William Price King meets some Legends – Stevie Wonder – Part Two – The 1970s

Last week we enjoyed the music from Stevie Wonder’s teenage years as he established himself at the Motown label.. This week William Price King takes us through the 1970s and some of the most productive years for this talented artist.

In 1971, Wonder negotiated a new contract with Motown that gave him almost total control over his records and greatly increased his royalty rate.

This concession was unheard of at the time, but it was the impetus that Stevie Wonder needed to produce an outstanding body of work in the next few years. For the first time Stevie received the credit for writing or co-writing every track on the Where I’m Coming From album producing a top ten single ‘If you Really Love Me’.

‘Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You),‘ an emotionally rich jazz-soul opus that highlighted Wonder’s pioneering work in synthesized/electronic sounds. It was the first single from Wonder’s Music of My Mind album (1972). This song chronicles the relationship he had with his first wife, singer-composer Syreeta Wright, and features Stevie Wonder as a virtual one-man band. The song peaked at #33 on the Billboard Pop charts.

Stevie Wonder’s fans were not to be disappointed with the next album released at the end of 1972. Talking Book contained some of his most popular tracks including ‘Superstition’ and ‘You are the Sunshine of my Life’ both of which hit #1. The release of the album coincided with a tour with the Rolling Stones broadening his appeal from R&B to pop, and it was instrumental in the success of both those iconic songs.

Stevie Wonder’s ‘You are the sunshine of my life’ won him a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance (1973) and was nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. This song was Stevie’s third number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and his first number one on the Easy Listening chart. Rolling Stone ranked this song #281 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

Innervisions’ released in 1973, featured Higher Ground’ (No. 4 on the pop charts) as well as the distinctively stylish ‘Living for the City’, (No. 8). Both songs reached #1 on the R&B charts. Popular ballads such as ‘Golden Lady’ and ‘All in Love Is Fair’ were also present, in a mixture of moods that nevertheless held together as a unified whole. Innervisions generated three more Grammy Awards, including “Album of the Year.” The album is ranked # 23 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Wonder had become the most influential and acclaimed black musician of the early 1970s.

Unfortunately in August 1973, Stevie Wonder was in a serious automobile accident while on tour in North Carolina when the car he was riding in hit the back of a truck. He was in a coma for four days but despite this serious setback he was back and performing for his European tour in early 1974 in venues from Cannes to London. In March 1974 he returned to the US and played a sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden.

Immediately after this he returned to the studio and album Fulfillingness’ First Finale appeared in July 1974 and set two hits high on the pop charts: the # 1 You Haven’t Done Nothin, which railed against President Richard Nixon and featured The Jackson 5, and the Top Ten Boogie on Reggae Woman.  The album won two Grammy awards, one for Best Album and the other for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

The next milestone in Stevie Wonder’s career was the double album with EP set Songs in the Key of Life, released in September 1976, which many consider to be not only his most legendary project but also one of the greatest albums of all time. The theme of the tracks covered elements of life in America in the 1950s including ethnic diversity and love in all its varying shades of light and dark. The album became the first by an American artist to debut straight at #1 in the Billboard charts, where it stood for 14 non-consecutive weeks and the album had two pop/R&B #1 singles.

I Wish‘ single from the album  focuses on Stevie’s childhood from the 1950s into the early 1960s. The single reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B charts.

Songs in the Key of Life won Album of the Year and two other Grammys bringing Stevie Wonder’s total for the 1970s to fifteen. The album ranks 57th on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

To end the post today ‘Isn’t she lovely’  another well known composition from the album Songs in the Key of Life. This song, which celebrates the birth of his daughter Aisha, was not released as a single in the US but received major air play across the country and around the world. Stevie Wonder performed this song “live” for Queen Elizabeth II at her “Diamond Jubilee Concert,” where he modified the lyrics to refer to the Queen.

Buy the music of Stevie Wonder: https://www.amazon.com/Stevie-Wonder/e/B000AQ0PZO

Additional sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevie_Wonder

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

Previous Legends can be found here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-meets-some-legends/

You will find the previous artists..  Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Kiri Te Kanawa in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/classical-music-with-william-price-king/

And for the Jazz in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-jazz-and-music-series/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the show.. Please feel free to share.

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8 thoughts on “William Price King meets some Legends – Stevie Wonder – Part Two – The 1970s

  1. Such a wonderful trip back down memory lane William. I have all Stevie’s albums, and many from the 70s in vinyl stored away. I wasn’t aware ‘You Haven’t Done Nothin’ was written about Nixon. Fascinating post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Debby. Stevie got quite political during the ’70s in his compositions and did a lot to help move us forward. It’s amazing that you still have your old vinyls. Unfortunately, I gave mine away to a collector – well, at least he might still enjoy them (let’s hope so). Do take care and thanks, always, for your support.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s always interesting to revisit the past William. When we’re young we don’t often take in the intellectual part of things, just going with the flow enjoying music, not questioning what’s really behind a song. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: William Price King meets some Legends – Stevie Wonder – Part Two – The 1970s | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Stevie Wonder, The Neanderthals and other legends | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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