Stevie Wonder’s “As” is a powerful testament to the enduring nature of love. Throughout the song, the lyrics emphasize the idea that love is an everlasting force, with the ability to transcend time and space.
The song’s message is as relevant today as it was when it was first released in 1977. By examining the lyrics verse by verse, we can gain a deeper understanding of the message behind this iconic song.
Table of Contents
Before we delve into the story behind this song, let’s take a closer look at each verse of the lyrics.
As around the sun the earth knows she’s revolving
And the rosebuds know to bloom in early May
Just as hate knows love’s the cure
You can rest your mind assured
That I’ll be loving you always
The first verse establishes the song’s central theme: love as an eternal force. Stevie Wonder uses natural imagery to illustrate this idea, comparing love to the earth’s orbit around the sun and the blooming of rosebuds in May. He also touches on the idea that love is the cure for hate, providing listeners with a sense of assurance that love will prevail.
As now can’t reveal the mystery of tomorrow
But in passing will grow older every day
Just as all that’s born is new
Do know what I say is true
That I’ll be loving you always
The second verse discusses the passage of time and the mystery of the future. However, even as time moves forward, the narrator remains committed to loving the person they’re addressing. This unwavering love is likened to the constant renewal of life, emphasizing its enduring nature.
Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky
Until the ocean covers every mountain high
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream
The chorus provides a series of fantastical and seemingly impossible scenarios to emphasize the eternal nature of love. The repetition of the word “always” reinforces this idea, making it clear that love will persist even in the face of impossible odds.
Did you know that true love asks for nothing?
Her acceptance is the way we pay
Did you know that life has given love a guarantee?
To last through forever and another day
In this verse, Stevie Wonder explores the selflessness of true love. He suggests that true love does not demand anything in return, and that acceptance is the “payment” for love. Additionally, the lyrics emphasize the idea that love has been guaranteed by life itself to endure forever, further solidifying the song’s central theme.
Just as time knew to move on since the beginning
And the seasons know exactly when to change
Just as kindness knows no shame
Know through all your joy and pain
That I’ll be loving you always
This verse highlights the inevitability and constancy of love. By comparing love to the passage of time and the changing of seasons, Stevie Wonder underscores the idea that love remains steadfast through both joy and pain. The mention of kindness having no shame implies that love is a force that should be embraced without hesitation or fear.
As today I know I’m living but tomorrow
Could make me the past but that I mustn’t fear
For I’ll know deep in my mind
The love of me I’ve left behind
‘Cause I’ll be loving you always
The fifth verse addresses the uncertainty of life and the inevitability of change. Despite the possibility of becoming “the past,” the narrator finds comfort in knowing that the love they have shared will continue to exist. This notion emphasizes the transcendent nature of love, which endures even beyond the confines of time.
We all know sometimes life’s hates and troubles
Can make you wish you were born in another time and space
But you can bet your life times that and twice its double
That God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed
This bridge acknowledges the struggles and challenges that life can bring, which may lead some to wish for a different life altogether. However, the lyrics suggest that there is a divine purpose behind our placement in life, and that we are meant to be exactly where we are. This message encourages listeners to embrace their current circumstances and find solace in the love that surrounds them.
True Meaning Behind Stevie Wonder’s “As”
“As” is a powerful testament to the transcendent nature of love, inspired by his own transformative experience in Ghana. The song weaves a tapestry of love that goes beyond the ordinary, as it embraces the impossible and the extraordinary, reminding us that love has the power to conquer all.
When Stevie Wonder found himself at a crossroads in his life, recovering from a car accident that left him contemplating quitting the music industry, he embarked on a journey to Ghana. It was there that he devoted himself to humanitarian efforts, helping underprivileged children and gaining a new perspective on life. His love for humanity and the world blossomed, and “As” was born as a beautiful expression of this profound love.
