Sunday 3/13/22 4pm ET: Feature LP: Stevie Wonder – Talking Book (1972)

Talking Book is the fifteenth studio album by American singer, songwriter and musician Stevie Wonder, released on October 28, 1972, on the Tamla label for Motown Records. This album and Music of My Mind are widely noted as being the signal recordings of Wonder’s “classic period”. The sound of the album is sharply defined by Wonder’s keyboard work, especially with synthesizers. His use of the Hohner clavinet model C on “Superstition” is widely regarded as one of the definitive tracks featuring the instrument.

Relying less on Motown’s head Berry Gordy for musical direction and expression, Talking Book is often considered as the beginning of the turning point in Wonder’s career from a youthful prodigy to an independent and experimental artist. Speaking on the album in 2000, Wonder said, “It wasn’t so much that I wanted to say anything except where I wanted to just express various many things that I felt—the political point of view that I have, the social point of view that I have, the passions, emotion and love that I felt, compassion, the fun of love that I felt, the whole thing in the beginning with a joyful love and then the pain of love.”

Talking Book peaked at number three on the Billboard Top LPs chart and finished at number three on the Billboard 200 Albums Year-End of 1972. The album’s first track “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening chart. The album’s first single, “Superstition”, also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart. Talking Book earned Wonder his first Grammy Award, with “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” winning Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 16th Grammy Awards. “Superstition” also won Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song.

  1. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” 2:45
  2. “Maybe Your Baby” 6:45
  3. “You and I (We Can Conquer the World)” 4:39
  4. “Tuesday Heartbreak” 3:09
  5. “You’ve Got It Bad Girl” 4:55
  6. “Superstition” 4:40
  7. “Big Brother” 3:35
  8. “Blame It on the Sun” 3:28
  9. “Lookin’ for Another Pure Love” 4:45
  10. “I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)” 4:48

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

Ray Parker Jr. – electric guitar
David Sanborn – alto saxophone
Deniece Williams – background vocal
Shirley Brewer – background vocal
Daniel Ben Zebulon – congas
Loris Harvin (Delores Harvin) – background vocal
Jeff Beck – electric guitar
Buzz Feiten (Howard “Buzz” Feiten) – electric guitar