The Songs of Summer #72-74: Stevie Wonder Triple Play
More Stevie Wonder for your ear pleasure today…Is there such a thing as too much Stevie Wonder? No, there is not.Well, at least you get up to his 1980’s recordings and beyond…Stevie’s a musical treasure, but I don’t think I’m going to ruffle too many feathers if I say that the quality of his output started to seriously suffer after about 1980. But that’s ok, because we still have his 60’s and massive 70’s work to fall back to.
Maybe it’s because I’m a born and bred Michigan boy, but doesn’t Motown just sound a little bit better in the summertime? It does, doesn’t it? And no Motown sounds more ‘summer’ to me than Stevie Wonder.
Again, I do honestly believe it’s because I was exposed to these hit songs quite a bit in the summers of my childhood… And I’d like to say to every teenager and adult who bought or played a Stevie Wonder album or 45 in the 70’s, every person responsible for playing these songs on the radio, in their cars, in their homes, restaurants, stores, wherever….Thank You. Thank you for putting so much Stevie into the world for my young ears to gather and process into some of my favorite music ever. I guess it doesn’t hurt that Stevie Wonder was writing and performing at a genius-quality level back then. So much goodness, so today I’m putting not one, not two, but THREE Stevie Wonder songs on the big Songs of Summer List.
‘Master Blaster (Jammin’)‘ is up first, a hit single for Stevie in 1980, his last big hit of the 70’s before he started heading for the MOR, cheesy side of town. An easy-going reggae tribute to Bob Marley, who opened for Stevie on tour that year.
Next up: ‘Boogie On Reggae Woman,’ a 1974 slab of funk with nary a trace of reggae in it (or boogie for that matter.) What it does have is a super funky Moog synth bass line and lots of Stevie’s trademark harmonica playing. So good.
Last, but not least, not by a long damn shot, is what I feel is not only Stevie Wonder’s finest moment, but one of the pinnacles of human musical endeavors, ‘Superstition.’ This massive #1 hit from 1972 needs no introduction; it’s still heard everywhere today. From the opening drum beat to the synth bass to Stevie’s ridiculously funky clavinet riff, ‘Superstition‘ is the funkiest hit song ever. It’s literally one of the greatest songs ever recorded. It’s iconic. It will never get old. It will never die. It is immortal. It’s 4 and a half minutes of the sound of heaven itself.
You could say that if there’s not a little bit of Stevie Wonder playing in the summertime, it’s not really summer, but you don’t have to, ’cause I just did.
BONUS!! I remember as a little kid seeing Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street. God, am I lucky to have been a kid in a time where children’s television was this damn cool:
DOUBLE BONUS!!! How DARE you think that just because Stevie Wonder released some questionable music in recent years that he’s lost one tiny bit of his infinite coolness. He hasn’t. He never will. For example, there was the time in 2010 when he destroyed the crowd at the Bonnaroo festival with a devastating performance…on a keytar.