As 2011 comes to a close and I am picking out records for NYE, and for some beginning of the year mixes, I came across a record that I absolutely love. I will not go into a huge historical rant on this artist, because it has been done already many times over. In fact, to this day, this artist, besides say Michael Jackson and James Brown, has had a successful party that plays nothing but his music all night. DJ Spinna and Bobbito have been rocking WONDER-full parties since 2007, and this past year, the man himself showed up. I’ve spotlighted Stevie before, but it was his lost harmonica record called Eivets Rednow. I want to rewind a bit, and go back to “Little” Stevie Wonder and “Uptight” on Tamla Records from 1965.
An early Wonder side, and a side where he was first given a co-writer’s credit, ended up being a big hit for the artist, reaching number three on the Pop charts and number one on the R & B charts. The 17 year old Wonder was in a bind, as his voice was changing from his previous records, and there was some concern on which was his career might go. This, however did not stop Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby from writing a tune, singing it to Wonder, wherein Wonder would come up with the main riff. Bam! The song was hatched.
From the beginning drum beat and accompanying bass line comes those horns, from where Stevie’s newer, mature voice tells the story of a poor boy across the tracks story of how his richer girlfriend sees past his his poverty right to the man he really is. I especially love those drums fills and chugging horns as the song is ending, some true Motown magic if you ask me. This song has been covered a bunch of times: early on by Jimmy McGriff and Nancy Wilson, a little later by Bill Cosby, and most recently by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings in a Chase Manhattan commercial (would love to get my hands on a copy of the tune). Funnily enough, Manchester City’s biggest supporters (and I’m sure they’re happy about this season) Oasis, recorded a song called “Step Out”, which is a rocking version of the tune, with lyrics changed. Have a listen and you tell me if the chorus is just the same.
“Uptight” is a song, when you’re feeling down, you can put on and it immediately uplifts your mood. I usually try to stay away from the popular sides here at FMF, choosing to spotlight some rare or forgotten tunes, but how can you deny that this song doesn’t kill it? A great song to go out of 2011 with.
Oasis basically rips off Stevie: