First Hit #1: April 21, 1979
If the ’70s have proved anything, it’s that disco can be added to almost any recipe and make a successful hit. So Amii Stewart’s take on a ’60s soul standard isn’t really unexpected and probably less challenging than throwing disco at Beethoven. Stewart does make the song her own, and she does it through a vocal performance that is somewhat timeless.
Now, timeless is an overused word, and the song itself is the furthest thing from it – in fact, it’s doubtful you could find an arrangement more of it’s time. Stewart’s performance, however, is timeless, because she has elements which, with a switched up arrangement, could fit in other decades. The way she handles the song overall definitely owes a debt to the ’60s original, and it could easily be adapted into a girl group track, especially surrounding the “Knock-knock-knock on wood” chorus. Then, Stewart herself does some vocal gymnastics with the oohs which is a clear inspiration for later singers, such as Mariah Carey and the late Whitney Houston, who delighted in showing off their range, often through distinctive oohs. As it is, it’s a song that’s very much of its decade, but one would think Stewart would have had more hits, since she could easily sing in any decade.