The song’s main lyric, “Until the physically impossible becomes true,” captures the essence of an unyielding love that refuses to fade, no matter the odds or the seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Stevie paints a picture of a world where rainbows burn the stars out in the sky, oceans engulf the tallest mountains, dolphins take flight, and parrots make their homes in the depths of the sea. He sings of trees and seas taking to the skies, days turning into nights and vice versa, and mathematical impossibilities like 8×8×8 equaling 4.
On the surface, “As” can be interpreted as a lover’s serenade, a heartfelt declaration of unwavering devotion to their beloved. However, peeling back the layers of the song reveals a deeper message: a celebration of the lyricist’s love for humanity itself. The impossible feats Stevie sings of are not mere hyperbole; they serve as a reminder that love, in all its forms, has the capacity to move mountains and reshape the world around us.
The beauty of “As” lies in its ability to transcend the boundaries of a traditional love song, transforming into an anthem of hope, unity, and compassion. Stevie Wonder’s time in Ghana illuminated the boundless potential of love to heal and uplift, and this revelation is captured in every note and lyric of this timeless masterpiece.
George Michael and Mary J. Blige Version
Back in 1999, two of the biggest names in music, George Michael and Mary J. Blige, teamed up to cover the song “As” for Michael’s album “Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael”. Although the song became a hit outside the US, it was not released as a single in the US. But why?
As it turns out, Michael’s arrest for a lewd act in a public restroom played a role in the decision not to release the song in the US. Michael cited Jay Boberg, the president of Blige’s record company, for pulling the track. However, in a 2019 interview with Rated R&B, Kirk Burrowes, who executive produced Blige’s fourth album “Mary”, clarified that it was indeed Boberg’s decision not to release “As” in the US.
According to Burrowes, Boberg did not want to let Michael use the song as a single in the US to launch his greatest hits album. This decision angered many, including Michael himself. Despite efforts to persuade Boberg, the decision could not be reversed. Burrowes suggested that “As” should have been included on Blige’s album “Mary”, but even that wasn’t possible due to Boberg’s stance on the matter.
Despite “As” not being released as a single in the US, it remains a popular song and a testament to the musical talent of both George Michael and Mary J. Blige.
Did you know that Stevie Wonder’s classic hit song “As” has been covered by many artists over the years? From Sister Sledge to Jean-Luc Ponty, this song has been given new life in various ways.
Here are some noteworthy covers:
- Pianist Gene Harris added an additional 30 seconds to the original on his 1977 album Tone Tantrum.
- Sister Sledge covered it the same year and included it on their album Together. They even performed it on an episode of The Jeffersons in 1984.
- Kimiko Kasai and Herbie Hancock covered “As” on their 1979 album Butterfly.
- Najee’s rendition can be found on his Stevie Wonder tribute album Songs from the Key of Life.
- Nichole Nordeman covered the song on her album This Mystery in 2000.
- Dutch singer Esmée Denters covered the song for Billboard’s Mashup Mondays series in 2011.
- The Sing-Off season 2 winners, Committed, covered “As” on their self-titled debut album.
The song has also made appearances in popular movies. In The Best Man Holiday, Anthony Hamilton and Marsha Ambrosious perform a beautiful R&B ballad version at a character’s funeral. The original version is played in a lighthearted scene in the movie’s predecessor, The Best Man.
In 2017, American multi-instrumentalist Bill Wurtz put his spin on “As” and included it on his website under the Jazz page. And just last year, a re-mix from the original version of “As” was featured in the In Memoriam moment of the Academy Awards ceremony, credited as “I’ll Be Loving You Always.”
In today’s world, where challenges and divisions can often seem insurmountable, “As” serves as a beacon of hope, urging us to embrace the impossible and to channel the power of love to create a better, more compassionate world. The song is a testament to Stevie Wonder’s unwavering faith in love, and it remains a resounding reminder of the strength and resilience that can be found when we open our hearts to one another.
So let us take a cue from Stevie Wonder and celebrate the power of love in all its forms, for it is through love that we can truly change the world and create a future where the impossible becomes reality.