Pastime Paradise

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Pastime Paradise"
Song by Stevie Wonder
from the album Songs in the Key of Life[1]
GenreSoul, pop
Songwriter(s)Stevie Wonder
Producer(s)Stevie Wonder
Music video
"Pastime Paradise" on YouTube
"Pastime Paradise"
Single by Sunlightsquare
from the album Urban Latin Soul[2]
GenreSoul, Latin
Songwriter(s)Stevie Wonder

"Pastime Paradise" is a song from the 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life by Grammy-winning artist Stevie Wonder.[1] The song was one of the first to use a synthesizer (the Yamaha GX-1) to sound like a full string section.[3] Built initially from synth tracks rather than from a drummer setting the basic rhythm, the song is augmented with rhythm performances from Ray Maldonado, Bobbye Hall, and Wonder, and a persistent "chinging" bell pattern by Hare Krishna musicians. A gospel choir from West Angeles Church of God and Hare Krishna chanting group culminate in a multicultural finale.[4]


Steve Lodder writes listeners may understand the song two ways. One way is the comparison and contrast of the difference between the negative attitude of someone with a flawed past, and the positive outlook of someone who wishes for a perfect future in this life or the next. The other way is a description of how me-first materialism and laziness cannot compare to a strong work ethic which brings the great reward of Heaven.[5]

Covers and samplings[edit]

Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" (and its parody, "Amish Paradise" by Weird Al Yankovic), Mary J. Blige's "Time,", Basta (Noggano)'s "Russian's Paradise", Blue's "Curtain Falls" and Scarface's "Crack" each sample the song.[6] Patti Smith, Panache Culture, Sherri Winston, Karl Latham, and Sunlightsquare recorded covers of the song[7][8], and Ray Barretto recorded a Latin cover as well.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life". Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "Sunlightsquare – Urban Latin Soul". Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  3. ^ "Pastime Paradise".
  4. ^ Buskin, Richard (December 2007). "Classic Tracks: Stevie Wonder 'Pastime Paradise'". Sound on Sound.
  5. ^ "Stevie Wonder: A Musical Guide to the Classical Albums".
  6. ^ "Pastime Paradise".
  7. ^ "Pastime Paradise by Stevie Wonder".
  8. ^ "Sunlightsquare cover of Stevie Wonder's Pastime Paradise". Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  9. ^ "Ray Barretto cover of Stevie Wonder's Pastime Paradise". Retrieved May 31, 2017.