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The Records of My Life: Stevie Wonder – Talking Book

The Records of My Life: Stevie Wonder – Talking Book

They are not the best records ever. Maybe they are too.
But that’s not the point of this page on my blog.
Once a week, every Sunday.
The records that most contributed to getting to this point in my life.
The reason why I decided to write about my music in this way is that I am turning sixty this year.
Music has been essential in my growth as a person.
It made me make life choices, some even wrong, probably.
Every Monday, I will start to listen to a record that I think has been crucial in my past.
I’ll play it until I come out with happy memories, emotions and maybe some tears.
Finally, I will leave you every Sunday to let you find the record I was listening and to discovered something more about me.

Massimo Usai

Stevie Wonder’s “Talking Book” 1972

The first attention to Stevie Wonder comes with the album “Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants”. Was 1979 and attract me the way was promoted.

In London was played inside the Royal Garden of Kew and I was fascinated by the review.

I didn’t buy the album, at the time I was involved in the transformation from Punk to the new wave and different music attracted me.

When Stevie Wonder hit number 1 in 1984, I was twenty-four years old. That single was: “I Just Called To Say I Love You”, and was following “ebony and Ivory” and other songs that look to commercial to me. 

So “The secret life of plants” was the extent of my knowledge of his catalogue. Frankly, the new music of the beginners of the ’80 didn’t attract me to listen too much the rest of his production, I was very far from him.

One day, whatever, I was in the house of a friend of mine, and he had so many records of him, and I ask to borrow one album, just to see what was about it.

After a few songs, I feel stupid. Yes, “Talking Book” was really fantastic, and more I watched the year went out more I think I was very superficial to have avoided him for so long.

From Talking Book the step to listen “Innervisions”, “Songs in the key of Life” and “Fulfillingness First Finale” was so easy and smooth.

Four albums of him that I still listen so much either in these days. A few years ago, I had the luck to see him live. It was a fantastic experience that I repeated happily two years later with another 80,000 people in a massive concert at Hyde Park.

But “Talking Book” still in my heart and yet the album that opened my mind to the soul in general, a kind of music I avoided for all my teenager’s time.

Talking Book has ten songs, and it’s challenging to find one song just not good enough to be a classic.

“You are the sunshine of my life” and “Supersonic” are songs in every “the best” of Stevie. Still, I lost myself so many times in the harmonica played in “Big Brother” that to me as important like the two songs mentioned above.

Wonder’s ’70s dominance didn’t come from out of nowhere; after all, he’d been billed by his record label as a “genius” before he was in his teens. His talent was indisputable. There had been, over the decade preceding ‘Talking Book’, enough successful singles to fill up a couple of most legendary hits packages. I still shamed to the fact I didn’t notice before I was 25/26. 

“Talking Book” still holds a nice place in my heart. And I was happy when in 2016, Michele Obama, mentioned this album had a significant influence on her life.


Massimo Usai
Massimo Usai

Associate of British Freelance Photography

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