Pastime Paradise

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"Pastime Paradise"
Song by Stevie Wonder from the album Songs in the Key of Life
Genre Soul, pop
Length 3:27
Label Motown
Writer Stevie Wonder
Producer Stevie Wonder
Songs in the Key of Life track listing
"Knocks Me Off My Feet"
"Pastime Paradise"
"Summer Soft"
"Pastime Paradise"
Single by Sunlightsquare
from the album Urban Latin Soul[1]
Genre Soul, Latin music
Length 4:31
Writer(s) Stevie Wonder

"Pastime Paradise" is a song from the 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life by Grammy-winning artist Stevie Wonder. The song was one of the first to use a synthesizer (the Yamaha GX-1) to sound like a full string section.[2] Built initially from synth tracks rather than from a drummer setting the basic rhythm, the song was later augmented with rhythm performances from Ray Maldonado and Bobbye Hall, especially featuring finger cymbals.[3]


The lyrics attack the materialistic and pleasure seeking society of the modern times.[4] The song is said to have a religious tone due to its use of a choir and Hare Krishna chanters. Lyrics such as these represent behavior that Wonder finds as sin: "Tell me who of them will come to be. How many of them are you and me? Dissipation of race relations, consolation, segregation, dispensation, isolation, exploitation, mutilation, mutations, miscreation, confirmation to the evils of the world."[5]

Covers, samplings, and parodies[edit]

Some of the artists who have covered Pastime Paradise include Chick Corea, Patti Smith, Charlie's Roots, Ray Barretto, Najee, Eläkeläiset, Sunlightsquare. (The latter had released it as a single in 2008).[6] The song has been sampled by over a dozen artists, in songs such as "Time" by Mary J. Blige, "Crack" by Scarface, and "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio.[7][8]