Record of the Day - 06/23/2022
It’s hard to believe how gutsy Stevie Wonder was when he was only in his early twenties. On his 21st birthday, he let his contract with Motown expire, because label boss Berry Gordy wouldn’t give him the artistic freedom he craved. Motown was essentially a hit factory in the 60’s, but Gordy was also known to be a control freak. After leaving Motown, Wonder recorded two albums without a label that were so good that he got resigned. This time on his terms. It was a wise decision for both sides. Wonder’s second stint at Motown started with “Innervisions” - our Record of the Day. It was his 16th (!) studio album. He was 23. And it is still considered one of his best. He took full advantage of his new freedom, writing all of the songs and recording virtually every instrument himself. It is an album that shows his impressive musical spectrum and also served as a courageous commentary on life during the Nixon years from the perspective of a young black man. The often gloomy subject matter is accompanied by his soulful, funky compositions which often allow light to shimmer through the darkness.