Saturday, March 3, 2012
40 Years Ago Today: Stevie Wonder's Music Of My Mind
On his 21st birthday Stevie Wonder finally inherited a million dollars ( of the $30 million he made for Motown) and declared independence. Within weeks he was in mid-town New York City, recording years of pent-up music in a whirlwind weekend with Bob Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil, the duo who made esoteric electronic albums as Tonto's Expanding Headband. Their instrument was an entire room of synthesizers. By plugging jacks into sockets and flipping dials, Margouleff and Cecil found new sounds Wonder could funkify. Wonder recorded 17 tracks from Saturday afternoon to Monday night. Six of them are on Music of My Mind including "Girl Blue", "Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)", "Seems So Long", "Keep On Running" and "Evil".
There are earlier Stevie Wonder albums worth owning ( 1970's Signed Sealed Delivered is an amazing collection of songs) but Music Of My Mind is an artistic statement--a true coming of age. What's missing is a classic Stevie Wonder single. "Superwoman" eventually got slashed from its 8 minute running time and sneaked into the Top 40.
Wonder played virtually all of the instruments on the album, including the drums. Music Of My Mind kicked off a string of great Stevie Wonder albums that would only get better, including Talking Book ( released in October of 1972), Innervisions and Songs In The Key Of Life. But don't take my word for it.
While running for President in 2008, then Senator Barack Obama told reporters why he had so much Stevie Wonder on his iPod:
"Stevie had that run with Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Fulfillingness' First Finale and Innervisions and then Songs in the Key of Life. Those are as brilliant a set of five albums as we've ever seen."