Innervisions Stevie Wonder
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- 1Too High04:36
- 3Living For The City07:22
- 4Golden Lady05:01
- 5Higher Ground03:42
- 6Jesus Children Of America04:10
- 7All In Love Is Fair03:42
- 8Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing04:45
- 9He's Misstra Know-It-All05:35
Info for Innervisions
After breaking away from the Motown singles mode, Wonder began creating albums that were visionary in concept, sound, and construction. The greatest of these is 1973's „Innervisions“ (1976's „Song In The Key Of Live“ was also an indisputable masterpiece, yet it lacks the economy and focus of Innervisions).
Moving largely away from romantic themes (the beautiful 'Golden Lady' is the exception), Wonder tackles the socio-cultural landscape of 1970s America, including drugs, urban life, and crooked politicians, in addition to questions of identity, faith, and idealism. The album is also more musically ambitious than anything Wonder had attempted before. 'Too High,' the album's opener, has a buoyant, jazzy feel with a subtly complex interaction between instruments and vocals.
'Livin' for the City' is a story-song with a stomping beat, gospel flavor, and a dramatic interlude and outro. The churning 'Higher Ground' segues into the fierce, slinky groove of 'Jesus Children of America' (complete with burbling Arp and Moog synthesizers). The intensity of these songs is not mitigated by the slower songs, which are equally stirring, but by the exuberant, Latin-esque 'Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing,' one of the album's highlights. From beginning to end, „Innervisions“ is a work of genius--a powerful, complex, yet accessible pop masterpiece.
„Innervisions' continues in kind, thanks to songs as accessible and inspired as the jazzy 'Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing' or the deliciously melancholy 'All in Love Is Fair'. 'Innervisions' also finds Wonder addressing deeper issues, as 'Living for the City' dramatizes the in-justice of black urban life while 'Higher Ground' and 'Jesus Children of America' evoke a sense of spiritual struggle.' (Rolling Stone)
Stevie Wonder, vocals, harmonica, piano, Fender Rhodes, keyboards, synthesizer, drums
Dean Parks, guitar, acoustic guitar
David T. Walker, guitar, electric guitar
Ralph Hammer, guitar, acoustic guitar
Clarence Bell, organ
Robert Margouleff, ARP synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, programming
Malcolm Cecil, bass
Willie Weeks, bass
Scott Edwards, bass
Dan Barbiero, recorder
Austin Godsey, recorder
Sheila Wilkerson, bongos, percussion
Yusuf Roahman, shaker, percussion
Larry Latimer, vocals, congas, percussion
Jim Gilstrap, vocals, background vocals
Lani Groves, vocals, background vocals
Tasha Thomas, vocals, background vocals
Recorded at Media Sound Studios, New York, NY, Media Sound, Inc, NY, Record Plant Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Engineered by Malcolm Cecil, Robert Margouleff, Dan Barbiero, Austin Godsey
Produced by Stevie Wonder, Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff
Ranked #23 in Rolling Stone's '500 Greatest Albums Of All Time'
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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