Talking Book is the fifteenth studio album by Stevie Wonder, released on October 28, 1972. A signal recording of his "classic period", in this one he "hit his stride." The album's first track, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life", hit #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts, then earned Wonder his first Grammy Award, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The album's first single, "Superstition", also hit #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts. The album was certified Gold in Canada and the United States.
|Studio album by Stevie Wonder|
|Released||October 28, 1972|
|Stevie Wonder chronology|
|Singles from Talking Book|
Sandwiched between the release of Music of My Mind and Innervisions, Talking Book saw Wonder enjoying more artistic freedom from Motown. Guest appearances include Jeff Beck, Ray Parker, Jr., David Sanborn, and Buzz Feiten. The sound of the album is sharply defined by Wonder's keyboard work, especially with the synthesizers he incorporated, giving a funky edge to tracks like "Maybe Your Baby". His use of the Hohner clavinet model C on "Superstition" is widely regarded as one of the definitive tracks featuring the instrument. His clavinet embellishments on "Big Brother", though, evoke a six-string acoustic guitar, and his note-bending harmonica work touches on some folk and blues influences.
Cecil and Margouleff produced four of Wonder's "classic" albums in all: Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions and Fulfillingness' First Finale, as well as several albums by the Isley Brothers and others. They employed an unusual production technique using multiple layers of instruments such as the clavinet, Fender Rhodes electric pianos, and Arp & Moog synthesizers in place of the string orchestras used in conventional production techniques. This combination is what gives Talking Book and these other three albums their distinctive sound.
|The Austin Chronicle|||
|Christgau's Record Guide||A|
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Great Rock Discography||9/10|
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Released after Wonder toured with The Rolling Stones in 1972, Talking Book became a major hit, peaking at #3 on the Pop Albums chart in February 1973, and became the first album for Wonder to top the Top R&B Albums chart where it remained for three weeks. The popular appeal of the recording helped destroy the myth that R&B artists were incapable of creating music that could be appreciated by rock audiences, and marked a unique period for R&B artists (especially Motown artists). Wonder won three awards for Talking Book at the 1974 Grammys: Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "You Are the Sunshine of My Life", and both Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song for "Superstition". Incidentally, at the same ceremony, Wonder's next album, Innervisions, won Album of the Year and Talking Book's associate producers Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff won the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical award for their work on that album.
In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Vince Aletti called Talking Book "ambitious" and "richly-textured", writing that "even at its dreamiest, the music has a glowing vibrancy ... Altogether, an exceptional, exciting album, the work of a now quite matured genius". In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it 90th on the magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. According to Robert Christgau, the record found Wonder taking artistic control and breaking through, while J. D. Considine called it "a pop tour de force".
Track listing and personnelEdit
- "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" (Wonder) – 2:58
- "Maybe Your Baby" (Wonder) – 6:51
- "You and I (We Can Conquer the World)" (Wonder) – 4:39
- Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, piano, T.O.N.T.O. synthesizer, Moog bass
- "Tuesday Heartbreak" (Wonder) – 3:02
- "You've Got It Bad Girl" (Wonder, Yvonne Wright) – 4:56
- Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, Fender Rhodes, drums, Moog bass, T.O.N.T.O. synthesizer
- Jim Gilstrap – background vocal
- Lani Groves – background vocal
- Daniel Ben Zebulon – congas
- "Superstition" (Wonder) – 4:26
- Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, Hohner clavinet, drums, Moog bass
- Trevor Lawrence – tenor saxophone
- Steve Madaio – trumpet
- "Big Brother" (Wonder) – 3:34
- Stevie Wonder – lead vocals, Hohner clavinet, drums, harmonica, Moog bass
- "Blame It on the Sun" (Wonder, Syreeta Wright) – 3:26
- Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, piano, harpsichord, drums, Moog bass, T.O.N.T.O. synthesizer
- Jim Gilstrap – background vocal
- Lani Groves – background vocal
- "Lookin' for Another Pure Love" (Wonder, S. Wright) – 4:44
- "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" (Wonder, Y. Wright) – 4:51
- Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, piano, Hohner clavinet, drums, Moog bass
Here is my music. It is all I have to tell you how I feel. Know that your love keeps my love strong.— Stevie
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold|
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Wonder integrated soul, funk, rock, torch song, and jazz on his 1972 album Talking Book and his 1973 album Innervisions.
- Some observers count six classic albums, some count five, and others count four.
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Stevie Wonder came into his own with Music of My Mind, but Talking Book is where he hit his stride...
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- AllMusic review
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