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The Sound of Stevie Wonder: His Words and Music (The Praeger by James E. Perone

By James E. Perone

When you consider that his expert debut in 1962, Stevie ask yourself has recorded sixty-four singles that experience made the Billboard most sensible a hundred, together with ten that reached no 1. ask yourself used to be one of many first Motown artists to have entire regulate over the writing, arranging, and recording of his songs, and accomplished that stature prior to he was once twenty years outdated. He has received 17 Grammy awards, used to be elected to the Rock and Roll corridor of repute in 1989, and earned the Grammy's Lifetime fulfillment Award in 1996. both vital, his paintings as a manufacturer, arranger, and instrumentalist on different artists' recordings has placed him within the maximum rank of musical collaborators. this is often the 1st paintings of feedback in this vital documentarian of yank existence, in addition to the introductory quantity within the Praeger Singer-Songwriter assortment. via a mix of biography and important research, James Perone's groundbreaking new booklet finds the various ways that Stevie Wonder's physique of labor emerged, built, mirrored its time, and prompted myriad different artists.After revealing the social, cultural, and political context of Wonder's paintings, the booklet offers specific research of his compositions and recordings, with a spotlight on either his recognized songs and people identified purely to his hardcore enthusiasts. the quantity additionally comprises discussions of canopy types of Wonder's compositions, a discography of his recordings, a tune identify index, an annotated bibliography, and a normal index.

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That is, the utter contriteness of the character who sings the song. Both the Holland-Whitfield song and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” were highly successful commercially and both continue to be heard on oldies radio even today. Contrast this to some of the material Wonder was to write and record within two years—specifically several of the songs on his self-produced album Music of My Mind—material that would present the singer’s character as anything but contrite. Songs with a simple moral premise—I realize the wrong I’ve done, and now I’m begging for your forgiveness—such as “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” made a greater connection with audiences (as measured by record sales) than the “superbad” material Wonder was to record for a fortunately very brief period.

This note, the dominant, leads naturally back to the B-flat. Henry Cosby’s scoring of these parallel phrases (phrases that begin with the same melody) at first for guitar and flute—Wonder joins in with his voice on the repeat—provides a vivid, unusual tone color: an orchestrational hook, as it were. Wonder’s use of the minor pentatonic scale (a five-note scale sounds like a blues scale missing one note) was nothing new, and he would turn to it again in several other compositions. ” The real melodic genius of “My Cherie Amour” lies in the way in which the melody of the verses almost immediately enriches the gamut of pitches to include the notes B-natural and C.

That Wonder was the wrong personality to sing the song is substantiated by the poor sales of the single release of “Keep On Running”: it made it only to No. 36 on the Billboard R&B charts and a decidedly cool No. 90 on the Billboard pop charts. It was one of the least well-received singles of his career. Eventually, Stevie Wonder would become more masterful at creating and depicting fictional characters in his songs—the early 1980s song “Front Line” is one example—but some of the characters Wonder imagined in Music of My Mind just were too extreme, too divorced from the soul of Stevland Morris to work.

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