ)[6] 21
Spain (Productores de Música de España)[15] 5
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[6] 27
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[6] 22
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[16] 4
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[17] 2
US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[18] 57

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Gold 400,000 

  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Other versionsEdit

"As" was covered by pianist Gene Harris on his 1977 album Tone Tantrum, with 30 additional seconds.

Sister Sledge covered it and included it on their 1977 album Together. They later performed the song on a 1984 episode of The Jeffersons.

Kimiko Kasai with Herbie Hancock covered it on the 1979 album Butterfly.[20]

"As" was also covered by violinist Jean-Luc Ponty on his 1982 album Mystical Adventures.

Smooth jazz saxophonist/flautist Najee covered the song for his Stevie Wonder tribute album Songs from the Key of Life.[21]

In 2000, singer Nichole Nordeman covered the song on her album This Mystery.

Dutch singer Esmée Denters covered the song for Billboard's Mashup Mondays series in 2011.

In 2011 the season 2 winners of vocal competition The Sing-Off, Committed, also covered this song on their self-titled debut album.

Anthony Hamilton and Marsha Ambrosious make cameos in the 2013 film The Best Man Holiday, in which the singers appear as themselves and perform the song as an R&B ballad at a main character's funeral.

The original Stevie Wonder version was featured in The Best Man Holiday's predecessor The Best Man in a more lighthearted scene.

In 2014 it was covered by American singer Camille for her Stevie Wonder tribute album I Sing Stevie: The Stevie Wonder Songbook, an album that received an Independent Music Awards nomination for Best Tribute Album.[22]

Two dance-oriented versions of the song, both with the title "As Always", have reached the UK Singles Chart Top 75: one in 1989 produced by Farley Jackmaster Funk with Ricky Dillard on vocals; another in 1992 by Secret Life.

Singer-songwriter Becca Stevens included a cover of the song, featuring Jacob Collier, on her album Regina (2017).

In 1996 R&B singer Case interpolated the backing vocals for his song "I Gotcha" from his self-titled debut album.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 261.
  2. ^ Devenish, Colin (November 5, 1998). "George Michael's Video Tackles Lewd Conduct Arrest". MTV. Archived from the original on February 17, 2016.
  3. ^ Folk, Antwane (August 17, 2019). "Revisiting Mary J. Blige's Soul Masterpiece 'Mary' 20 Years Later". Rated R&B. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "Chart Slot". Daily Record. March 19, 1999. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "George Michael, Mary J. Blige - As (Official Video)". YouTube. December 20, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Danish Singles Chart 19 March 1999
  8. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  9. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – George Michael & Mary J. Blige – As" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  10. ^ "Top 10 Hungary" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  11. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (NR. 309 Vikuna 5.2. - 12.2. 1999)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir. Retrieved 2018-07-13. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Archived from the original on 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  13. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 16 no. 14. April 3, 1999. p. 19. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  14. ^ Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. "Top 40-lijst van week 14, 1999". Top40.nl. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  15. ^ "LISTAS DE AFYVE: 1999 Singles". Afyvecharts.blogspot.com. 2004-02-27. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  16. ^ "George Michael | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Theofficialcharts.com. 2014-08-15. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  17. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". officialcharts.com.
  18. ^ "As - Mary J. Blige". Billboard. ISSN 0006-2510. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012.
  19. ^ "British single certifications – George Michael & Mary J Blige – As". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  20. ^ "Kimiko Kasai With Herbie Hancock – Butterfly", Discogs.
  21. ^ "Songs from the Key of Life overview". AllMusic.
  22. ^ "14th Annual Independent Music Awards: Tribute Album". independentmusicawards.com. Music Resource Group LLC. Archived from the original on March 28, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.

External linksEdit