Uptight (Everything's Alright)
|"Uptight (Everything's Alright)"|
|Single by Stevie Wonder|
|from the album Up-Tight|
|B-side||"Purple Rain Drops"|
|Released||November 22, 1965|
|Songwriter(s)||Stevie Wonder, Sylvia Moy, Henry Cosby|
|Producer(s)||Mickey Stevenson, Henry Cosby|
|Stevie Wonder singles chronology|
"Uptight (Everything's Alright)" is a 1965 hit single recorded by American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder for the Tamla (Motown) label. One of his most popular early singles, "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" was the first Stevie Wonder hit single to be co-written by the artist.
A notable success, "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in early 1966, at the same time reaching the top of the Billboard R&B Singles chart for five weeks. Billboard ranked it as the 59th biggest American hit of 1966. An accompanying album, Up-Tight, was rushed into production to capitalize on the single's success. It also garnered Wonder his first two career Grammy Award nominations for Best R&B Song and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
The single was a watershed in Wonder's career for several reasons. Aside from the number-one hit "Fingertips", only two of Wonder's singles had reached the Top 40 of Billboard's Pop Singles chart, ("Workout, Stevie Workout" reached #33 in late 1963 and "Hey Harmonica Man" reached #29 Pop in the Summer of 1964) and the fifteen-year-old artist was in danger of being let go. In addition, Wonder's voice had begun to change, and Motown CEO Berry Gordy was worried that he would no longer be a commercially viable artist.
As it turned out, however, producer Clarence Paul found it easier to work with Wonder's now-mature tenor voice, and Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby set about writing a new song for the artist, based upon an instrumental riff Wonder had devised. Nelson George, in Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound, recorded that Wonder had also sought something based on the driving beat of the Rolling Stones's "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," after playing several dates with the Stones on tour and being impressed with the British band. As Wonder presented his ideas, finished or not, "he went through everything," remembered Moy. "I asked, 'Are you sure you don't have anything else?' He started singing and playing 'Everything is alright, uptight.' That was as much as he had. I said, 'That's it. Let's work with that.'" The resulting song, "Uptight (Everything's Alright)", features lyrics which depict a poor young man's appreciation for a rich girl's seeing beyond his poverty to his true worth.
On the day of the recording, Moy had completed the lyrics, but didn't have them in Braille for Wonder to read, and so sang the song to him as he was recording it. She sang a line ahead of him, and he simply repeated the lines as he heard them. In 2008, Moy commented that "he never missed a beat" during the recording.
- Stevie Wonder - vocals, keyboards
- James Jamerson - bass
- Benny Benjamin - drums
- The Andantes - background vocals
Little Ole Man
A note-for-note re-recording of Wonder's version was used as the backing track for Bill Cosby's 1967 musical comedy single, "Little Ole Man (Uptight, Everything's Alright)". Bill Cosby is not related to the song's co-writer Henry Cosby.
In popular culture
- Australian band Human Nature recorded a version for their 2006 album Dancing in the Street: The Songs of Motown II and released a remixed single version in 2007.
- The song appeared in the 2013 Glee tribute episode "Wonder-ful" as performed by Cassandra July (Kate Hudson).
- The song also appears in D-TV set to Donald's Double Trouble.
- The song also appears in the 1995 film Mr. Holland's Opus and is featured on the soundtrack.
- "Uptight (Everything's Alright) / Purple Rain Drops by Stevie Wonder (Single, Soul): Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
- Stevie Wonder interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1970)
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 635.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1966/Top 100 Songs of 1966". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
- "Stevie Wonder Page". Soulwalking.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
- Mojo Magazine, January 1996, pg. 32
- Martin Freeman Goes to Motown, BBC television6 January 2009
- "Uptight (Everythings Alright) - single". iTunes Australia. 12 March 2015.
- "Kate Hudson Makes Her Wonder-Ful Return To Glee! Listen To ALL The Songs In This Week's Episode HERE!". perezhilton.com. April 29, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2013.