At the Close of a Century

At the Close of a Century

5.0 8
by Stevie Wonder
     
 

From the cotton-candy sweetness of "Hey Love" to the social commentary of "Living for the City" and "Happy Birthday," the unofficial theme song of the movement to establish a Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, Stevie Wonder is an icon in the American cultural landscape. Fittingly, Motown Records has released AT THE CLOSE OF A CENTURY, a 70-track box set of his… See more details below

Overview

From the cotton-candy sweetness of "Hey Love" to the social commentary of "Living for the City" and "Happy Birthday," the unofficial theme song of the movement to establish a Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, Stevie Wonder is an icon in the American cultural landscape. Fittingly, Motown Records has released AT THE CLOSE OF A CENTURY, a 70-track box set of his greatest hits. Unlike previously released overviews, CENTURY spans the entire four decades of Wonder's recordings, from 1962 to the mid-'90s. Disc One is stocked with tunes from Little Stevie Wonder's adolescent years, including his first hit, 1962's harmonica-pumping "Fingertips Pts. 1 & 2," and a 1967 version of "Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” later remade by Aretha Franklin. Wonder's early songs alternately snap with enthusiasm ("Uptight (Everything’s Alright)" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours") and sway with romanticism ("My Cherie Amour" and "For Once in My Life"). But it was after leaving Motown's sometimes-confining creative reins that Wonder went on to make soul -- and pop -- music history with a string of brilliant albums, beginning with the ambitious 1972 MUSIC OF MY MIND. Wonder ruled the decade from that point on, reaching even higher ground with the follow-up TALKING BOOK (1972), the near-perfect INNERVISIONS (1973), the double-LP masterpiece SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE (1976), and the pop success HOTTER THAN JULY (1980). With period essentials like "Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)," "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "Superstition," "Golden Lady," and "Sir Duke," this collection offers a window into Wonder's heightened social awareness as well as his innovations with the Moog synthesizer. Even in his later period, Wonder was adept at keeping his ear on the pulse of popular music, evident with "Part-Time Lover" from the platinum-selling IN SQUARE CIRCLE (1985) and the tepid yet hugely successful movie soundtrack contribution, "I Just Called to Say I Love You." The compilation's finale, "How Come, How Long," a duet with Babyface -- this generation's soulman, with an R&B Midas touch that rivals Wonder's -- symbolizes a metaphorical passing of the torch and is a telling tribute to the enduring legacy of black musicianship at the century's end. On the eve of the new millennium, this must-have collection is right on time.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
He's been called one of the most influential performers and songwriters of the century, but until 1999 Stevie Wonder didn't even have a box set to call his own. Such was the reissue campaign at Motown that, until very recently, some of the best pop music of the '60s sounded poorer in reissue form than when it was first played on AM radio. In 1996, the long-awaited Stevie Wonder digital-age hits package Song Review reached the shelves, but it didn't even follow compilation etiquette (that is, chronological order). Finally, At the Close of a Century made everything right -- complete with digital remastering, near-perfect sound, complete coverage of his epic career, an attractive design, and copious liner notes and pictures. The box, a four-disc set spanning 1962 to 1996, debuts with "Fingertips, Pts. 1 & 2," the long-unheard seven-minute version of his first hit. The first disc includes every hit that fans can remember, including great-sounding versions of "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and "Hey Love," plus plenty of moderate hits they may not remember, like his definitive cover of the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out." Disc two features more than a dozen of his biggest hits, including "Superstition," "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "Living for the City," "Higher Ground," and "Boogie On Reggae Woman." Disc three begins with no less than nine tracks from Songs in the Key of Life, his standout double album from 1976. Right into the '80s and '90s, Stevie Wonder remained at the top of the charts, with hits like "Rocket Love," "Master Blaster (Jammin')," "Happy Birthday," "I Just Called to Say I Love You," and "Part-Time Lover." It took far too long, but Motown finally issued a box set worthy of Stevie Wonder's continuing artistry.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/23/1999
Label:
Motown
UPC:
0601215399226
catalogNumber:
153992
Rank:
25597

Related Subjects

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Fingertips, Pts. 1-2  - Stevie Wonder
  2. Uptight (Everything's Alright)  - Stevie Wonder
  3. Nothing's Too Good for My Baby  - Stevie Wonder
  4. Blowin' in the Wind  - Stevie Wonder
  5. A Place in the Sun  - Stevie Wonder
  6. Hey Love  - Stevie Wonder
  7. I Was Made to Love Her  - Stevie Wonder
  8. Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)  - Stevie Wonder
  9. I'm Wondering  - Stevie Wonder
  10. Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day  - Stevie Wonder
  11. You Met Your Match  - Stevie Wonder
  12. For Once in My Life  - Stevie Wonder
  13. I Don't Know Why  - Stevie Wonder
  14. My Cherie Amour  - Stevie Wonder
  15. Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday  - Stevie Wonder
  16. Never Had a Dream Come True  - Stevie Wonder
  17. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours  - Stevie Wonder
  18. Heaven Help Us All  - Stevie Wonder
  19. We Can Work It Out  - Stevie Wonder
  20. If You Really Love Me  - Stevie Wonder
  21. Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer  - Stevie Wonder
  22. Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)  - Stevie Wonder
  23. I Love Every Little Thing About You  - Stevie Wonder

