♫ For Once In My Life ♫ (Redux)

I started working on a post for a song by Paul Simon, an interesting song with an interesting background, but suddenly at 3:00 a.m., my body and mind both just began shutting down and I found I wasn’t understanding a single thing I was reading and at some point I even asked myself, “Who is Paul Simon?”  So, I quickly decided to switch gears and save that one for tomorrow night, find a great song to redux, and take my old worn-out body to bed!  Sorry, my friends, but there is just only so much of me.

Written by Ron Miller and Orlando Murden for Motown Records’ Stein & Van Stock publishing company, the song was first recorded in 1965 by Barbara McNair, but was first released the following year by Jean DuShon.  Other early versions of the ballad were issued by The Four Tops, The Temptations, Diana Ross and Tony Bennett, whose recording was the first to reach the pop charts.  And then came Stevie …

All versions of the song to this point were long, drawn-out ballads. Stevie Wonder was the first to pick up the tempo and use a joyful arrangement. Wonder’s version, however, sat in the Motown vaults for nearly a year before being released in 1968.  Why?  Because Berry Gordy did not like Stevie’s version.  Gordy vetoed the single’s release, and the recording was shelved. Billie Jean Brown, the head of the Motown Quality Control department, finally coerced Gordy into allowing Wonder’s version to be released in October 1968.

Stevie’s version became the hit record and definitive version of the song, the one most people think of first.

For Once in My Life
Stevie Wonder

For once in my life
I have someone who needs me
Someone I have needed so long
For once unafraid
I can go where life leads me
And somehow I know I’ll be strong

For once I can touch
What my heart used to dream of
Long before I knew
Someone warm like you
Would make my dreams come true

For once in my life
I won’t let sorrow hurt me
Not like it’s hurt me before
For once I have something
I know won’t desert me
I’m not alone anymore

For once I can say
“This is mine, you can’t take it”
Long as I know I have love
I can make it
For once in my life
I have someone who needs me

For once I can say
“This is mine, you can’t take it”
As long as I know I have love
I can make it
For once in my life
I have someone
Someone who needs me

Songwriters: Miller Ronald Norman / MURDEN ORLANDO
For Once in My Life lyrics © Jobete Music Co. Inc., Stone Diamond Music Corp., Ipanema Music, Corcovado Music Corporation, Emi Music Publishing France, Tunecore Publishing, JOBETE MUSIC CO INC, REACH MUSIC PUBLISHING-DIGITAL OBO BELLBOTTOMS AND BEER MUSI, EMI MILLER CATALOG INC, UNIVERSAL-MCA MUSIC PUBLIS OBO UNIVERSAL – MCA MUSIC PUBL.,, VM ENTERPRISES, INC., SADAIC LATIN COPYRIGHTS OBO SACVEN VENEZUELA, STONE DIAMOND MUSIC CORP

♫ We Are The World ♫ (Redux)

I play this one about once a year, for it carries a message that we all need to hear from time to time.  Right now, all over the world, troubles abound.  In Haiti, Cuba, South Africa, protests are rocking the nations.  In much of the world, the new variants of the coronavirus pandemic are causing renewed surges, people are dying and there aren’t enough vaccines in many countries, economies are in trouble, climate change is bringing disastrous effects to people around the globe, to food and water supplies, and the list goes on.  Here in the U.S., we have such a political divide that families are being torn apart and white supremacy is threatening us all.  So tonight I play this one for everyone, to remind us that … we all share this planet, that we must come together, find ways to mend our fences, to overcome our differences.  

When I played this just over a year ago, our friend John Howell provided a tidbit that I wasn’t aware of at the time …

“I loved the Michael Jackson comment to all the stars that were in studio for the “We are the World” recording session. He said that egos were to be left at the door and that anyone who had a problem with that would be driven home…by Stevie Wonder.”

I don’t imagine too many egos were on display after that!!!

This song … it is what we need today … and every day.  Please listen and enjoy.


Hello my friends.  With a heavy heart tonight, I was not going to do a music post, but two special people convinced me, without realizing that they had a thing to do with it, to do one … and this one in particular.  I shall explain …

A few nights ago, I was chatting via email with our friend Ellen, and she noted that while sometimes one doesn’t feel that they have a song in their heart, they should … sing anyway!  Tonight, I felt as if I had no song in my heart, and really, I just wanted to go to bed.  But, somewhere in my head, I heard Ellen saying, “C’mon, Filosofa … sing anyway!”

