Ranking Stevie Wonder top tens

As in the case of Marvin Gaye, appreciation of Stevland Morris’ self-produced masterworks overshadows the achievements of his youth, which, as the list below indicates, are considerable. Radiant and almost transparent, flexible when the situation demands it, Stevie Wonder’s vocals are one of America’s greatest gifts to the world, despite the Nixon-Ford-Carter-Reagan years in which it flaunted its range. Until a few weeks ago I had no idea about “Heaven Help Us All, nor was I sufficiently aware of “If You Really Love Me”; with its Funk Brothers rhythm and ebullient Syreeta Wright backing it straddles several decades of mid tempo balladry.

A word about his Meh entry. I can’t deny the melodic tricks in “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Sure, he dumbed down — if you didn’t think “Master Blaster” and “That Girl” didn’t already represent diminishments of his considerable craft, which I don’t because Wonder coasts on craft like you and I do on relative clauses. But he enunciates “No wedding Saturday within the month of June” like no pro can.

Meh

I Just Called to Say I Love You

Sound, Solid Entertainments

Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours
Fingertips – Part 1
Part-Time Lover
Master Blaster (Jammin’)
Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday
Send One Your Love
Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day
I Was Made to Love Her
That’s What Friends Are For (Dionne Warwick and Friends)
Blowin’ in the Wind
Sir Duke
Go Home

Good to Great

Higher Ground
My Cherie Amour
For Once in My Life
Superstition
Heaven Help Us All
Uptight (Everything’s Alright)
That Girl
If You Really Love Me
I Wish
You Are the Sunshine of My Life
You Haven’t Done Nothin’
Living for the City
Boogie On Reggae Woman

1 thought on “Ranking Stevie Wonder top tens

  1. Jukebox

    No_ I don’t consider Master Blaster a diminishment of craft. Davis Dennis drums are scorching and the pianet it’s a lovely decor to the song. I love tribute dongs done tasty, with talent involved and heartfelt. But I find that 1984 smachltzy ditty unlistenably tacky. Vulgar. Lazy. No Libra Sun and no Place to Hide.

    Anyway, like Prince in a way, during the late 60s to early 80s, Wonder haven’t had a less than good single in the top 10.You can like it more or less. But come to think of it: “Golden Lady”, “Tuesday Heartbreak” “Creepin”- ALL B fucking sides! Some famous. acts A-sides are not even that good. An embarrasment of riches!!
    The Brits, once more, trasnformed “Misstra Know It All” into a top ten in 1974. In America, not even a single. Enough said.

    Reply

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