Russell included this song on his first solo album in 1970, but it wasn't released as a single. In 1971, was popularized by two very different singers: the crooner Andy Williams, and the R&B sensation Donny Hathaway (Williams made #82 US with his version). The female singer Jaye P. Morgan also recorded a popular version that year, and the Carpenters made it the title track of their 1972 album.
Ray Charles released his version in 1993, which bubbled under at #104; Herbie Hancock recorded it with Christina Aguilera on vocals for his 2005 album Possibilities
; Whitney Houston included a disco-inflected, Stargate-produced rendition
on her 2009 album I Look To You
, where it was the only cover song.
The song also got attention from singing shows. In 2006, American Idol
contestant Elliott Yamin sang it on the show, earning raves from Simon Cowell, who referred to the performance as a "vocal masterclass." In 2008, X Factor
winner Leon Jackson released the song on his debut album Right Now