And the second motivator was another dear friend, Dutch (Larry Woller) who posted on his own blog this song … We Are The World … and everything just suddenly clicked into place.

This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Quincy Jones produced it. This talented trio was perfect for the job: Quincy Jones was the hottest producer around, and his Rolodex (what would now be a contact list) was filled with the biggest names in music; Richie had written songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100 each of the previous seven years (“We Are The World” made it eight); Michael Jackson had the biggest album of 1984 with Thriller (produced by Jones) and was the biggest star in the world.

The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Quincy Jones was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. It went very smoothly considering some very famous people did not get to sing a line. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door.

Just goes to show what we can accomplish when people of all sorts come together for a common cause.  I think … though the cause is different … this song has just as much meaning for our world today as it did when it was released in 1985, some 34 years ago, don’t you?

We Are the World
U.S.A. for Africa

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, let me hear you!

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!

We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie
We Are the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ I Just Called To Say ‘I Love You’ ♫ (Redux)

I have only played this one once — remarkable restraint, considering what a huge fan I am of Stevie Wonder and his music — and that was back in 2018, shortly after I started doing the music posts.  Tonight I have been in a grumpy mood, so I am treating myself to the guy who can make me smile on the darkest of days!

Stevie Wonder wrote, produced, and performed this one.  For a man who has been blind since birth, his talents constantly amaze me.  This song, I Just Called To Say I Love You, has topped a record on 19 charts, and remains his best-selling single to date.

There was a dispute among Wonder, his former writing partner Lee Garrett, and Lloyd Chiate as to who actually wrote the song. Chiate claimed in a lawsuit that he and Garrett wrote the song years before its 1984 release; however, a jury ultimately sided with Wonder.  In his testimony, Wonder said …

“I had the melody and the lyric that I had for the chorus, and I imagined in my mind when hearing the chords that The Beatles were singing with me. And that idea and feeling is what inspired me to use the vocoder, when I heard about the vocoder. And I always imagined myself and The Beatles singing that. It was in 1980 I believe, or ’81 when John Lennon was killed, that I knew that the dream would never be fulfilled.”

When the song won the Academy Award in 1984, Wonder said in his speech, “I would like to accept this award in the name of Nelson Mandela.” The next day, the South African government banned his music, as Mandela was considered an enemy of the state, imprisoned since 1962. This drew a lot of attention to Mandela and his fight against apartheid in that country; later in 1985, a collective of musicians called Artists United Against Apartheid released the song Sun City, taking a stand against entertainers who performed at the popular resort in South Africa. Wonder, energized by the ban, spoke out in interviews and included the song “It’s Wrong (Apartheid)” on his next album, In Square Circle.

The movement culminated in the 1988 Free Nelson Mandela Concert at Wembley Stadium in London, where Sting, Peter Gabriel, Whitney Houston and a host of other stars performed on his behalf. Wonder opened his set with I Just Called To Say I Love You.

I could watch and listen to this guy all night … he has something special …

I Just Called To Say I Love You

Stevie Wonder

No New Year’s Day to celebrate
No chocolate covered candy hearts to give away
No first of spring
No song to sing
In fact here’s just another ordinary day

No April rain
No flowers bloom
No wedding Saturday within the month of June
But what it is, is something true
Made up of these three words that I must say to you

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart

No summer’s high
No warm July
No harvest moon to light one tender August night
No autumn breeze
No falling leaves
Not even time for birds to fly to southern skies

No Libra sun
No Halloween
No giving thanks to all the Christmas joy you bring
But what it is, though old so new
To fill your heart like no three words could ever do

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care, I do
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care, I do
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart, of my heart,
of my heart

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care, I do
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart, of my heart,
baby of my heart

Writer/s: STEVIE WONDER
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Lean On Me ♫ (Redux)

Yes, another redux tonight, but this one was last played nearly 2 years ago, November 2019.  The reason for tonight’s redux is that a friend mentioned it in an e-mail earlier this evening, and planted an earworm, thus the song has been running barefoot through the grassy expanse in my mind and I needed to expel it so I might hope to sleep sometime tonight!  So, this one’s for you, David!  Now, the video I used back in 2019 was no longer available, as often happens, so I went in search of another.  During the course of that search, I came across one by Bill Withers, Stevie (my man!) Wonder, and John Legend that was recorded in April 2015 when Bill Withers was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It was just too good to pass up, so I am offering it in addition to the official Bill Withers’ version. (The part where John L goes up to Bill Withers, (81 at the time of his death in March 2020) and they hug will bring an unexpected tear to your eyes … at least it did mine)


