Superstition (song)

Superstition (song)

Infobox Single
Name = Superstition


Artist = Stevie Wonder
from Album = Talking Book
B-side = "You've Got It Bad Girl"
Released = November, 1972
Format = 7" 45 RPM
Recorded =
Genre = Funk, R&B
Length = 4:26
Label = Motown
Writer = Stevie Wonder
Producer = Stevie Wonder
Certification =
Chart position = * #1 (U.S.)
* #11 (UK)
Last single = "Keep On Running"
(1972)
This single = "Superstition"
(1972)
Next single = "You Are the Sunshine of My Life"
(1973)
"Superstition" is a popular song written, produced, arranged, and performed by Stevie Wonder for Motown Records in 1972, when Wonder was twenty-two years old. It was included on Wonder's "Talking Book" album, [Cite web |last= |first= |title=Superstition: Stevie Wonder |url=http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/6595919/superstition |work= |publisher=Rolling Stone |date=December 09, 2004 |accessdate=2008-01-16] and released as a single in many countries. It reached number one in the USA,cite book |title= Rock N' Roll Gold Rush |last= Dean |first= Maury |authorlink= Maury Dean |coauthors= |year= 2003 |publisher= Algora |location= |isbn= 0-87586-207-1 |pages= 276 |url= ] and number eleven in the UK, in February 1973. In November 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song at #74 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

History

Wonder had actually written this song for Jeff Beck, but at the insistence of his own manager, Wonder himself recorded it first. Beck was instead offered "Cause We've Ended As Lovers", which he recorded for 1975's "Blow by Blow". Jeff Beck played guitar on "Talking Book" and later recorded his own version of "Superstition" with Beck, Bogert & Appice.

Wonder's music had been undergoing a marked change from his earlier Motown pop to a more personal style. This shift had been evident on his two prior albums, but it was "Talking Book", and "Superstition" in particular that brought the new style to the awareness of the public in general.

The song deals with superstitions, and mentions several popular superstitious fables in its lyrics:

:Thirteen-month-old baby:Broke the looking glass::Seven years of bad luck:The good things in your past

The chorus contains some advice:

:When you believe in things:That you don't understand:Then you suffer:Superstition ain't the way

"Superstition" is immediately recognizable for its opening drum beat, which was performed by Wonder, and for its notably funky clavinet riff. The song also heavily features brass instruments and saxophones, notably a trumpet lead by Trevor Laurence, and the electronic Arp and Moog synthesizer sounds that Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff helped to create for the album.

Wonder performed "Superstition" on the children's television show "Sesame Street" in 1972, as well as on "Soul Train" and WNET's "Soul".

Cover versions

The song has also been covered by Melvin Van Peebles, Raven-Symone, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. (Vaughan and Wonder had mutual admiration for one another; Wonder would later write the song "Stevie Ray Blues" in honor of Vaughan). Bucky Covington covered the song on the fifth season of American Idol, and his version was included on the CD. The song is also covered by Widespread Panic along with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band on Panic's 2000 release "Another Joyous Occasion". The song was also mixed by Alicia Keys in the song "Karma (Karmastition Remix)".

Vaughan would produce a humorous music video for his cover version: the video has Vaughan performing several acts which, according to superstitious lore, should bring him bad luck – breaking a mirror, knocking a horseshoe from its upright position to an inverted one (which supposedly causes all the luck to run out), stepping on a sidewalk crack, walking under a ladder, performing on Friday the 13th, and having a black cat cross his path). The cat is repeatedly pushed aside by members of Double Trouble; whereupon the cat extracts its revenge by causing the bass guitarist to be electrocuted, the keyboardist to fall through a trap door, and the drummer to be knocked out by a falling stage light. Only Vaughan remains standing at the end of the video, whereupon the cat returns to the arms of its "owner" – who turns out to be none other than Stevie Wonder, the song's original singer/writer who makes a cameo appearance in the video.

Uses in other media

The song was featured in a scene of John Carpenter's "The Thing". T.K. Carter's character, Nauls, listens to it on a boom box in the kitchen, defiantly turning up the volume when he is asked to turn it down. It was also featured in the end credits of Wes Craven's Vampire In Brooklyn. It was also featured in the movie "I, Robot" starring Will Smith where Smith's character plays it after waking upThe song appears in the game Karaoke Revolution Party. The song was also featured in a series of commercials for Levi's jeans, broadcast in the United States in late 2006. The song was played in the Kenan & Kel movie Two Heads Are Better Than None when a chimpanzee can play it on the piano. Also it was remade for the 2003 Disney movie The Haunted Mansion starring Eddie Murphy by Raven-Symone.

ee also

* Hot 100 No. 1 Hits of 1973 (USA)

References


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