Song Of The Day 4/17/2015: Stevie Wonder – “Golden Lady”

You Pick the Artist III: Jami R White gave me Stevie Wonder. My youngest son’s middle name is “Stevland,” after Stevie Wonder’s given first name. So you might imagine, in this case, there really is no way I could narrow down what my favorite Stevie Wonder song is. It’s like a 20-way tie. The first Stevie song I loved as a kid was “Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing,” which I was introduced to by my sister who brought Innervisions home one afternoon in 1974. That was all I really needed. I think I’ve spoken about this before. You can Google it if need be.

Innervisions is one of my five favorite albums of all time across the board, so I thought I’d keep on that train and pick one from that album. It was still a difficult choice. I almost went with the song “Visions,” one of the most purely beautiful and bittersweet songs anyone deigned to make in the 1970’s. It’s almost painful. “He’s Misstra Know-It-All” was a big favorite. Apparently it was about Nixon. Now it’s about four or five hundred people I could name. And even with my heathen, neo-humanist, embittered agnosticism I gave serious thought to “Jesus Children of America,” the angriest gospel song you’ll ever hear, a threat and a promise, a looming abyss under a mist-covered sky. I have strong feelings about Innervisions. I could spin poetic about that album all night, given proper chemical support.

I went with “Golden Lady,” though. It’s such a seductive song. It stands still in a lot of ways but there’s a current moving underneath it. The way it uses the piano chords to transport the rhythm is amazing. And Stevie’s voice is held in check throughout, until it reaches a properly arranged-for point where the laws of physics simply require him to sing out. It’s a natural progression. Nobody cheats on it. My friend Scott Taylor did a great version of it once.

Sorry, I don’t have that many jokes to drop when it comes to Innervisions. I’ll save ’em for next week. Thanks, Jami!

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