I rarely have to go looking for a song … they are usually playing around in my head, just begging to be released.  But, for the past couple of days, the last one I played, Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together, wouldn’t leave my head, even though I played it here, gave it permission to hop out of my head and into yours, but it had seemingly carved out a niche somewhere in my head and … given the cold temps outside, I think it liked it in there.  So, tonight I went in search of something that I maybe hadn’t heard in a while, and came across this little gem.

This song, written and recorded by singer-songwriter Bill Withers, was released in April 1972 as the first single from his second album, Still Bill.  It was his first and only number one single.  According to Withers …

“This was my second album, so I could afford to buy myself a little Wurlitzer electric piano. So I bought a little piano and I was sitting there just running my fingers up and down the piano. In the course of doing the music, that phrase crossed my mind, so then you go back and say, ‘OK, I like the way that phrase, Lean On Me, sounds with this song.’ So you go back and say, ‘How do I arrive at this as a conclusion to a statement? What would I say that would cause me to say Lean On Me?’ At that point, it’s between you and your actual feelings, you and your morals and what you’re really like. You probably do more thinking about it after it’s done.”

Withers did not record his first song until he was 32 years old. He was in the US Navy for nine years, then worked at a factory making parts for airplanes. Says Withers:

“Being from a rural, West Virginia setting, that kind of circumstance would be more accessible to me than it would be to a guy living in New York where people step over you if you’re passed out on the sidewalk, or Los Angeles, where you could die on the side of the freeway and it would probably be eight days before anyone noticed you were dead. Coming from a place where people were a little more attentive to each other, less afraid, that would cue me to have those considerations. I think what we say is influenced by how we are, what’s been our life experiences. Now, I notice young guys writing about shooting each other in the city and stuff like that, well I would never have said anything like that because it was not my experience, I’m not from a big city. I think circumstance dictates what people think.”

Lean On Me
Bill Withers

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can’t carry
I’m right up the road
I’ll share your load

If you just call me (call me)
If you need a friend (call me) call me uh huh(call me) if you need a friend (call me)
If you ever need a friend (call me)
Call me (call me) call me (call me) call me
(Call me) call me (call me) if you need a friend
(Call me) call me (call me) call me (call me) call me (call me) call me (call me)

Songwriters: Bill Withers
Lean On Me lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ A Place In The Sun ♫ (Redux)

Tonight I am sad … sad, depressed, hopeless, angry.  I won’t go into the reasons … you’ve all heard them before.  But, what it means is I’m in need of me some Stevie Wonder to chase away the blues.  I know I just played this one in November of last year, but … I hope you’ll bear with me, sit back and enjoy that golden voice of da man, Stevie Wonder!  I hope he’s right, that there is a ‘place in the sun’ for us all.


Last night (Tuesday), I couldn’t seem to find a song in my heart, thus there was no song in yesterday’s lineup … yesterday’s non-existent line-up.  Tonight, I was folding laundry, and I asked myself if there was a song in my heart, and … the only one that came was Louie, Louie by Paul Revere and the Raiders, but alas … I played that one already back in, I think November.  So, I went on with my a.m. post, trolling the news, responding to emails, and suddenly I caught myself whistling Stevie Wonder’s A Place in the Sun.  BINGO!  It was not only the fact that I love the tune, always love to hear Stevie, but the lyrics seemed apropos of … something.  They speak to the way my own heart feels this week.

There isn’t a lot of background on this song, at least not that I could find in a quick search.  Released in 1966, it was written by Ronald Miller and Bryan Wells, and was one of Wonder’s first songs to contain social commentary.  This was Stevie’s third Top Ten hit since 1963 and hit #9 on the Billboard pop singles chart and # 3 on the R&B charts.

