Thirteen years old when he had his first No. 1 hit (“Fingertips — Part 2”), Stevie Wonder initially followed in the footsteps of another brilliant, blind R&B singer-keyboardist, Ray Charles. It wasn’t long, though, before he revealed his gift for playing pretty much everything; once he made a landmark agreement with Motown Records to have total creative control of his work, he released a series of wildly original records.
“Superstition” is one of Wonder’s signature songs — he played everything on the recording except the horns. True to his habit of assessing the entire culture around him, the lyrics double as a commentary on the political climate of the time. Where Motown would once have overdubbed sweeping strings, he builds a groove from layer upon layer of keyboards. Each instrument seems to be arguing with the others, and Wonder’s voice ripples across them all like he’s rendering judgment.
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