Living for the City
"Living for the City" is a 1973 single by Stevie Wonder from his Innervisions album. It reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 1 on the R&B chart. Rolling Stone ranked the song number 105 on their list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
|"Living for the City"|
|Single by Stevie Wonder|
|from the album Innervisions|
|Format||7-inch 45 rpm|
|Stevie Wonder singles chronology|
Wonder played all the instruments on the song and was assisted by Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff for recording engineering and synthesizer programming. It was one of the first soul music songs to deal explicitly with systemic racism and to use everyday sounds of the street like traffic, voices and sirens which were combined with the music recorded in the studio.
The song has won two Grammy Awards: one at the 1974 Grammy Awards for Best Rhythm & Blues Song, and the second for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 1975 Grammy Awards for Ray Charles' recording on his album Renaissance.
Born into a poor family in Mississippi, a young black man experiences discrimination in looking for work and eventually seeks to escape to New York City (alluding to the Second Great Migration) in hopes of finding a new life. Through a series of background noises and spoken dialogue, the man reaches New York by bus, but is then promptly framed for a crime, arrested, convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison.
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- "Top Pop Singles" Billboard December 28, 1974: Talent in Action-8