'Talking Book' turns 50: Stevie Wonder took over

“Talking Book” turns 50: Stevie Wonder has taken over


After 14 studio albums and a few hits, Stevie Wonder found himself at the top of the charts with Superstition and< /strong>You Are the Sunshine of My Life. Two huge hits found on the album Talking Book < /strong>which celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Released on October 27, 1972, this opus by the blind songwriter and musician shot to #1 on Billboard magazine's R&B chart and #3 on the Billboard 200. Superstition and You Are the Sunshine of My Life were number one. 

With the album Music of My Mind, released seven months earlier, Stevland Hardaway Morris continued his keyboard explorations with the presence of synthesizers and other electronic keyboards. < /p>

A transition that led him to dominate the charts for fifteen years with, among others, the opuses Innervisions, Fulfilingnes' First Finale and Songs in the Key of Life. What many will call his classic period and which coincides with the great years of the Motown sound. Talking Book mixes R&B, pop, soul, gospel, funk and jazz. 

Returning from a series of shows opening for the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder , who was 22 at the time, reunited in the studio with the duo of directors Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff with whom he had worked on Music of My Mind.

No limits

In an interview published in The Atlantic magazine, during the 40th anniversary of Talking Book, Margouleff recounts the atmosphere in place during the recording sessions.

“Most of the time, Steve arrived around 6:30 p.m. 7 p.m. and he worked until five in the morning. That was how it was,” he said. Only Wonder, Margouleff and Cecil were present. Everything happened naturally.

“We were open. We were brainstorming. There were no limits and boundaries. Stevie wondered how such a thing was going to sound and if I didn't like it, I told him. I told him it sounded like a doorbell. We worked very impulsively,” said Robert Margouleff.

On Talking Book, Stevie Wonder plays all the instruments, surrounded by guest musicians. We find, among others, the saxophonist David Sanborn and the guitarists Ray Parker Jr and Jeff Beck.

Talking Book won three Grammys. Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for You Are the Sunshine of My Life and Best R&B Vocal Performance for the single Superstition, which also won Best R&B Song Statuette.

Trade magazine Rolling Stone voted Talking Book the 59th greatest album of all time .

On the original album cover, the title and name Stevie Wonder were printed in Braille. There was also a message inscribed in this tactile reading and writing system used by blind people: “Here is my music. That's all I have to say how I feel. Know that your love keeps mine very strong.”