Living for the City

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"Living for the City"
Single by Stevie Wonder
from the album Innervisions
B-side "Visions"
Released November 1973
Format 7" 45 RPM
Genre Soul
Length 7:21 (full-length version)
3:41 (single edit)
Label Tamla
Writer(s) Stevie Wonder
Producer(s) Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder singles chronology
"Higher Ground"
(1973)
"Living for the City"
(1973)
"Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing"
(1974)
Innervisions track listing
Side One
  1. "Too High"
  2. "Visions"
  3. "Living for the City"
  4. "Golden Lady"
Side Two
  1. "Higher Ground"
  2. "Jesus Children of America"
  3. "All in Love Is Fair"
  4. "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing"
  5. "He's Misstra Know-It-All"

"Living for the City" is a 1973 hit single by Stevie Wonder from his Innervisions album. It reached #8 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart and #1 on the R&B chart.[1] Rolling Stone ranked the song #105 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[2]

Wonder played all the instruments on the song and was assisted by Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff for recording engineering and synthesizer programming.[3] It was one of the first soul music songs to deal explicitly with systemic racism and to use everyday sounds of the street like traffic, voices and sirens which were combined with the music recorded in the studio.[4] The song tells the story of a young African American man, a southern migrant, arriving in New York City.[5] He is tricked into carrying drugs and is arrested, convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison.[6]

Samples[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 8[8]
U.S. Billboard Hot Soul Singles 1
U.K. Singles Chart 15[9]
German Singles Chart 20[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 635. 
  2. ^ "Stevie Wonder, 'Living for the City'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Hogan, Ed. "Stevie Wonder - Living For The City". All Music. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Williams, Tenley (2002). Stevie Wonder. Philadelphia: Chelsea House publishers. ISBN 9781438122632. 
  5. ^ Sullivan, Steve (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 2. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810882959. 
  6. ^ Owsinski, Bobby. Bobby Owsinski's Deconstructed Hits: Classic Rock, Vol. 1 - Uncover the Stories & Techniques Behind 20 Iconic Songs. ISBN 9780739093894. 
  7. ^ Breihan, Tom (2010-01-14). "Pitchfork: Track Reviews: Usher - "Little Freak" [ft. Nicki Minaj]". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  8. ^ "Stevie Wonder — Chart history". www.billboard.com. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Stevie Wonder — Official UK charts". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Stevie Wonder — German charts". www.charts.de. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)" by The Staple Singers
Billboard's Hot Soul Singles number one single
December 29, 1973 - January 5, 1974
Succeeded by
"Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" by Aretha Franklin