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Living For The City - Stevie Wonder (1973)

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Uploaded on Oct 20, 2011

"Living For The City" was a 1973 hit single by Stevie Wonder for the Tamla/Motown label, from his "Innervisions" album. Reaching #8 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart and #1 on the R&B chart, the record is driven by a slow bass synth groove (provided by the enormous TONTO modular synthesizer) that manages to exude a certain amount of tension, an appropriate soundscape for the angry social commentary of the song. The song is a raw piece of modern blues on which Wonder played every instrument. Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Living For The City" #104 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. "Innervisions" was the sixteenth album by American musician Stevie Wonder, released August 3, 1973 on Tamla/Motown Records, a landmark recording of his 'classic period'. As with many of Stevie Wonder's albums the lyrics, composition and production are almost entirely his own work, with the ARP synthesizer used prominently throughout the album. This instrument was a common motif among musicians of the time because of its ability to construct a complete sound environment. Wonder was the first black artist to experiment with this technology on a mass scale, and "Innervisions" was hugely influential on the subsequent future of commercial black music. He also played all or virtually all instruments on six of the album's nine tracks, making most of "Innervisions" a representative one-man band. Only three days after the commercial release of "Innervisions", on August 6, Wonder played a concert in Greenville, South Carolina. While on the way back just outside Durham, North Carolina, Wonder was asleep in the front seat of a car being driven by his friend, John Harris, when they were snaking along the road, just behind a truck loaded high with logs. Suddenly the trucker jammed on his brakes, and the two vehicles collided. Logs went flying, and one smashed through the windshield, sailing squarely into Stevie Wonder's forehead. He was bloody and unconscious when he was pulled from the wrecked car. For four days he lay in a coma caused by severe brain contusion, causing media attention and the preoccupation of relatives, friends and fans. Although "Innervisions" was recorded and released before Wonder's accident, most people associated it with the musician's miraculous recovery. "Innervisions" won Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording in 1974, while "Living For The City" won the Grammy for Best R&B Song. "Innervisions" has been considered by many fans, critics, and colleagues to be among Stevie Wonder's finest work and one of the great albums in popular music history. The album was revisited countless times in different lists of the greatest albums of all time. In 2001, VH1 named it the 31st greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 23 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. This channel is dedicated to all the great 'old school' R&B music I grew up with, the stuff that originally made me tap my feet and want to be a DJ. Funk, soul, disco, R&B, dance, hip-hop, pop . . . 60s, 70s, 80s . . . whatever you call it, it's all 'Old School' and it's all here!

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Copyright 1973 Tamla/Motown Records
All Rights Reserved

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