I Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer - Stevie Wonder (1971)
It is impossible to pick the greatest Stevie Wonder song of all time. Like the Beatles, Stevie Wonder put out an impressive string of albums that are completely uncrackable, meaning they are flawless. From 1971's Where I'm Coming From until Songs of the Key of Life in 1976, Stevie released six undisputed classics, five of which show up constantly on lists by critics and fan's alike. However, sometimes Where I'm Coming From is overlooked. When talking of his classic period, they tend to start with Music of My Mind from 1972. If you leave out Where I'm Coming From, you miss out on one of the most fantastic set-ups in history. Like Rubber Soul is to Revolver, such is the same in Stevie's discography (Even though it is shamefully out of print). Each song is a growth of epic proportions from his previous release, and you can see the beginnings of that streak bursting from "Where.."'s vinyl seams. My favorite is the ballad, of course. "I Never Dreamed..." aches with the surprise of a love's end that the narrator simply didn't see coming. It became even more poignant as Stevie sang this song through tears at Michael Jackson's memorial service last year. As with most ballads of the rock era recorded by giants, it is timeless, and will always be there when you need it. Stevie's roll was just beginning, but this gentle powerhouse lead the way.
Joanie's version was the first I ever heard, so I had to include it here as well!