2CD greatest hits package includes all of Stevie's best tracks, including 'Superstition,' 'Isn't She Lovely,' 'Ebony amp; Ivory' amp; so many more!
In a career spanning four decades Steveland Judkins Morris has been many things: child star, funk hero, political chronicler, the saviour of Motown Records and depressingly, the instigator of the painfully schmaltzy Ramp;B ballad. Thankfully, this exhaustive "Best Of...", timed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his first appearance as Little Stevie Wonder, focuses mainly on the 1966-1980 glory years and his transition from incendiary soul man to voice of the 70s. The jackhammer beats, shout-along choruses and wailing harmonica peg "Uptight", "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and "I Was Made To Love Her" as three of the finest anthems of the Motown era, and "My Cherie Amour" as one of its sweetest love songs. But it was when he turned his attention to grinding keyboard grooves and social concerns that Wonder really came into his own. Inspired by ghetto funk and the unrest in 70s America he delivered three staggering albums, Talking Book, Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life. Those albums highlights, "Living for the City", "Higher Ground", "I Wish", the gospel powered "As" and life-affirming Duke Ellington-tribute "Sir Duke", account for The Definitive Collection's standout tracks, while the rocking synth strut and ferocious horns of "Superstition" provide the defining moment. Next to such musical genius, the 80s slush of Motown's biggest ever selling single, "I Just Called To Say I Love You" seems particularly insipid. But like equally twee Paul McCartney duet "Ebony amp; Ivory", it's an easily skipped blip in an otherwise essential collection. --Dan Gennoe