Talking Book

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This article is about the 1972 album. For other uses, see Talking Book (disambiguation).
Talking Book
Talking Book.jpg
Studio album by Stevie Wonder
Released October 28, 1972
Recorded 1972
Genre Soul, funk, rock, jazz[1]
Length 43:31
Label Tamla
Producer Stevie Wonder, Robert Margouleff, Malcolm Cecil
Stevie Wonder chronology
Music of My Mind
Talking Book
Singles from Talking Book
  1. "Superstition"
    Released: October 24, 1972
  2. "You Are the Sunshine of My Life"
    Released: March 1973

Talking Book is the fifteenth album by Stevie Wonder, released on October 28, 1972. A signal recording of his "classic period", in this one he "hit his stride."[2] The album's first track, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life", hit #1 on Billboard‍ '​s Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts, then earned Wonder his first Grammy Award, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The album's first single, "Superstition", also hit #1 on Billboard‍ '​s Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts.


Sandwiched between the release of Music of My Mind and Innervisions, Talking Book saw Wonder enjoying more artistic freedom from Motown. Guest appearances include Jeff Beck, Ray Parker, Jr., David Sanborn, and Buzz Feiten. The sound of the album is sharply defined by Wonder's keyboard work, especially with the synthesizers he incorporated, giving a funky edge to tracks like "Maybe Your Baby". His use of the Hohner clavinet model C on "Superstition" is widely regarded as one of the definitive tracks featuring the instrument.[3] His swinging clavinet and harmonica embellishments on "Big Brother", though, defy categorization.

Cecil and Margouleff produced four of Wonder's "classic" albums in all: Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions and Fulfillingness' First Finale, as well as several albums by the Isley Brothers and others. They employed an unusual production technique using multiple layers of instruments such as the clavinet, Fender Rhodes electric pianos, and Arp & Moog synthesizers in place of the string orchestras used in conventional production techniques. This combination is what gives Talking Book and these other three albums their distinctive sound.

The cover depicts Wonder with cornrows, Indian jewelry and a velvet afghan.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[4]
The Austin Chronicle 4/5 stars[5]
Christgau's Record Guide A[6]
Creem A–[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[8]
The Great Rock Discography 9/10[8]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[9]
MusicHound 5/5[8]
Q 5/5 stars[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[11]

Released after Wonder toured with the Rolling Stones in 1972, Talking Book became a major hit, peaking at #3 on the Pop Albums chart in February 1973,[12] and became the first album for Wonder to top the Top R&B Albums chart where it remained for three weeks.[13] The popular appeal of the recording helped destroy the myth that R&B artists were incapable of creating music that could be appreciated by rock audiences, and marked a unique period for R&B artists (especially Motown artists).[citation needed] Wonder won three awards for Talking Book at the 1974 Grammys: Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "You Are the Sunshine of My Life", and both Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song for "Superstition". Incidentally, at the same ceremony, Wonder's next album, Innervisions, won Album of the Year and Talking Book's producers Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff won the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical award for their work on that album.[citation needed]

In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Vince Aletti called Talking Book "ambitious" and "richly-textured", writing that "even at its dreamiest, the music has a glowing vibrancy ... Altogether, an exceptional, exciting album, the work of a now quite matured genius".[14] In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it 90th on the magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[8] According to Robert Christgau, the record found Wonder taking artistic control and breaking through,[6] while J. D. Considine called it "a pop tour de force".[11]

Track listing[edit]

All songs produced, arranged and written by Stevie Wonder except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "You Are the Sunshine of My Life"   2:58
2. "Maybe Your Baby"   6:51
3. "You and I (We Can Conquer the World)"   4:38
4. "Tuesday Heartbreak"   3:02
5. "You've Got It Bad Girl" (Wonder, Yvonne Wright) 4:59
6. "Superstition"   4:26
7. "Big Brother"   3:34
8. "Blame It on the Sun" (Wonder, Syreeta Wright) 3:26
9. "Lookin' for Another Pure Love" (Wonder, Syreeta Wright) 4:43
10. "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" (Wonder, Yvonne Wright) 4:53
Total length:


Original pressings[15] contain Braille lettering of Wonder's name and the album title, along with a message not transcribed until the 2000 pressing:[16]

Here is my music. It is all I have to tell you how I feel. Know that your love keeps my love strong.

