Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants Stevie Wonder
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- 1Earth's Creation04:07
- 2The First Garden02:33
- 3Voyage To India06:29
- 4Same Old Story03:46
- 5Venus' Flytrap And The Bug02:26
- 6Ai No Sono02:07
- 8Power Flower05:31
- 9Send One Your Love03:06
- 10Race Babbling08:54
- 11Send One Your Love04:02
- 12Outside My Window05:30
- 13Black Orchid03:47
- 15Kesse Ye Lolo De Ye03:02
- 16Come Back As A Flower03:42
- 17A Seed's A Star/Tree Medley05:42
- 18The Secret Life Of Plants04:30
Info for Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants
Stevie Wonder broke a three-year silence, one that followed a series of six classic albums released within six years, with this double album, the score/soundtrack to a little-seen environmental documentary directed by Wild Bunch co-screenwriter Walon Green. From the release of Songs in the Key of Life through the release of Plants, Wonder had been active, actually, but only as a collaborator, working with Ramsey Lewis, the Pointer Sisters, Minnie Riperton, Syreeta, Ronnie Foster, and Michael Jackson. Even so, three years was a considerable lag between albums.
Anticipation was so high that this release peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 and R&B album charts. It quickly slipped to footnote status; when Wonder's 1972-1980 albums were reissued in 2000, it was left out of the program. Plants is a sprawling, fascinating album. Though it is dominated by synthesizer-heavy instrumental pieces with evocative titles, there is a handful of full-blown songs. The gorgeous, mostly acoustic ballad 'Send One Your Love' was a Top Ten R&B single, while the joyous 'Outside My Window' registered in the Top 60. Beyond that, there's the deep classic 'Come Back as a Flower,' a gently lapping, piano-led ballad featuring Syreeta on vocals.
Otherwise, there are playfully oddball tracks like 'Venus' Flytrap and the Bug,' where Wonder chirps 'Please don't eat me!' through robotizing effects, and 'A Seed's a Star,' which incorporates crowd noise, a robotized monologue, and a shrieking Tata Vega over a funkier and faster version of Yellow Magic Orchestra. The album is not for everyone, but it suited its purpose and allowed its maker an amount of creative wiggle room that few major-label artists experience.“ (Andy Kellman)
Stevie Wonder, vocals, various instruments
Tata Vega, vocals
Ben Bridges, guitar
Rick Zunigar, guitar
Michael Sembello, guitar
Hank Redd, saxophone
Larry Gittens, trumpet
Ron Kersey, keyboards
Nathan Watts, bass
Ibrahim Camara, percussion
Lamine Konte, percussion
Dennis Davis, percussion
Joe Johnson, percussion
Earl DeRouen, percussion
Kathy Collier, background vocals
Susaye Greene, background vocals
Josie James, background vocals
Abdoulaye Soumare, background vocals
Angela Winbush, background vocals
Shirley Brewer, background vocals
Alexandra Brown, background vocals
Marva Halcolm, background vocals
Produced by Stevie Wonder
Engineered by Gary Olazabal
Dubbed “Little Stevie Wonder” by Motown’s Berry Gordy, he was signed to the label when he was only 12 years old and was just 13 when the live recording “Fingertips (Part 2)” hit no. 1 pop and R&B. Playing harmonica, drums and keyboards, as well as singing, the boy who had been blind from infancy proved aptly named. While still a teenager--dropping the “Little” from his stage name--he earned seven top 10 pop singles, including “For Once In My Life,” “My Cherie Amour,” “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday,” “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and “I Was Made To Love Her.”
By age 20, he was self-sufficient in the studio, writing, playing every instrument and serving as his own producer, including for such hits as “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and “If You Really Love Me.” He broadened his vision from pure pop to the socially conscious. He began exploring exotic musical ideas incorporating gospel, rock, jazz, reggae, and African and Latin American rhythms, and pioneered the use of synthesizers.
Turning 21 in 1971, Stevie holed up in a New York studio and refused to sign with Motown until he was given autonomy to record as he please. Motown agreed and the groundbreaking Music Of My Mind was released followed the next year. Later that year came Talking Book, which boasted the no. 1 pop and R&B hits “Superstition” and “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” Innervisions, featuring the Top 10 hit “Higher Ground,” “Don’t You Worry ’Bout A Thing” and the epic “Living For The City,” was a landmark LP that became the his first of three consecutive Grammy® Albums of the Year.
While the record was riding high, Wonder was in a near-fatal accident. He recovered to record another deeply felt album, Fulfillingness’ First Finale, in 1974, that featured the no. 1 pop “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” (with the Jackson 5 on background vocals) and no. 1 R&B “Boogie On Reggae Woman.”
Songs In The Key Of Life was an instant no. 1 album, the first by an American artist to debut at the top spot, where it remained for an incredible 14 weeks. It was highlighted by the no. 1 pop and R&B hits “I Wish” and “Sir Duke.” By the late seventies, Wonder was also leading the way in New Age instrumental music with the soundtrack album Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants, which featured the ballad hit “Send One Your Love.” He won 15 Grammys in just four years.
Wonder kicked off the eighties with his funk classic “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” a tribute to Bob Marley, and “Happy Birthday,” the theme song for the successful campaign to establish the birthday of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a national holiday. Both were included on the album Hotter Than July. Balancing public causes and private emotion, he scored with the no. 1 R&B “That Girl” in 1982. A champion of racial harmony, he joined Paul McCartney on the no. 1 pop “Ebony And Ivory” later that year.
Wonder contributed songs to the Gene Wilder film The Woman In Red in 1984, when the theme song, “I Just Called To Say I Love You,” hit no. 1 pop, R&B and adult contemporary. It also became Wonder’s first no. 1 in the U.K. With Elton John and Gladys Knight, he also appeared on Dionne Warwick’s 1985 no. 1 pop “That’s What Friends Are For,” which benefited AIDS research. That same year, he won the Oscar® for Best Song for “I Just Called To Say I Love You”; was spotlighted in “We Are The World,” the landmark charity effort for African famine relief; and “Part-Time Lover,” from the album In Square Circle, became the first single to simultaneously top the pop, R&B, adult contemporary and dance/disco charts.
The nineties and the new millennium were marked by collaborations with artists as diverse as Prince and Sting, Babyface and Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg and Andrea Bocelli, Sting and Tony Bennett, and projects as varied as the Broadway musical Rent and Spike Lee’s film Jungle Fever.
Wonder was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. As of mid-2008, Wonder has earned 25 solo Top 10 pop hits, among them seven no. 1’s, and won 22 Grammy Awards--plus a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1996. His 2005 Motown album A Time 2 Love garnered six Grammy nominations and won two, including one for “So Amazing,” Wonder’s duet with Beyonce.
For Rolling Stone magazine’s 2004 article “The Immortals – The Greatest Artists Of All Time,” Elton John wrote about Stevie Wonder: “When he comes into a room, people adore him. And there aren’t many artists like that. People admire you and they like your records, but they don’t want to stand up and hug you. But this man is a good man. He tries to use his music to do good. His message, I think, is about love, and in the world we live in today, that message does shine through.”
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