Superstition (song)

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For other uses, see Superstition (disambiguation).
"Superstition"
Single by Stevie Wonder
from the album Talking Book
B-side "You've Got It Bad Girl"
Released October 1972
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded 1972, New York
Genre Funk
Length 4:26 (album version)
4:07 (45 version)
Label Tamla
Writer(s) Stevie Wonder
Producer(s) Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder singles chronology
"Keep On Running"
(1972)
"Superstition"
(1972)
"You Are the Sunshine of My Life"
(1973)
Music sample

"Superstition" is a popular song written, produced, arranged, and performed by Stevie Wonder for Motown Records in 1972. It was the lead single for Wonder's Talking Book album,[1] and released in many countries. It reached number one in the U.S.,[2] and number one on the soul singles chart.[3] Overseas, it peaked at number eleven in the UK during February 1973. In November 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song at No. 74 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song deals with superstitions,[2] and mentions several popular superstitious fables in its lyrics.

Background[edit]

Jeff Beck created the original drum beat while in the studio with Wonder. After writing the song, Wonder offered it to Beck to record, but at the insistence of Berry Gordy, Wonder recorded it first.[4] Beck was instead offered "Cause We've Ended As Lovers", which he recorded on Blow by Blow in 1975. Beck played guitar on the Talking Book album track "Lookin' For Another Pure Love" and later recorded his own version of "Superstition" as a part of Beck, Bogert & Appice on their eponymous debut album. Wonder's music had been undergoing a marked change from his earlier fit with the Motown Sound to a more personal style.[vague][citation needed] This shift had been evident on his two prior albums, Where I'm Coming From and Music of My Mind, but it was Talking Book and "Superstition" that brought the new style to the awareness of the public in general.

The song's opening drum beat was performed by Wonder on the kit that Scott Mathews provided at the Record Plant in Hollywood. Its iconic funky clavinet riff played on a Hohner Clavinet C was also played by Wonder. The song also features trumpet and saxophone, played respectively by Steve Madaio and Trevor Laurence.

The song also was Stevie Wonder's first number-one single since the live version of "Fingertips Pt. 2" topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963.

Other recorded versions[edit]

Stevie Wonder performed a live-in-the-studio version of "Superstition" on Sesame Street in 1973. This version later appeared on the collection, Songs from the Street: 35 Years in Music.[5][6]

Stevie Ray Vaughan recorded a live version in 1986, which was released on his album Live Alive. The accompanying music video features Vaughan and a stage crew setting up for a concert he planned to do on Friday the 13th, and Wonder appears at the end.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Superstition: Stevie Wonder". Rolling Stone. December 9, 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  2. ^ a b Dean, Maury (2003). Rock N' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. p. 276. ISBN 0-87586-207-1. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 635. 
  4. ^ "Jeff Beck On World Cafe". 
  5. ^ "Stevie Wonder Visits Sesame Street In 1973". Sunday Cinema. JamBase. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Hornbach, Jean-Pierre (11 February 2012). Whitney Houston: We Love You Forever. p. 427. ISBN 9781471631795. 

External links[edit]

Tim Hughes, "Superstition", Groove and Flow: Six Analytical Essays on the Music of Stevie Wonder, University of Washington PhD dissertation (2003), pp. 140–177, which can be downloaded here: http://www.academia.edu/217945/_Groove_and_Flow_Six_Analytical_Essays_on_the_Music_of_Stevie_Wonder_

Preceded by
"You're So Vain" by Carly Simon
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
January 27, 1973 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Crocodile Rock" by Elton John
Preceded by
"Me and Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul
Billboard's Best Selling Soul Singles number-one single
January 6, 1973 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Why Can't We Live Together" by Timmy Thomas