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At the Close of a Century
     

At the Close of a Century

5.0 8
by Stevie Wonder
 

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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

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.

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:
6763

Related Subjects

Tracks

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
William "Mickey" Stevenson   Producer
David Van De Pitte   Arranger
Stevie Wonder   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
Ron Miller   Producer
Vartan   Art Direction
Sylvia Moy   Composer
Desmond Hunter   Composer

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At the Close of a Century 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
IT GIVES US THE VERY BEST FROM THE BEGINNING OF HIS CAREER TO THE PRIME IF ANYONE IS A TRUE MUSIC THEY WILL GO PICK UP THIS CD STEVIE IS A INFLUENCE ON JUST ABOUT EVERY ARTIST ESPECIALLY MYSELF I WANT WRITE,PRODUCE,ARRANGE SING JUST LIKE HIM
Guest More than 1 year ago
what can one say? this is the one and only Stevie Wonder! his music is so very essential to everybody going into the next century (Y2K). the lyrics are meaningful, the melodies are delightful, and the harmonies are beautiful. Stevie Wonder has written songs that deal with everything from America's racial problem (Love's In Need of Love) to matters of the heart (These Three Words). the man is a god-send! in biblical times there was David, in our time we have Stevie Wonder. let's honor and cherish him while we still have him in our presence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it sooooo much bought it for a friend's birthday and he absolutely loved it!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
No man who has been blessed with the gift of sight could begin to have as much vision as Mr. Steveland Morris. With a career that spans at least twenty five years, Stevie Wonder has managed to make songs that every one on earth can relate to. If I could choose the soundtrack to the story of my life, all the songs would come from this collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS GOES IN MY TIME CAPSLE FOR Y2K......... THE BEST OF THE BEST! BROUGHT BACK SO MANY GREAT MEMORIES. OVER 5 HOURS OF GREATNESS, HOW CAN YOU MISS??
Guest More than 1 year ago
This set of CDs will bring back memories! Stevie is THE poet of our times and truly a musical genius. I can't recommend this set highly enough. Worth every penny!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I Love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been looking for collections from some of the classic artists. This is definitely one of them. This is the most comprehensive collection of Stevie Wonder songs I've found thus far. I've enjoyed listening to it.