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Superstition
Stevie Wonder
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Part of Stevie’s peerless run of classic tunes from the early 70s, Superstition was written with crossover success firmly in mind. It was originally intended for Jeff Beck as a thank you for the guitarist’s help on the Talking Book album, but when Motown heard it they released Wonder’s version as a single.
Stevie Wonder
Song facts
Composer Stevie Wonder
Genre Soul
Album Talking Book
Released 1972
UK Chart 11

A musical polymath, Wonder started the song by playing the funky drum pattern and humming a melody over the top.  The signature clavinet lick consists of two parts, panned into the left and right, creating a gloriously funky polyrhythmic stew over which Wonder’s melody bounces. At the time Wonder was heavily involved in synthesiser technology, thanks to his collaborations with electronic musicians Cecil and Robert Margouleff. The clavinet was fed through a synthesiser, which also provided the bubbling bass line.

Stevie first performed Superstitious during an American tour supporting the Rolling Stones, which was partly responsible for introducing him to a largely white audience, although the lyric was aimed primarily at his core black listeners. “A lot of people, especially black folks, let superstition rule their lives,” he said. “This is crazy. The worst thing is, the more you believe in it, the more bad things happen to you.”

Superstition became Wonder’s first US number one since 1963. As a collision of down and dirty funk with cutting edge technology, it was without precedent. Jeff Beck, however, was less than pleased, even though his own version eventually surfaced on the Beck, Bogart and Appice album.



Stevie Wonder talks about Soul music
Stevie Wonder
In a interview with Richard Williams from a 1972 edition of The Old Grey Whistle Test, Stevie Wonder talks about not wanting be typecast as a soul singer - "Having soul is having the abilty to express what you feel inwardly".

 

Other versions
Mel Torme
 Mel Torme counjoured up a stonking version of Superstition on his Live At The Maisonette album from 1975.

Superstition was the high point in Stevie's fantastic musical career


Denise, Newquay

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