Friday, March 15, 2019

A Window Above: Pastime Paradise

Song: "Pastime Paradise"
Writer and Performer: Stevie Wonder
Original Release: September 28, 1976
Album: Songs in the Key of Life

If I have written this before, it's always worth repeating: if you wish to understand modern music, you must know Stevie Wonder's work from the early- and mid-1970s.  His legacy extends to pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop and beyond, both in terms of musical elements and technological innovation.  "Pastime Paradise" was one of the first songs to use a synthesizer to sound like a full string section.  The recording features both a gospel choir and Hare Krishna musicians as chanters and bell ringers.

"Pastime Paradise" has been sampled and covered by numerous musicians, most famously by Coolio in "Gangsta's Paradise":

"Weird" Al Yankovic, "Amish Paradise":

Want to hear all of the songs I have featured in a convenient playlist?

Enjoy: A Window Above

What are you listening to these days?


  1. I understand the influence, but I've never been able to get into Wonder.

  2. I just discovered The Thorns (check out "Among the Living" and tell me who it reminds you of...I need a second opinion) and I'm revisiting George Ezra.

    Sorry I've been an infrequent commentor, but I'll do better!

  3. Interesting take on Stevie Wonder's music.
    All the years I lived in Laguna Beach the hare Krishna used to wander up and down the street and after years of listing to them I was tired of it all.

    In the 80's there was The Dream Academy "Life In A Northern Town".they were music majors I think and used their voices as musical instruments I remember the reviews talking about it but I just can't seem to remember thing anymore. I like the song and was on a trip to the UK so it was special.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. I forgot what a great song Gangsta's Pradise was and I did not know where that riff came from. Stevie Wonder is pretty awesome.

  5. I was never that big of a Stevie Wonder fan. Don't know why.

  6. These songs are great and I love Weird Al with his brilliant parodies and this is funny especially with 2 costars from Witness