A Place In The Sun
Stevie Wonder

Like a long lonely stream
I keep runnin’ towards a dream
Movin’ on, movin’ on
Like a branch on a tree
I keep reachin’ to be free
Movin’ on, movin’ on

‘Cause there’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
And before my life is done
Got to find me a place in the sun

Like an old dusty road
I get weary from the load
Movin’ on, movin’ on
Like this tired troubled earth
I’ve been rollin’ since my birth
Movin’ on, movin’ on

There’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
And before my life is done
Got to find me a place in the sun

You know when times are bad
And you’re feeling sad
I want you to always remember

Yes, there’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone…

Songwriters: CLARENCE PAUL / RONALD MILLER / BRYAN WELLS
A Place In The Sun lyrics © Almo Music Corp., Emi Music Publishing France, JOBETE MUSIC CO INC, STONE DIAMOND MUSIC CORP

♫ Part-Time Lover ♫

Some nights, there’s nothing but Stevie that will do.  I last played this on in October 2018, so it’s been a while, and if you can listen to this, watch Stevie’s energy without wanting to move with the music, without a smile on your face, then … well, I just don’t think you can!


I had two choices on this one … the studio recording, the quality of which is superior, or the live version.  I chose the live version, because the energy, the emotion, I think adds more to the song than can ever come through on a studio recording.  That isn’t always the case, but Stevie Wonder is an entertainer, not just a singer, and he knows how to engage his audience, his energy is contagious.

According to Songfacts:

Wonder was a pioneer when it came to making and recording music using electronics and computers. This is an early example of digital audio recording, which Wonder put together at his own Wonderland Studios.

One of the devices he used was a LinnDrum, a popular drum machine/sampler. “He bought the second drum machine I ever made,” Roger Linn said in a Songfacts interview. “I think he used my drum machine very well on ‘Part-Time Lover.'”

According to Wonder, he drew on two songs by The Supremes as a musical influence for this one: “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “My World Is Empty Without You.”

Syreeta Wright, who was Wonder’s wife at the time, sang backing vocals. She co-wrote Wonder’s 1970 song “If You Really Love Me” and had her own Top 10 hit with her duet with Billy Preston, “With You I’m Born Again.”

Also featured on this track is Luther Vandross, who can be heard humming at the end of the verses.

Part-Time Lover
Stevie Wonder

Call up, ring once, hang up the phone
To let me know you made it home
Don’t want nothing to be wrong with part-time lover
If she’s with me I’ll blink the lights
To let you know tonight’s the night
For me and you my part-time lover

We are undercover passion on the run
Chasing love up against the sun
We are strangers by day, lovers by night
Knowing it’s so wrong, but feeling so right

If I’m with friends and we should meet
Just pass me by, don’t even speak
Know the word’s “discreet” when part-time lovers
But if there’s some emergency
Have a male friend to ask for me
So then she won’t peek its really you my part-time lover

We are undercover passion on the run
Chasing love up against the sun
We are strangers by day, lovers by night
Knowing it’s so wrong, but feeling so right

I’ve got something that I must tell
Last night someone rang our doorbell
And it was not you my part-time lover
And then a man called our exchange
But didn’t want to leave his name
I guess that two can play the game
Of part-time lovers
You and me, part-time lovers
But, she and he, part-time lovers

Songwriters: Stevie Wonder
Part-Time Lover lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours ♫

I had every intention of playing this one last night after it had been mentioned in comments the previous day, but as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men … oh wait, I am neither mouse nor man!  At any rate, tonight I find myself in need of another ‘Stevie fix’, so here’s one I haven’t yet played here on ye olde blog!

Wonder wrote this with Motown songwriters Lee Garrett and Syreeta Wright, along with his mother Lula Mae Hardaway. Garrett and Wright also worked with Wonder on the Spinners song It’s A Shame, and Wonder was briefly married to Wright. Like Stevie Wonder, Lee Garrett is also blind, and they first met at the Michigan School for the Blind.

The song was arranged by Paul Riser and featured a distinctive “sitar-guitar” in the introduction.

Peter Frampton took this song to #18 with his 1977 version. Other artists to cover this song include Elton John, Chaka Khan, Michael McDonald, Jermaine Jackson, The String Cheese Incident, and the California Raisins. Syreeta Wright, who co-wrote the song, recorded it using her stage name Syreeta.  The “String Cheese Incident”?????  Are you serious?

Stevie’s version hit #3 in the U.S., #15 in the UK, and #19 in Canada.  Released in 1970 when Wonder was but 20 years old, this gave him his sixth Grammy nomination!

Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours
Stevie Wonder

Oh yeah, baby

Like a fool, I went and stayed too long
Now, I’m wondering if your love’s still strong
Ooh baby, here I am
Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours

Then that time I went and said goodbye
Now, I’m back and not ashamed to cry
Ooh baby, here I am
Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours

Here I am, baby
You got my future in your hands
Here I am, baby
You got my future in your hands
I’ve done a lot of foolish things
That I really didn’t mean, yeah, yeah, didn’t I?

Oh baby, seen a lot of things in this old world
When I touch them, they mean nothing, girl
Ooh baby, here I am
Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours, I’m yours

Oowee baby, you set my soul on fire
That’s why I know you’re my heart’s only desire
Ooo baby, here I am
Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours

Here I am, baby
You got my future in your hands, baby
Here I am, baby
You got my future in your hands, baby

Yeah, I’ve done a lot of foolish things
That I really didn’t mean
I could be a broken man
But here I am
Watch out with my future babe

Here I am, baby
Here I am, baby, get it
Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours
Ooh baby
Here I am, baby

Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours
Here I am, baby
Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Garrett Lee / Wonder Stevie / Wright Syreeta / Hardaway Lula Mae
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours lyrics © Black Bull Music, Stone Agate Music, Sawandi Music, Black-bull-music, Inc., Jobete Music Co., Inc.

♫ Uptight (Everything’s Alright) ♫

You already know that when I need a lift, I turn to da man, Mr. Stevie Wonder.  Tonight I need a lift, and this song just conveniently popped into my head as I was unloading the dishwasher.  My feet began to tingle, needing to tap, and my head began to sway back and forth just as Stevie’s often does when he sings.  Sadly, tapping feet and a swaying head while hefting a stack of plates into the cabinet may not be the wisest thing!

I knew that Stevie had been something of a child prodigy, but I didn’t realize he had his first #1 hit at the age of only 13!  Blind since birth, Stevie has overcome all obstacles and has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has won 22 Grammy Awards. He was the first Motown artist and second African-American musician to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song, for the 1984 film The Woman in Red. Wonder has been inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday in the United States. In 2009, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2014, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Whew!  That’s quite a list of accomplishments … no wonder he had to start young!

StevieThis song was released in 1965 when Stevie was a ripe ol’ 15 years of age, and it was the first single that Stevie co-wrote.  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.

With the top Motown producers passing on Stevie, it was looking bleak until he started working with Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby. Moy had Stevie play her different song ideas he had come up with, but wasn’t impressed with any of them. Pressing to make sure he didn’t have anything else, Wonder reluctantly played her something he had been working on: a ditty where he sang, “Everything is alright, uptight.” Moy likes what she heard and helped him develop the song along with Cosby. The song went to #3 in the US and from that point forward, Wonder was a regular at the top of the charts.

And now, get ready to tap your toes and sway your head, but put the dishes down first!

Uptight (Everything’s Alright)
Stevie Wonder

Baby, everything is all right, uptight, out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, out of sight

I’m a poor man’s son, from across the railroad tracks
Only shirt I own is hanging on my back
But I’m the envy of every single guy
Since I’m the apple of my girl’s eye
When we go out stepping on the town for a while
My money’s low and my suit’s out of style
But it’s all right if my clothes aren’t new
Out of sight because my heart is true

She says, baby everything is alright, uptight, out of sight
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight

She’s a pearl of a girl, I guess that’s what you might say
I guess her folks brought her up that way
The right side of the tracks, she was born and raised
In a great big old house, full of butlers and maids
She says no one is better than I, I know I’m just an average guy

No football hero or smooth Don Juan
Got empty pockets, you see I’m a poor man’s son
Can’t give her the things that money can’t buy
But I’ll never, never make my baby cry
And it’s all right, what I can’t do
Out of sight because my heart is true

She says, baby everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, clean out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, hahahahaha, yeah
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, way out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight-

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Wonder Stevie / Moy Sylvia Rose / Cosby Henry
Uptight (Everything’s Alright) lyrics © Black Bull Music, Stone Agate Music, Jobete Music Co. Ltd., Sawandi Music, Jobete Music Co Inc, Jobete Music Co., Inc.

♫ Tears Of A Clown ♫ (Redux)

I last played this one three years ago, and amazingly I haven’t reduxed it yet!  It was a big hit with my readers then, and is considered some of the best of Motown.


I always learn something new when I research the background of the songs I play here, and tonight I learned that Tears of a Clown was written by Hank Cosby, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder!  I had no idea Stevie Wonder had a role in it.  I also had no idea that it was based on the Italian opera Pagliacci, which is about a clown who must make the audience laugh while he weeps behind his makeup because his wife betrayed him.