Disc 2

  1. Superstition  - Stevie Wonder
  2. You Are the Sunshine of My Life  - Stevie Wonder
  3. You and I (We Can Conquer the World)  - Stevie Wonder
  4. I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)  - Stevie Wonder
  5. Too High  - Stevie Wonder
  6. Visions  - Stevie Wonder
  7. Living for the City  - Stevie Wonder
  8. Golden Lady  - Stevie Wonder
  9. Higher Ground  - Stevie Wonder
  10. All in Love Is Fair  - Stevie Wonder
  11. Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing  - Stevie Wonder
  12. He's Misstra Know It All  - Stevie Wonder
  13. You Haven't Done Nothin'  - Stevie Wonder
  14. Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away  - Stevie Wonder
  15. Too Shy to Say  - Stevie Wonder
  16. Boogie on Reggae Woman  - Stevie Wonder
  17. Creepin'  - Stevie Wonder

Disc 3

  1. Sir Duke  - Stevie Wonder
  2. I Wish  - Stevie Wonder
  3. Knocks Me off My Feet  - Stevie Wonder
  4. Pastime Paradise  - Stevie Wonder
  5. Isn't She Lovely  - Stevie Wonder
  6. Ngiculela-Es Una Historia-I Am Singing  - Stevie Wonder
  7. If It's Magic  - Stevie Wonder
  8. As  - Stevie Wonder
  9. Another Star  - Stevie Wonder
  10. Send One Your Love  - Stevie Wonder
  11. All I Do  - Stevie Wonder
  12. Rocket Love  - Stevie Wonder
  13. I Ain't Gonna Stand for It  - Stevie Wonder
  14. Master Blaster (Jammin')  - Stevie Wonder
  15. Lately  - Stevie Wonder
  16. Happy Birthday  - Stevie Wonder

Disc 4

  1. That Girl  - Stevie Wonder
  2. Ribbon in the Sky  - Stevie Wonder
  3. Do I Do  - Stevie Wonder
  4. Love Light in Flight  - Stevie Wonder
  5. I Just Called to Say I Love You  - Stevie Wonder
  6. Overjoyed  - Stevie Wonder
  7. Part-Time Lover  - Stevie Wonder
  8. Go Home  - Stevie Wonder
  9. You Will Know  - Stevie Wonder
  10. Skeletons  - Stevie Wonder
  11. Gotta Have You  - Stevie Wonder
  12. These Three Words  - Stevie Wonder
  13. For Your Love  - Stevie Wonder
  14. How Come, How Long  - Stevie Wonder

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Stevie Wonder   Primary Artist,Drums,fender rhodes,Moog Bass
Jackson 5   Background Vocals
Minnie Riperton   Background Vocals
Dorothy Ashby   Harp
Herbie Hancock   Keyboards
Bobbi Humphrey   Flute
Earl Klugh   Guitar
Bob Malach   Saxophone
David T. Walker   Electric Guitar
Michael Sembello   Guitar
Bobbye Hall   Percussion
Tasha Thomas   Background Music
Nathan Alford   Percussion
Gloria Barley   Background Music
Alvino Bennett   Drums
Daniel Ben Zebulon   Conga
Ben Bridges   Acoustic Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Lenny Castro   Conga
Malcolm Cecil   Bass,Moog Synthesizer,ARP
Dennis Davis   Drums
Hank DeVito   Steel Guitar
Earl DeRouen   Percussion
Kwasi "Rocky" Dzidzornu   Conga
Sheila E.   Percussion
Scott Edwards   Bass
Larry Gittens   Trumpet
Ralph Hammer   Acoustic Guitar
James Jamerson   Acoustic Bass
Bhakta Kevin   Background Music
Steve Madaio   Trumpet
Raymond Maldonado   Percussion,Trumpet
Robert Margouleff   Moog Synthesizer,ARP
Reggie McBride   Bass
Dean Parks   Acoustic Guitar
Greg Phillinganes   Keyboards
Raymond Lee Pounds   Drums
Hank Redd   Saxophone,Alto Saxophone
Yusuf Roahman   Shaker
Willie Weeks   Bass
Nathan Watts   Bass,Percussion
Clarence Bell   Organ
Sheila Wilkerson   Bongos

Technical Credits

Babyface   Composer
Tom Baird   Producer
Paul Bollenback   Composer
Johnny Bristol   Producer
Malcolm Cecil   Engineer
Henry Cosby   Composer,Producer
Harvey Fuqua   Producer
Berry Gordy   Producer
Don Hunter   Producer
Raymond Maldonado   Spanish Translation
Robert Margouleff   Engineer
Kedar Massenburg   Executive Producer
Ronald Dean Miller   Composer
Clarence Paul   Arranger,Producer
Paul Riser   Arranger,String Arrangements
David Van De Pitte   Arranger
Stevie Wonder   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
Ron Miller   Producer
Mickey Stevenson   Producer
Vartan   Art Direction
Sylvia Moy   Composer
Desmond Hunter   Composer

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