Tag: “High Fidelity”

GBN’s MERRY MONTH OF STEVIE: Stevie Wonder’s “Talking Book” Speaks Again Through Its Covers (LISTEN)

by Jeff Meier (FB: Jeff.Meier.90)

On a previous post, GBN presented a playlist featuring all cover versions (remakes) from Stevie Wonder‘s legendary album “Songs in the Key of Life.”

With today’s playlist, from our month of playlists devoted to Stevie Wonder in honor of his 70th birthday, we take the same approach to Stevie’s 1972 watershed album, “Talking Book.” “Talking Book” is at the front end of Stevie’s period of immense creativity in the 1970s.

Still in his early 20s, and having won creative freedom over his work in his newest Motown contract, he created a multi-textured album filled with funk rhythms, smooth soul, and swinging pop – all merged together into one genius record that still sounds great today. (To hear NPR’s “Story of Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book” segment, click here.)

The album kicks off with the elegant “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” – which has become Stevie’s most-covered song, with over 250 versions recorded by other artists through the years according to SecondHandSongs.com (a website devoted to cover songs).

Many of those versions are similar. As evidence of Stevie’s complete crossover popularity by that point in his career, ‘Sunshine’ actually became an easy listening staple, performed by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Johnny Mathis to Liza Minnelli – and also by Jim Nabors, Vicki Lawrence, Brigitte Bardot and Englebert Humperdinck.

Opening with alternative rocker Jack White‘s version of that standard, our goal is to give you a playlist that feels both familiar to your memories of the original album, but also stretches musically to a few new places.

We’ve mixed in rock, easy listening, funk, dance, a cappella, jazz, Brazilian by artists as diverse as Macy Gray, Rufus, Michael Bublé and Sergio Mendes. We’ve placed the songs in their original album order, and have limited each song to one version – and each covering artist to only one track.

The list concludes with one of the newest Stevie Wonder covers – actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph beautifully covers “I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)” for the soundtrack to “High Fidelity,” the new Hulu series in which she co-stars. Set around the vinyl-obsessed employees of a small independent record store, the choice to cover Stevie circa 2020 demonstrates that the music faithful still remain true believers in the sounds of Mr. Wonder.

Enjoy!

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MUSIC MONDAY: Stevie Wonder At The Movies (LISTEN)

So many generations have grown up listening to Stevie Wonder that people often refer to his music as “the soundtrack” to their lives.

Though his songs have appeared in countless movies over the decades, Stevie has also done literal soundtrack work during his career, contributing tracks and sometimes full albums worth of original music to over half a dozen movies.

Wonder even won an Original Song Academy Award for “I Just Called To Say I Love You,” his chart-topping hit from the 1984 movie “The Woman in Red.”

As Good Black News continues its month-long tribute to Stevie Wonder as he turns 70, Marlon West has compiled a new Spotify playlist celebrating Wonder’s unique contributions to cinema.

In Marlon’s words:

STEVIE AT THE MOVIES is another playlist devoted to the talent and impact of Stevie Wonder his birthday month of May.

My love of moviemaking and Stevie Wonder’s music resulted in the playlist of his work for films. He’s written and contributed to songs for many movies including “The Outsiders,” “The Last Dragon,” “The Adventures Of Pinocchio” and “Rent.”

He has written and produced motion picture soundtracks for “The Secret Life of Plants,” (the full album title is “Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants”) “The Woman in Red” and “Jungle Fever.”

I have included a few Stevie Wonder “needle drops” from films like “Glory Road,” “Poetic Justice,” “The Thing,” “Dead Presidents,” “Almost Famous,” “High Fidelity,” and others.

I couldn’t resist including “Gangsta’s Paradise” from the Michelle Pfeiffer-starring film “Dangerous Minds,” which of course contains a sample of “Pastime Paradise” from 1976’s “Songs In The Key Of Life.”

As always, stay, sane, safe, and kind. Take care.”

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(FB: marlon.west1 Twitter: @marlonw IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)

Marlon West (photo courtesy Marlon West)