Stevie Wonder came up with the music for this song with Motown producer Hank Cosby. They recorded an instrumental demo and asked Robinson to complete the song – it was common practice for Motown writers to work on each other’s songs at the time.

Robinson listened to the song for a few days and decided it sounded like a circus – he came up with the lyrics based on the clown …

“I was trying to think of something that would be significant, that would touch people’s hearts, but still be dealing with the circus.  So what is that? Pagliacci, of course. The clown who cries. And after he makes everyone else happy with the smile painted on his face, then he goes into his dressing room and cries because he’s sad. That was the key.”

First released in 1967, this one was a hit on both sides of the pond, and reached the #1 slot in both the U.S. and UK, though Smokey had not had much luck in the UK up to that point.

Tears of a Clown
The Miracles

Oh yeah yeah yeah
Now if there’s a smile on my face
It’s only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey that’s quite a different subject

But don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Really I’m sad, oh I’m sadder than sad
You’re gone and I’m hurting so bad
Like a clown I appear to be glad (sad, sad, sad, sad)

Now they’re some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than
The tears of a clown when there’s no one around, uh
Oh yeah, baby

Now if I appear to be carefree
It’s only to camouflage my sadness
And honey to shield my pride I try
To cover this hurt with a show of gladness
But don’t let my show convince you
That I’ve been happy since you
‘Cause I had to go (why did you go), oh I need you so (I need you so)
Look I’m hurt and I want you to know (want you to know)
For others I put on a show (it’s just a show)

Now they’re some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than
The tears of a clown when there’s no one around, uh
Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my surface hid
Smiling in the crowd I try
But in my lonely room I cry
The tears of a clown
When there’s no one around, oh yeah, baby
Now if there’s a smile on my face
Don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Don’t let this smile I wear
Make you think that I don’t care
‘Cause really I’m sad

Songwriters: William Jr. Robinson / Stevie Wonder / Henry Cosby
Tears of a Clown lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday ♫ (Redux)

Tonight, I am re-playing one that I played three years ago, a Stevie Wonder tune.  It’s not that I don’t have any ideas for new songs — I have a list as long as my arm!  And it’s not that I’m too tired or lazy to do a new post — sleep is a long way off yet.  Rather, it is that I’ve been in a rabbit hole for days now, and tonight I thought to myself, “I want me some Stevie Wonder!”  I thought Stevie would bring a bit of a smile to this tired, empty heart.  Yet, rather than a smile, it brought tears.  But nonetheless, it is a beautiful song and I do love me some Stevie, even when he makes me cry. 


It would be difficult to choose a single favourite musician, but if you held my feet to the fire, it would most likely be Stevie Wonder.  Just watching this man perform gives me chills, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard music by him that I did not like.  Not too long ago I did a post with one of my absolute favourites pairing Stevie Wonder with Paul McCartney in Ebony and Ivory — one that I am likely to repeat from time-to-time, for the meaning of the song should never be forgotten.

Blind since birth, Stevie Wonder was considered a child prodigy and signed with Motown at age 11.  He has recorded more than 30 U.S. top ten hits and received 25 Grammy Awards, one of the most-awarded male solo artists.  He is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a holiday in the United States. In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

This song, Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday, was released in 1969.  It reached #7 on the pop singles chart and become Wonder’s ninth Top 10 single of the 1960s. The single fared even better on the UK singles chart where it reached #2 in November 1969, and at that time, it was Wonder’s biggest UK hit.

Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday
Stevie Wonder

What happened to the world we knew
When we would dream and scheme
And while the time away

Yester-me yester-you yesterday
Where did it go that yester glow
When we could feel

The wheel of life turn our way
Yester-me yester-you yesterday
I had a dream so did you life
Was warm and love was true
Two kids who followed all the rules
Yester fools and now
Now it seems those yester dreams
Were just a cruel

And foolish game we used to play
Yester-me yester-you yesterday
When I recall what we had
I feel lost I feel sad with nothing but
The memory of yester love and now
Now it seems those yester dreams
Were just a cruel

And foolish game we had to play
Yester-me yester-you yesterday
Yester-me yester-you yesterday
Sing with me
Yester-me yester-you yesterday
One more time

Songwriters: Bryan Wells / Ronald Miller / Ronald N. Miller
Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC