Stevie Wonder’s “Innervisions” was released 40 years ago this week

Innervisions is the 16th studio album by American musician Stevie Wonder, released August 3, 1973 on Motown Records; a landmark recording of his “classic period”. The nine tracks of Innervisions encompass a wide range of themes and issues: from drug abuse in “Too High,” through social anger in “Living for the City,” to love in the ballads “All in Love is Fair” and “Golden Lady.”

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. The 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.

Here is the amazing 30 minute-long set from German TV’s Beat Club, but if you’re pressed for time go to 23.50 for the funk-stomping ending of Living For The City segueing into Superstition.