Pastime Paradise

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"Pastime Paradise"
Song by Stevie Wonder
from the album Songs in the Key of Life[1]
Released 1976
Genre Soul, pop
Length 3:27
Label Motown
Songwriter(s) Stevie Wonder
Producer(s) 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[2]
Genre Soul, Latin
Length 4:31
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.