Elton John and Stevie Wonder’s long-awaited collaboration is finally here. On Thursday (Sept. 30), the “Rocket Man” singer released “Finish Line,” his new song with Wonder from his upcoming star-studded album, The Lockdown Sessions.
John and Wonder both deliver a soulful performance on the track, which speaks of overcoming times of darkness with the help of a friend. The song also contains heavy gospel influences and features The Sunday Service Choir — the group that Kanye West has famously used for his Sunday church services. “I’ve been down the darkest alleys/ Been to the bottom where the angels cry/ Thought it had all been, all for nothing/ Until I saw you at the finish line,” the veteran singers croon on the track, while Wonder’s trademark harmonica and John’s piano trills flesh out the song’s instrumentals.
Ahead of the release of “Finish Line,” the 74-year-old “I’m Still Standing” artist spoke with producer Andrew Watt about how the track came to be, and revealed his thoughts on Wonder’s work on the track for Apple Music 1.
“I couldn’t be more proud of ‘Finish Line.’ I’d go as far to say it’s one of the best records I’ve ever made. Stevie’s voice is as good as I can remember hearing him. He sounds like a 17-year-old again — he’s singing with a sheer joy and exuberance in his vocals,” John explained in a press release. “It was a magical process. I’ve always loved collaborating with Stevie, and I’m delighted that after 50 years of friendship we finally get to do a full-blown duet. He has always been so kind and sweet to me, and his talent is beyond ridiculous. When you listen to what he does vocally and instrumentally on ‘Finish Line,’ you think, ‘This is a true genius here.'”
Wonder echoed a similar sentiment about his collaborator, and expressed that he was overjoyed to work with John in the studio after their years of friendship and shared artistry.
“It is both a joy and honor to sing, play piano and harmonica for Elton! He has truly been one of the great spirits of music, life, friendship and love, who I’ve met on this journey! True artistry and music like love equals a forever commitment lasting many lifetimes,” said Wonder in a statement. “Elton, anyone who hears your voice singing ‘Finish Line’ will hear and feel your wisdom, your pain, your soul, your love, but also your resilience … I love it! Congratulations to you and our forever and never, never-ending friendship, life-song! Long live Sir Elton John!”
The Lockdown Sessions — which features Wonder, Lil Nas X, Stevie Nicks, Miley Cyrus and more — has already spawned a Billboard Hot 100 listing with his and Dua Lipa’s “Cold Heart.” The song debuted at No. 81 on the chart after its release and market John’s first appearance on the Hot 100 chart in 21 years. The album arrives on Oct. 22.
Listen to “Finish Line” and watch John’s Apple Music 1 interview below.