They Won't Go When I Go

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"They Won't Go When I Go"
Song by Stevie Wonder from the album Fulfillingness' First Finale
Released July 22, 1974
Recorded 1974
Genre Soul
Length 5:59
Label Motown
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Yvonne Wright
"They Won't Go When I Go"
Song by George Michael from the album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
Released 1990
Genre Pop
Length 5:06
Label Epic
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Yvonne Wright
Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 track listing
  1. "Praying for Time"
  2. "Freedom! '90
  3. "They Won't Go When I Go"
  4. "Something to Save"
  5. "Cowboys and Angels"
  6. "Waiting for That Day"
  7. "Mother's Pride"
  8. "Heal the Pain"
  9. "Soul Free"
  10. "Waiting (Reprise)"

"They Won't Go When I Go" is a song co-written and performed by Stevie Wonder from his 1974 album Fulfillingness' First Finale.

This song is the only one on the album that Wonder did not write by himself. His co-writer was Yvonne Lowrene Wright, who co-wrote songs with Wonder for other albums.[1] Wright's sister, Syreeta Wright, was Wonder's first wife.

Wonder performed this song, along with "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer", at Michael Jackson's memorial service on July 7, 2009.


The song has been considered a "retro composition" comparing the piano to that of Beethoven and Chopin. The song also noted to have a "funeral march" like tone to it.[2] There is clear alliusion to the 1850 German chorale tune "O mein Jesu," the setting of Thomas Kelly's 1805 Protestant hymn "Stricken, smitten, and afflicted." Critics noted that the song takes a more dramatic tone than most of Wonder's other compositions. The fact that the song specifically says "They won't go when I go" was said to imply the friends Wonder is talking about may get to heaven eventually, just not before he does.[3] Many consider this song to be a dark consequence of Stevie's 1973 car accident. The harmonic progression is very similar to Chopin's Etude Opus 10 number 4, measures 5 and 6, although at a much slower pace.


  • Iva Zanicchi covered the song for her album, Io ti propongo in 1974.[4]
  • George Michael covered the song for his second solo album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 in 1990.[5]
  • Kevin Max recorded it for his fourth studio album, The Blood in 2007.
  • Josh Groban recorded it for his fifth studio album, Illuminations in 2010. It is featured as a bonus track on the Fan edition, and the Japanese edition.
  • Camille recorded it for her second studio album, I Sing Stevie: The Stevie Wonder Songbook in 2014, which received an Independent Music Award nomination for Best Tribute Album.[6]


  1. ^ James E. Perone, The Sound of Stevie Wonder, p 61
  2. ^ James E. Perone (2006). The Sound of Stevie Wonder: His Words and Music. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 62–. ISBN 978-0-275-98723-7. 
  3. ^ Steve Lodder (2005). Stevie Wonder: A Musical Guide to the Classic Albums. Backbeat. pp. 136–. ISBN 978-0-87930-821-6. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "George Michael's They Won't Go When I Go - Discover the Original Song". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2016-03-06. 
  6. ^ "14th Annual Independent Music Awards: Tribute Album". Music Resource Group LLC. Retrieved May 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

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