The album to start with Talking Book (1972) The man born Stevland Morris began the 1960s an 11-year-old harmonica prodigy and exited them as one of Motown’s hottest artists, thanks to hits such as My Cherie Amour, I Was Made to Love Her and Uptight (Everything’s Alright). But as the next decade dawned, the contract Stevie Wonder had signed as a minor expired and, desperate not to lose his star, Motown boss Berry Gordy granted Wonder hitherto-unknown creative freedom from the label’s legendary “hit factory” production line. Wonder recast himself as an auteur with something powerful to say – and, thanks to a fruitful creative relationship with early synthesiser pioneers Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff, a revolutionary way of delivering that message. Further breaking from Motown tradition, the newly liberated Wonder treated the album format as an art form in and of itself, rather than just bundling his latest hit single with lesser, filler tracks. Armed with a bank of still-futuristic Arp and Moog synthesisers, Wonder went on to deliver five solid-gold masterpieces across the decade. It’s tough to pick a favourite from the bunch, but Talking Book’s devotional fervour wins it by a nose. Talking Book mostly eschewed the… Read full this story
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