Rhythm and blues artist John Roger Stephens adopted the stage name John Legend early in his career after a friend compared his old-school sound to the music legends of the past.

True to his name, many of the 10-time Grammy-winning artist’s songs have risen to fame throughout his 18 years as a professional musician. Here are just 10 that have made a mark on the pop culture world in honor of Legend’s upcoming “A Legendary Christmas” Utah tour stop.

‘Ordinary People’

This song from Legend’s 2004 debut album, “Get Lifted,” was his first Top 40 hit, reaching No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Ordinary People” was Legend’s first song to win a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 48th Grammy Awards in 2006, during which he also won in the categories for Best R&B Album and Best New Artist.

‘Green Light’

Legend’s upbeat “Green Light,” featuring rapper André 3000 of hip-hop duo Outkast, showcases a funk-electronic sound unique from his previous work, representing a musical style shift for the R&B artist. The hit from Legend’s 2008 third studio album “Evolver” also reached No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100, tying with “Ordinary People” on the chart for Legend’s highest-peaking single at the time.


Legend joined forces with hip-hop band The Roots for this hit that won Best R&B Song at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011 alongside the album from which it originated, “Wake Up!,” a project from the two artists’ collaboration, which received another Grammy win the same year for Best R&B Album.

‘All of Me’

This love song dedicated to Legend’s wife, Chrissy Teigen, from his 2013 fourth studio album “Love in the Future” became his first No. 1 single, topping the Billboard Hot 100 in 2014. It became the third-best-selling song of that year worldwide at 12.3 million units.


Legend and rapper Common created this song for 2014 historical drama film “Selma.” The track went on to win Best Original Song at the 87th Academy Awards and 72nd Golden Globe Awards in 2015 and Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 58th Grammy Awards in 2016.

‘Like I’m Gonna Lose You’

This Meghan Trainor song featuring Legend’s vocals peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the RIAA certified it quadruple platinum for selling more than 4 million copies. The hit is just one of Legend’s many collaborations with artists including Kelly Clarkson, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, David Guetta, Sérgio Mendes, The Black Eyed Peas and Mary J. Blige.

‘Start a Fire’

Legend co-wrote and performed this song for 2016 musical film “La La Land,” which received a record-breaking seven wins at the 74th Golden Globe Awards in 2017, winning in every category for which the movie was nominated. The film also won six Oscars at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017, tying the record for most Oscar nominations with 1997 romance “Titanic” and 1950 drama “All About Eve” at 14.

‘Beauty and the Beast’

Ariana Grande and Legend covered Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson’s “Beauty and the Beast” as a title track for Disney’s 2017 live-action adaptation of the film starring Emma Watson. The song’s music video has accrued more than 174 million views on YouTube since its release last year.

‘Gethsemane (I Only Wanted to Say)’

Legend performed this solo, and hit some pretty epic high notes in the process, while playing the title role of Jesus and acting as an executive producer on NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” opposite the likes of Sara Bareilles, who played Mary Magdalene, and Alice Cooper, who played King Herod. The TV special adaptation of the rock opera musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice went on to receive five wins at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards this year out of 13 nominations, including a nomination for Legend as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.

‘What Christmas Means to Me’

Legend teamed up with the legendary Stevie Wonder to re-create this holiday classic as the first track on Legend’s new Christmas album, “A Legendary Christmas.” The track is ranked most popular on the album on music sites including Amazon and Google Play.

Features Reporter

Sarah Harris writes about arts and entertainment for the Daily Herald.

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