Friday, March 9, 2018

A Window Above: Superstition

Song: "Superstition"
Writer: Stevie Wonder
Original Release: October 24, 1972
Album: Talking Book (lead single)

"Superstition" is a work of genius.  That's almost redundant when speaking of the music of Stevie Wonder but the creation of this particular song - one of his biggest hits, mind you - is especially extraordinary.  Guitarist Jeff Beck, a rising star in his own right, was brought in to collaborate during the Talking Book sessions.  One day, between recording sessions, he played what would become the opening drum beat of "Superstition."  Stevie asked Beck to keep playing while he improvised the rest of the song.  That's right.  One of the masterpieces of funk and soul, including its signature organ riff, was essentially made up on the spot.  On the final recording, Stevie played all of the parts except trumpet and sax.



I first heard the song, and Stevie, on Sesame Street:


14 comments:

  1. I never really got into Stevie Wonder, but I guess I should give this song another listen.

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    1. After that Sesame Street intro, I didn't really get to know Stevie until the '80s, when his music was a mere shadow of its former greatness. But his early '70s albums - Talking Book, Innervisions, Songs in the Key of Life - are breathtaking and his legacy is obvious. Prince would have followed a different path without Stevie's influence, as would pretty much every hip-hop artist ever.

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  2. Ha! We must be close to the same age, since my first exposure to Stevie was that Sesame Street appearance, too. Somewhere on youtube is an analysis that attempts to separate out the multiple (6? 8?) overlapping keyboard riffs in Superstition. Sublime.

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    1. The whole album is mind blowing. This track seems the most likely to stand the test of time.

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  3. Stevie Wonder is a legend!

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    1. After the Beatles, he’s probably my favorite.

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  4. I have two copies of Talking Book on vinyl, just in case one gets damaged or old. What can I say; I really like Stevie Wonder.

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  5. I love this song and I love even more that it was created on the spot. Awesome! Such talent. :) Plus- so much feeling in the music as well.
    ~Jess

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