Thursday, May 17, 2012

"I Was Made to Love Her" Stevie Wonder (1968)

                                     CAN'T. STOP. LISTENING. TO. THIS. SONG. (the 1st one!)

"I Was Made to Love Her" was  recorded for the Tamla label in 1968 by Stevie Wonder, the same year he hit the top of the charts with "For Once in My Life". Though its been covered by such diverse personalities as Chaka Khan, Tom Jones, and the Jackson 5, I think Stevie's version is definitive, and danged if I didn't have the worst time trying to find an original version of the recording online to share with you guys! I finally came across this three-fer from a "best of" album, but that's after being frustrated by the four or five live, truncated versions of the song on youtube that are not the original recording! Which, as said, is out of CONTROL. Me, I just usually loop it on Spotify over and over. Lyrics like this keep me coming back for more:

You know my papa disapproved it,
My mama boohooed it,
But I told them time and time again,
"Don't you know I was made to love her,
Built a world all around her"
Yah! Hey, hey, hey.

Could you just die? And do you hear how he sings full force for the entire recording? And if he wants to put more emotional emphasis on the line, sings in falsetto? I'm so into this right now. The Stevie Wonder kick I've found myself on came out of nowhere. I was driving to work the other day listening to the new, unfortunately named Hippie Radio 94.5 when I heard this song:

                                       Also killer, also by Stevie Wonder. Coincidence?
"If You Really Love Me" , from 1971, is just as killer of a song, and just as unknown to me. I was mesmerized by the phrasing in the slowed-down-lyrics portions of the song in between choruses. It sounds! Exactly! Like! Amy Winehouse! I know that's a weird connection to make, but I'd always thought of her influences being more female Motown queens than kings, and here it was staring me right dead in the face. This part:

Then you say I'm untrue
What am I supposed to do
Be a fool who sits alone waiting for you 

especially reminds me of some of the pacing in "Tears Dry on Their Own". A cross between the Marvelettes and Stevie Wonder in one gorgeous, soul package. Part of that is probably producer Mark Ronson (who continually disappoints me only by not being related to Mick Ronson, David Bowie's Ziggy-era guitarist), but a good deal is probably also the late, great AW.

Hidden connections! 
Also, hair. And your talent. Do you know that I miss you?

I'm going to have to give some early to middle period recordings by Stevie Wonder a second chance and dig deeper into those recordings. I think he's one of those naturally great artists like Aretha Franklin that I end up taking for granted because I've heard them, and I've heard them, and then I heard them one more time, and I got sick of them. Oldies 96.3, my childhood oldies station that is now sadly defunct, would play some Motown records until you thought your ears were going to bleed if you listened to them again, and it really desensitized me to some of the amazing work being done. My ear wasn't critical enough as a little kid to do anything but like it and then get tired of's time for some early 60's music collecting re-evaluating at my house.

Do you have any artists you knew about but didn't really think much of, only to have a "morning drive" epiphany like mine as to their importance in your life? Can you think of any other then-to-now soul artists' comparison/influences? Share, share!

I hope you like the tunes-- see you tomorrow for Photo Friday. :)


  1. I am lucky enough to have XM radio in my car. Very lucky. I have been listening to the 60s, 70s and 40s stations most of the time as of late. No commercials. They play B sides. They play one hit wonders. What always, and I can't stress the always enough, strikes me is how in the world do the lyrics stay dormant in my brain for like 30 years and all of a sudden, I find myself singing along just like it was the year to the day they first charted! Like one from Bobby Sherman? Who? Bobby Sherman of course! Love Stevie a lot!

  2. Oh baby, I LOVE Stevie Wonder but I'd never heard that song! Now you've got me on a discovery streak -- I'll check out this whole period in his career! :)



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