“For once I can say
This is mine you can’t take it…”
Actually, it was Stevie’s first. Although even Stevie took it from someone else.
“For Once in My Life” was written by Ron Miller and Orlando Murden for Motown Records and first recorded in 1966 by Barbara McNair.
It was first released in 1966 by Jean DuShon, sung as a slow ballad. Other early versions of the ballad were issued by The Four Tops, The Temptations, Diana Ross and Tony Bennett. In 1967, Stevie Wonder kicked up the tempo and took it all the way to #2 on the Billboard R&B charts, held off the #1 spot by Marvin Gaye‘s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
Frank Sinatra covered “For Once In My Life” on his 1969 My Way album—along with a few other tunes he gleaned from popular artists of that era and did, well, his way… for better or worse.