|"Uptight (Everything's Alright)"|
|Single by Stevie Wonder|
|from the album Up-Tight|
|B-side||"Purple Rain Drops"|
|Released||November 22, 1965|
|Stevie Wonder singles chronology|
"Uptight (Everything's Alright)" is a song 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 hit single that Wonder himself co-wrote.
A notable success, "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" peaked at number three on the US 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 (1966), 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 R&B Performance.
The single was a watershed in Wonder's career for several reasons. Aside from the US number-one "Fingertips" (1963), only two of Wonder's singles, "Workout, Stevie, Workout" (1963) and "Hey Harmonica Man" (1964) had reached the Top 40, peaking at #33 and #29 respectively. The fifteen year-old Wonder's voice had also 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 that Wonder had devised. Nelson George, in Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound, recorded that Wonder had been inspired by the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" after playing several tour dates with the Stones. 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 depicting a poor young man's appreciation for a rich girl seeing beyond his poverty.
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 Funk Brothers – additional instrumentation
- Johnny Allen – horn arrangement
- The Andantes – background vocals
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000‡|
‡ Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
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)" which was a US#4 hit. Bill Cosby is not related to the song's co-writer Henry Cosby.
Covers and in popular culture
- A version by Nancy Wilson reached No. 84 later in 1966.
- On July 11, 1994, British reggae singer C. J. Lewis released a cover version under the title "Everything Is Alright (Uptight)". His version reached number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming his second and final UK top-10 hit. It also entered the top 20 in Ireland, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
- Pitchfork Staff (August 18, 2006). "The 200 Best Songs of the 1960s". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
It's all in this rich girl/poor boy tale: the freakish optimism, opulent funk...
- 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 September 29, 2016.
- "Stevie Wonder Page". Soulwalking.co.uk. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- George, Nelson. Where Did Our Love Go?: the rise & fall of the Motown sound By Nelson George. Omnibus Press, 2003. ISBN 0-7119-9511-7
- Mojo Magazine, January 1996, pg. 32
- Martin Freeman Goes to Motown, BBC television, January 6, 2009
- "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. December 11, 1965. p. 12. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
- Liner notes. The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 5: 1965, Hip-O Select – B0006755-02, August 4, 2006
- Cash Box Top 100 Singles (February 19, 1966)
- Top 100 Songs of 1966
- The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1966 (December 24, 1966)
- "British single certifications – Stevie Wonder – Uptight (Everythings Alright)". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
- "Single Releases". Music Week. July 9, 1994. p. 25.
- "C J Lewis". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 17, 2023.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Everything Is Alright (Uptight)". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 17, 2023.
- "CJ Lewis – Everything Is Alright (Uptight)". charts.nz. Retrieved February 17, 2023.