“Finish Line” by Elton John and Stevie Wonder
“Finish Line” is a bit open-ended, as perhaps to be expected by this point in the careers of Elton John and his collaborator, Stevie Wonder. For instance, it is not abundantly clear the nature of their relationship with the addressee(s). But perhaps we can put forth that the logical implication would be that said individual is a romantic interest, someone who they have been very close to for decades. But again, there are different types of associations that can fit into that category.
In any event the way the tale reads is that as time progressed, the vocalist may have come to take the relationship for granted. Such is sorta common when you’re dealing with a long-term relationship. Or let’s say that he had reached the point where he was making sacrifices in the name of perpetuating his association with the addressee yet simultaneously was under the impression that he was doing so in vain.
Or stated alternatively yet again, it’s like you’re with your partner and relatedly suffering but don’t really know if doing so is actually worth it. But now that he has seen the addressee “at the finish line” (i.e. is able to bear witness to the fruits his commitment have wrought) he knows that yes, the sacrifices he made were very much worth it – and then some.
The further implication, based on the wording of the second verse, is that maybe some abuse or disappointment was involved, i.e. the vocalist getting so frustrated that maybe he spazzed or ‘let the addressee down’ in other ways here and there. So in the midst of the above assertions, it is as if he is also asking for this person’s forgiveness.
At the end of the day
So maybe this song isn’t as lyrically intricate as the days of Elton/Stevie old. But it is still pretty deep nonetheless. Indeed it wouldn’t be unreasonable to argue that, as far as long-term relationships go, perhaps we all lose sight of the “finish line” occasionally and in some cases justifiably so. But this isn’t one of those cases.
To the contrary, the singer has come to realize that his commitment, after decades of investment, has paid off. In fact it has paid off so gratifyingly that now he feels guilty for the times he lost faith that it would.
Elton and Stevie
Going into this piece one gets the feeling that by all means Elton John and Stevie Wonder – both being classic, humanitarian musicians tracing their heyday back to the early 1970s – have collaborated before. And such is in fact the case as both participated, alongside Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight, on the quintessential companionship piece “That’s What Friends Are For” (1985).
Moreover Stevie, perhaps being the best A list musician ever when it comes to playing the harmonica, rendered said instrument on the Rocketman’s 1983 hit “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues“.
But “Finish Line” is the first actual duet between the pair.
Elton John has noted that he and Stevie Wonderful, as the latter is called by some people, have indeed been friends for a solid 50 years. And Sir John also stated that that Finish Line is “one of the greatest records (he’s) ever made”.
“Finish Line”, which is a product of EMI and Mercury Records, was put out on 30 September 2021,
Elton wrote this song alongside Roman Campolo, Ali Tamposi and Watt. The latter two names on that list are concurrently amongst the top behind-the-scenes’ musicians in the industry. And Watt also produced “Finish Line”.
Stevie Wonder didn’t play any role in composing “Finish Line”. That’s the reason his name isn’t mentioned in the writing credits. But that said, it should be noted that he plays the harmonica on the track.
This song is derived from “The Lockdown Sessions”. It is a 2021 studio album by Sir John.
And perhaps taking inspiration from what his countryman, Ed Sheeran did in 2019, said undertaking is filled with collaborations with major artists. Some of them include some 21st century artists you may not expect to team up with the senior Elton. They include names like:
- Nicki Minaj
- Lil Nas X
- Young Thug
Furthermore, the album also features other renowned old school musicians like Stevie Nicks and Brandi Carlile.