Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stevie Wonder - Song Review: A Greatest Hits Collection (1996)

A greatest hits package from Stevie Wonder, Musician Laureate of the United States.  31 tracks across two CDs clocking in at over 2 hours.  Thanks, Stevie.

Pros: Stevie Wonder
Cons: Bizarre sequencing, inclusion of obscure soundtrack cuts and post-1986 singles
The pros far outweigh the cons.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #100 

Disc One:
Song Year  Hot 100   R&B  AC  Dance 
Part-Time Lover 19851111
I Just Called To Say I Love You 1984 111
Superstition    1972 1138
Sir Duke   19771132
My Cherie Amour    1969 443
I Was Made To Love Her 1967 21
Overjoyed    1986 2481
Hey Love 1966 909
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours 1970 31
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life   1973 131
Ribbon In The Sky
Master Blaster (Jammin')   1980 51 10
Living For The City 197381
Uptight (Everything's Alright)  196631
Do I Do 1982132251

Disc Two:
Song Year  Hot 100   R&B  AC  Dance 
Send One Your Love1979451
Ebony & Ivory 1982 181
All I Do   1980

That Girl   1982411027
For Your Love    1995 531130
I Wish 1976 11232
You Will Know    1988 771163
Boogie On Reggae Woman 1974 31
Higher Ground 1970 4141
These Three Words   1991
Stay Gold

Love Light In Flight   1984 174106
Kiss Lonely Good-Bye 1996

Hold On To Your Dream  1996

Redemption Song  

If I were to comment on individual songs, where would I begin?  The beauty of Overjoyed?  The bass line from I Wish or Living For The City? Dizzy Gillespie's appearance on the 10 minute version of Do I Do? The overdubbed Hohner Clavinet on Superstition?  The thrill of a Wonder harmonica solo? How much time do you have?

Notable Top 40 omissions: For Once In My Life (#2, 1968), Yester-me Yester-you Yesterday (#5, 1969), and Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing (#16, 1973).

Personal favorites I would have included:  Outside My Window (#52, 1980), We Can Work it Out (#13, 1971), and As (#36, 1977).

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  When I was in college, I would listen to I Was Made To Love Her constantly in my car.  At the time, the song was 20 years old but I just couldn't help myself.  Play. Stop. Rewind. Play. Stop. Rewind...

Previously revisited for the blog:
Songs In The Key Of Life (1976)
Talking Book (1972)
Music Of My Mind (1972)
Someday At Christmas (1967)


  1. Wow!

    I, too, went through an obsessive listening phase with "I Was Made To Love Her" in late 1985/early 1986. No idea why other than it is an incredible song, surely Heaven sent. Many of his songs fit that bill, though, don't they?

    Glaring omissions from this collection for this follower include "Isn't She Lovely?", "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing", "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)", "You Haven't Done Nothin' " and the country-tinged "Ain't Gonna Stand For It". Also, there has to be a studio version somewhere in the vault of Stevie singing "Let's Get Serious", the funky hit he gave Jermaine Jackson.

    And if "Do I Do" isn't one of the most truly joyous hymns ever then we must worship in different temples and you, son, better get right in the eyes of our Lord.

    At this point in his career, I'd like to hear him interpret even more works of others: Beatles, Billy Joel, Prince. And is it me or shouldn't there be a whole lot more albums in tribute to his music or do we have to wait until God snatches him back?

    It's off to the Spotify sounding board for this apostle to collect the Wonders of Stevie but first my personal memory associated with Song Review:

    Here's how me buying CDs at Costco usually worked (sadly, just like everybody else, Costco has all but gotten out of the CD selling game): I'd put a CD or two or three in the basket, and then my wife would make a big deal about moving them around to make room for another case of whatever with comments like " Do you really need another [insert artist name here] disc?" or 'Don't you already have that?" and more often than not, her tactic worked and the CD was left on a shelf somewhere before we made it to checkout. But when she saw this disc in the cart she said "I can't wait to listen to that one in the car on the way home."

    1. You married a wise woman.

      I always thought it strange that Stevie wouldn't release Isn't She Lovely as a single. I'm sure he had his reasons and I wouldn't dare second guess him.

  2. Probably didn't want to split the royalties with his daughter.

    Sorry, Mr. Wonder.

  3. Love Stevie. I only have the "Definitive Collection". I'm noticing more than a few tracks I don't know here, and I really should remedy that. When I was young (and just getting into music) he was in the "I Just Called to Say I Love You" era, which to me, was not cool. Little did I know how much had come before. But I'm grateful to have discovered how much I love him.
    "Superstition" and "I Wish", absolutely rock my world.

  4. Johnny,
    There are certainly worse places you could have started than The Deifnitive Collection. And your youthful instincts were correct, "I Just Called To Say I Love You" was certainly not a highpoint stylistically. Lucky for you and smart, savvy Stevie Wonder fans the world over, Spotify has most of most of (not a typo) his albums. My personal favorite compilation is Original Musiquarium but #1s is decent, too. For further study, there's the career-spanning At The Close Of A Century box set or The Complete Collection, which is sadly far from complete on Spotify.

    Another omission from Song Review:

    "If You Really Love Me" was Top 10 on Pop, R&B and AC charts.

    And in related news, the intro to "You Haven't Done Nothin' " is my new texttone!