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15. Jammin' Til The Break Of Dawn

Stevie WonderStevie could not allow another 2 or 3 years to go by before releasing another album. Hence he was under pressure to get back to the studio to come up with material for a new record.

However while working on tracks for what would be supposedly a more commercial offering, he found time to work on albums for both Jermaine Jackson and Roberta Flack.

Jermaine Jackson then the son-in-law of Berry Gordy, opted to stay with Motown as a solo artist when the Jackson 5 left for Epic records. His previous 2 solo albums were unsuccessful, and Berry Gordy felt it necessary to inject some life into his son-in-law's waning career. When he heard a track Stevie was working on called Lets Get Serious, he thought it would be ideal for Jermaine. The track showed that Stevie's commercial spark was clearly not blunted. Two other songs on the album was also written and produced by Stevie, You're Supposed To Keep Your Love For Me and Where Are You Now. The former was also released as a single, though did not achieve the success as did Let's Get Serious.

On Roberta's album, titled Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway, Stevie contributed 2 songs. Donny had died the previous year from an unfortunate fall from an office building. The cause has never been verified, as there have been theories ranging from suicide to tripping while under the influence of drugs. One of Stevie's songs on the album, You Are My Heaven, was a Roberta/Donny duet and co-written with Eric Mercury. The other was a disco smash called Don't Make Me Wait Too Long.

Also in 1980, Stevie contributed a song on Quincy Jones' album The Dude. The track Betcha Wouldn't Hurt Me also featured Stevie on Synthesizers.
Stevie Wonder
By May 1980 a press release of a forthcoming album titled Hotter Than July for July release was greeted with much skepticism by the press. As expected July came and went with no new record. However in August, concert dates were announced in the UK at Wembley Stadium, titled Hotter Than July Music Picnic, fuelling speculation of the album's imminent release.

To promote the tour dates, Stevie released the single, Masterblaster (Jammin'), though this was not necessary to ensure the instant sell-out of the 7 nights. On the last night September 7th, Stevie was joined on-stage by Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye causing pandemonium amongst the 8,000 strong audience. An extra date was then added on the 8th September to raise funds for charity.

The album was eventually released in October to much more favourable reviews than were afforded his previous record. It was more assessable to the record buying public, containing a more traditional collection of Stevie songs. It was written produced and arranged by Stevie and recorded and mixed at his own recently purchased studio called Wonderland in Los Angeles. The album kicks off with a soft 'ahh' that builds up to a crescendo and then the guitar crashes in Did I Hear You Say You Love Me. A great intro to an album. All I Do follows, a song written back in 1967, but until then never released featuring the O'Jays, Betty Wright and Michael Jackson on background vocals. Next is Rocket Love a beautiful ballad, featuring a moving string arrangement by Paul Riser. I Ain't Gonna Stand For It, the second single from the includes the Gap Band on background vocals, and inspired drumming by Stevie. It reached #10 on the UK charts, 4 on the US R&B and 11 US pop. As If You Read My Mind ended off side A of the then vinyl record.

Masterblaster opened Side 2, a reggae flavoured number that paid tribute to Bob Marley. It topped the US R&B charts, #5 pop and #2 UK. In Do Like You Stevie writes about his 2 kids, and Cash In Your Face he describes the plight of people looking for housing, but denied because of the colour of their skin. Lately a beautiful ballad, was the third single peaking at #3 UK but not faring too well in the US where it only managed a disappointing #64 pop.

Closing the album was Happy Birthday a song paying homage to Dr. Martin Luther King that would become an anthem for the movement to make his birthday January 15th a National Holiday.