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|
|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 (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 both peaked inside of the top forty of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #33 and #29 on that chart respectively. And despite receiving a modicum of chart success, the then 15-year-old Wonder 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 Funk Brothers – additional instrumentation
- 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)". Bill Cosby is not related to the song's co-writer Henry Cosby.
In popular culture
- A version by Nancy Wilson reached No. 84 later in 1966.
- The song also appears in the 1995 film Mr. Holland's Opus and is featured on the soundtrack.
- The song appeared in the 2013 Glee tribute episode "Wonder-ful" as performed by Cassandra July (Kate Hudson).
- The song also appears in Disney Channel set to Donald's Double Trouble and one bit of Woodland Café.
- Wonder's version appears in a 2019 TV commercial for Bank of America.
- The song was adapted in French by Georges Aber under the name "Les Coups" for the singer Johnny Hallyday on his 1966 EP Cheveux longs et idées courtes.
- 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.
- "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.
- 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
- Cash Box Top 100 Singles (February 19, 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. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Uptight (Everythings Alright) in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "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.
- "Bank of America TV Commercial, 'Today'". ispot.tv. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
- Johnny Hallyday - Cheveux longs et idées courtes (1966) EP credits & releases at AllMusic
- "Uptight (Everythings Alright) - single". iTunes Australia. 12 March 2015.