Stevie Wonder

Superstition

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Song Review by Ed Hogan

"Superstition" marked a major change for Stevie Wonder. It was a glowing example of his new role as a producer which was acquired after the singer met all of the stipulations of his recording contract with Motown and renegotiated a new contract with the label. The track also was a continuation of his collaboration with engineers/synth programmers Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff. The trio loved working together and knew that for them to continue to do so they needed a knockout hit single. Their previous effort, Wonder's groundbreaking Music of My Mind LP, boasted several good tracks: "Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)" (number 13 R&B, number 33 pop, summer 1972), "Love Having You Around" (which was a given an ultra funky cover by First Choice on their Delusions LP), and "I Love Every Little Thing 'Bout You" among others. The album went to number six R&B and number 21 pop, but the record biz was still hit-singles driven then and the trio knew in order to continue their collaboration they needed a chart-topper. While working on Wonder's next album, Talking Book, at New York recording studio Electric Lady, Cecil and Margouleff were producing a LP for guitarist Jeff Beck. Beck heard "Maybe Your Baby" and asked if he could cover it on his album. Wonder refused but offered to write another song for the phenomenal guitarist. After the song, now titled "Superstition," was finished, Wonder changed his mind because he knew it was the hit that he was looking for. The singer/songwriter's reversal was bad luck for the relationship between Beck, Cecil, and Margouleff, who stopped working together after that, though "Superstition" was good luck for the Wonder/Cecil/Margouleff partnership. Written and produced by Wonder, "Superstition" sat at number one R&B for three weeks and hit number one pop in early 1973. The cut has one of the best kickin' horn sections ever, supplied by sax player Trevor Laurence and trumpeter Steve Madaio. Talking Book parked at number one R&B for three weeks while peaking at number three pop. Wonder's drum playing on the track reflects his early apprenticeship with Motown drumming great Benny Benjamin of the label's studio band, the Funk Brothers.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Talking Book 1972 Motown 4:26
No Image 1973
Various Artists
Motown
Original Musiquarium I 1982 Motown 4:25
No Image 1983
Various Artists
Motown
No Image 1986
Various Artists
Pioneer
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Motown
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Motown
Hitsville USA, Vol. 2: The Motown Singles Collection 1972-1992 1993
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Motown 4:15
Cruzin' to Motown 1995
Various Artists
Thump Records 4:14
Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame Box Set 1995
Various Artists
MCA 4:13
Song Review: A Greatest Hits Collection 1996 Motown 4:02
Stealing Beauty 1996
Original Soundtrack
Capitol / EMI Records 4:27
Motown 40 Forever 1998
Various Artists
Motown 4:01
At the Close of a Century 1999 Motown 4:28
Motown Chartbusters, Vols. 7-12 [Box Set] 1999
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The 70's [Original TV Soundtrack] 2000
Original TV Soundtrack
Island / Polygram 4:25
Motown Chartbusters, Vol. 8 2001
Various Artists
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The Definitive Collection 2002 Motown 4:05
Motown Greatest Hits 2003
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 0:00
Essential 70's [Universal] 2004
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Universal International 4:27
The Complete Stevie Wonder 2005 Motown / Universal 5:37
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Motown 50 2008
Various Artists
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Motown: The Complete #1s 2008
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