Whose Version of “What You Won’t Do For Love” is Best? Bobby Caldwell’s, Boyz II Men’s or Jessie Ware’s? [VIDEOS]

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By Justin Chadwick | @justin_chadwick

Nearly forty years and more than a dozen studio albums since Bobby Caldwell delivered his smoother-than-smooth 1978 breakthrough single “What You Won’t Do For Love,” the Blue-Eyed Soul singer is back in the news with what may very well constitute the most adventurous project of his career to date. Cool Uncle is the unorthodox, yet irresistibly stellar collaboration between the 64 year-old Caldwell and Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer extraordinaire Jack Splash, revered for his previous work with the likes of Melanie Fiona, CeeLo Green, Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar, John Legend, among many others. The duo’s self-titled debut album arrives in stores this Friday, November 13th and can be previewed in full now via NPR’s First Listen here.

But let’s circle back to Caldwell’s most recognizable hit song, a ballad that has, somewhat unexpectedly, transcended genre classifications to become a universally beloved tune. Indeed, the song has always been widely embraced in hip-hop circles, having been most memorably sampled on The Luniz’ “Playa Hata” (1995), Guru’s “Something in the Past” (1995), Kool G Rap’s “Blowin’ Up in the World” (1995), and 2Pac’s posthumous “Do For Love” (1998).

“What You Won’t Do for Love” has also been covered liberally, and today we revisit two of the more notable interpolations. Motownphilly’s very own Boyz II Men included their soulful version of the song featuring MC Lyte on their 2004 covers album Throwback, Vol. 1, and the lovely British songstress Jessie Ware added her acoustic rendition to deluxe editions of her 2012 debut album Devotion.

Check out all three versions below and let us know which one you deem superior!

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