|Single by Stevie Wonder|
|from the album Talking Book|
|B-side||"You've Got It Bad Girl"|
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
|Recorded||1972, New York|
|Length||4:07 (45 version)|
|Stevie Wonder singles chronology|
"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, and released in many countries. It reached number one in the USA, and number one on the soul singles chart. Overseas, it peaked at number eleven in the UK during February 1973. In November 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song at #74 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song deals with superstitions, and mentions several popular superstitious fables in its lyrics.
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 himself recorded it first. 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.
Wonder's music had been undergoing a marked change from his earlier fit with the Motown Sound to a more personal style. 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.
To this day, Wonder regularly performs this song at his concerts, and even plays an actual clavinet onstage, the Hohner Clavinet D6.
- 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.surrey.ac.uk/Music/NewsGenInfo/AcademicStaff/Hughes/GrooveAndFlow.pdf[dead link]
"You're So Vain" by Carly Simon
|Billboard Hot 100 number one single
January 27, 1973 (one week)
"Crocodile Rock" by Elton John
"Me and Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul
|Billboard's Best Selling Soul Singles number-one single
January 6, 1973 (three weeks)
"Why Can't We Live Together" by Timmy Thomas