Stevie Wonder – As (Starters for Ten #201) 1.10.21

Starters for Ten 2019 – #201: Top Ten Sunday morning tracks: 190720

Stevie Wonder – As (1976)

Throughout 2019 Jem of Jemtunes is taking you through 36 top tens and one top five. Tunes for a whole gamut of reasons including genre, mood, time of year or simply time itself. Sometimes there’s be words but mostly it’ll simply be the music. Because music always speaks for itself.

Kickstarting the 21st – running between 20 and 29 July and featuring my top ten Sunday morning tracks – here to start things off, is Stevie Wonder’s As from the 1976 album ‘Songs in the Key of Life’.

Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke (Starters for Ten #141) 1/10 (15)

Starters for Ten 2019 – #141: Top Ten Boogie tracks: 190521

Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke (1976)

Throughout 2019 Jem of Jemtunes is taking you through 36 top tens and one top five. Tunes for a whole gamut of reasons including genre, mood, time of year or simply time itself. Sometimes there’s be words but mostly it’ll simply be the music. Because music always speaks for itself.

Kickstarting the 15th – featuring my top ten boogie tracks, and running between 21 and 30 May – here’s Sir Duke from Stevie Wonder’s 1976 classic ‘Songs in the key of life.

Stevie Wonder – I wish (Starters for Ten #027) 7/10 (3)

Starters for Ten 2019 – 27: Top Ten Spinetingler tracks: 190127

Stevie Wonder – I wish (1976)

Throughout 2019 Jem of Jemtunes is taking you through 36 top tens and one top five. Tunes for a whole gamut of reasons including genre, mood, time of year or simply time itself. Sometimes there’s be words but mostly it’ll simply be the tune itself. Because the music always speaks for itself.

Continuing the third, running between 21 and 30 January and featuring my top ten Spinetingler tracks, here’s I wish from Stevie Wonder’s subliminal 1976 album ‘Songs in the key of life’.

And the really great thing about this particular clip is that, if you look really hard, you might just catch a glimpse of me and Mrs C in the July 2016 Hyde Park crowd boogieing along in the sunshine. Because we were there!

Stevie Wonder – The secret life of plants (Epic #355)

The Epic 2017 Project #355: 171221

Stevie Wonder – The secret life of plants (1979)

Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants” was released on the Tamla Motown label on October 30, 1979. It is the soundtrack to the documentary The Secret Life of Plants, directed by Walon Green, which was based on the book of the same name by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird.

Stevie Wonder – Songs in the key of life (Epic #354)

The Epic 2017 Project #354: 171220

Stevie Wonder – Songs in the key of life (1976)

Songs in the Key of Life is the eighteenth album from Stevie Wonder, released on September 28, 1976, by Motown Records, through its division Tamla Records. The album was recorded primarily at Crystal Sound studio in Hollywood, with some sessions recorded at the Record Plant in Hollywood, the Record Plant in Sausalito, and The Hit Factory in New York City. Final mixing was performed at Crystal Sound.

An ambitious double LP with a four-song bonus EP, Songs in the Key of Life became the best-selling and most critically acclaimed album of his career. In 2003, it was ranked number 57 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In the same year it was preserved into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, which called it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

In the summer of 2016 we had the really special privilege of seeing him perform the whole of the album live at London’s Hyde Park. Probably one of the best gigs I have ever been to. Over six hours of pure heaven.

Stevie Wonder – Fulfillingness first finale (Epic #353)

The Epic 2017 Project #353: 171219

Stevie Wonder – Fulfillingness first finale (1974)

Released on July 22, 1974 on the Tamla label, this was Stevie Wonder’s nineteenth album overall, and seventeenth studio album. It was his first studio album to top the Pop Albums chart where it remained for two weeks, while it was his third album to top the R&B/Black Albums chart where it spent nine non-consecutive weeks.

Whilst largely a stripped down, more personal sounding album, Wonder had not completely foregone social commentary on the world around him. The No. 1 hit “You Haven’t Done Nothin'” launched a pointed criticism of the Nixon administration bolstered by funky clavinet, drum machine, and a Jackson 5 cameo.

The album received three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, in 1974.

Stevie Wonder – Talking Book (Epic #352)

The Epic 2017 Project #352: 171218

Stevie Wonder – Talking Book (1972)

Sandwiched between the release of Music of My Mind and Innervisions, Talking Book (released in October 1972 and Stevie Wonder’s 15th studio album) saw him enjoying more artistic freedom from Motown. Guest appearances include Jeff Beck, Ray Parker, Jr., David Sanborn, and Buzz Feiten.

The sound of the album is sharply defined by Wonder’s keyboard work, especially with the synthesizers he incorporated, giving a funky edge to tracks like “Maybe Your Baby”. His use of the Hohner clavinet model C on “Superstition” is widely regarded as one of the definitive tracks featuring the instrument. His clavinet embellishments on “Big Brother”, though, evoke a six-string acoustic guitar, and his note-bending harmonica work touches on some folk and blues influences.

Stevie Wonder – Inner Visions (Epic #351)

The Epic 2017 Project #351: 171217

Stevie Wonder – Inner Visions (1973)

Innervisions was Stevie Wonder’s 16th studio album, released on 3rd August, 1973, on the Tamla label for Motown Records, a landmark recording of his “classic period”. The nine tracks of Innervisions encompass a wide range of themes and issues: from drug abuse in “Too High”, through inequality and systemic racism in “Living for the City”, to love in the ballads “All in Love Is Fair” and “Golden Lady”. The album’s closer, “He’s Misstra Know-It-All”, is a scathing attack on then-US President Richard Nixon, similar to Wonder’s song a year later, “You Haven’t Done Nothin'”.

As with many of Stevie Wonder’s albums, the lyrics, composition and production are almost entirely his own work, with the ARP synthesizer used prominently throughout the album. The instrument was a common motif among musicians of the time because of its ability to construct a complete sound environment. Wonder was the first black artist to experiment with this technology on a mass scale, and Innervisions was hugely influential on the subsequent future of commercial black music. He also played all or virtually all instruments on six of the album’s nine tracks, making most of Innervisions a representative one-man band.

Stevie Wonder – Ordinary Pain (Leaping Ahead #315)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #315: 161110

[A song from an artiste’s name beginning with W]

We had the pleasure and privilege of seeing Stevie Wonder perform the whole of the ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ album live in London’s Hyde Park back in the summer. It was a subliminal gig in every way. But if there was one moment that completely floated my boat, it was this one. Ordinary Pain live was something else and on absolutely every level.