— Stevie


Side one[edit]

  1. "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" (Wonder) – 2:58
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, Fender Rhodes, drums
    • Jim Gilstrap – first lead vocal, background vocal
    • Lani Groves – second lead vocal, background vocal
    • Gloria Barley – background vocal
    • Scott Edwards – electric bass
    • Daniel Ben Zebulon – congas
  2. "Maybe Your Baby" (Wonder) – 6:51
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, Hohner clavinet, drums, Moog bass
    • Ray Parker Jr. – electric guitar
  3. "You and I (We Can Conquer the World)" (Wonder) – 4:39
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, piano, T.O.N.T.O. synthesizer
  4. "Tuesday Heartbreak" (Wonder) – 3:02
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, Fender rhodes, Hohner clavinet, drums, Moog bass
    • David Sanborn – alto saxophone
    • Deniece Williams – background vocal
    • Shirley Brewer – background vocal
  5. "You've Got It Bad Girl" (Wonder, Yvonne Wright) – 4:56
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, Fender Rhodes, drums, Moog bass, T.O.N.T.O. synthesizer
    • Jim Gilstrap – background vocal
    • Lani Groves – background vocal
    • Daniel Ben Zebulon – congas

Side two[edit]

  1. "Superstition" (Wonder) – 4:26
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, Hohner clavinet, drums, Moog bass
    • Trevor Laurence – tenor saxophone
    • Steve Madaio – trumpet
  2. "Big Brother" (Wonder) – 3:34
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocals, Hohner clavinet, drums, harmonica, Moog bass
  3. "Blame It On the Sun" (Wonder, Syreeta Wright) – 3:26
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, piano, drums, Moog bass, T.O.N.T.O. synthesizer
    • Jim Gilstrap – background vocal
    • Lani Groves – background vocal
    • Uncredited – guitar
  4. "Lookin' for Another Pure Love" (Wonder, S. Wright) – 4:44
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, Fender Rhodes, drums, Moog bass
    • Debra Wilson – background vocal
    • Shirley Brewer – background vocal
    • Loris Harvin (Delores Harvin) – background vocal
    • Jeff Beck – electric guitar
    • Buzz Feiten (Howard "Buzz" Feiten) – electric guitar
  5. "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" (Wonder, Y. Wright) – 4:51
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, piano, Hohner clavinet, drums, Moog bass




Region Certification
United Kingdom (BPI)[27] Gold

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Perone, James E. (2012). The Album: A Guide to Pop Music's Most Provocative, Influential, and Important Creations, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. x. ISBN 0313379068. Wonder integrated soul, funk, rock, torch song, and jazz on his 1972 album Talking Book and his 1973 album Innervisions. 
  2. ^ Some observers count six classic albums, some count five, and others count four.
    Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2001). All music guide: the definitive guide to popular music (4 ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 447–448. ISBN 0-87930-627-0. Stevie Wonder came into his own with Music of My Mind, but Talking Book is where he hit his stride... 
    Cramer, Alfred William (2009). Musicians and composers of the 20th century 5. Salem Press. p. 1645. ISBN 1-58765-517-9. 
    Brown, Jeremy K. (2010). Stevie Wonder: Musician. Black Americans of Achievement. Infobase Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 1-60413-685-5. 
  3. ^ Chesterton, George (October 5, 2012). "In Praise of the Clavinet". New Statesman. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  4. ^ AllMusic review
  5. ^ Moser, Margaret (May 19, 2000). "Review: Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness' First Finale". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved September 26, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Stevie Wonder". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251. Retrieved September 26, 2015. 
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 1973). "The Christgau Consumer Guide". Creem. Retrieved September 26, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Talking Book". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved September 26, 2015. 
  9. ^ Hilburn, Robert (April 1, 2000). "Motown Releases Remind Us of Stevie Wonder's Impact". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 25, 2015. 
  10. ^ Q (London): 123. August 2000. 
  11. ^ a b Considine, J. D. (2004). "Stevie Wonder". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 885–87. ISBN 0743201698. Retrieved September 25, 2015. 
  12. ^ "1973 Albums - Month By Month". Super Seventies Rocksite!. Retrieved 2014-05-05. 
  13. ^ "Talking Book - Stevie Wonder". AllMusic. 1972-10-27. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  14. ^ Aletti, Vince (January 4, 1973). Talking Book by Stevie Wonder | Rolling Stone Music | Music Reviews. Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved on 2011-04-19.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 19, No. 16" (PHP). RPM. 1973-06-02. Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  18. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  19. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1973" (in Italian). Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  20. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4871310779. 
  21. ^ " Stevie Wonder - Talking Book" (ASP). Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  22. ^ "Stevie Wonder > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  23. ^ a b "Allmusic: Talking Book: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  24. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1973 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  25. ^ "Billboard.BIZ Top Pop Albums of 1973". Archived from the original on 2012-12-04. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  26. ^ "Billboard.BIZ Top Pop Albums of 1974". Archived from the original on 2012-12-31. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  27. ^ "British album certifications – Stevie Wonder – Talking Book". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Talking Book in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search

External links[edit]