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8. People Sinning Just For Fun

Stevie Wonder & Rolling StonesAs a promotion for Talking Book, Stevie toured the US and Canada with the Rolling Stones. This exposed him to a totally new audience who seemed to love him and his music and resulted in sales of Talking Book soaring wherever he'd played. However there were many difficulties with the tour, involving allotted time and lack of billing for Stevie at certain venues. However Steve still managed to attract attention. The New York Times reporter noted, "Spectacular as the Stones were, my most vivid musical memories are of the charged-up playing and singing of the blind soul singer/musician Stevie Wonder and his crisp band, Wonderlove." Or, as the New York Post put it, "Stevie Wonder is second fiddle to no one." Lifestyle and philosophical differences between Stevie and the Stones also made for some feeling of ambivalence on Steve's part. The Stones' studied decadence, their drug use, sexual promiscuity, and glorification of the seamier side of life were in stark contrast to Steve's values. To him, the Stones came as a shock. By rock standards Stevie is square. He does not drink; he does not smoke and certainly did not do drugs.

He said while on tour, My head hasn't swelled because I had success early. At least I don't think so. Some of it has actually turned me off. I mean, there's a lot of bull that goes down in the business. People blowing money on cocaine when they could be giving it to those who need it. We artists owe more than our music to, like, black people. We should give them some time, and, maybe, some money too.

Stevie WonderTo a Newsweek reporter, he said, I don't see any reason for taking drugs. . . If I were high it would destroy the character of my music, because I would be tripping out so much on myself as opposed to the things around me, or what I was seeing as opposed to the conclusions I've come to within my mind." He also added, "I can feel the cycle of the sun going up and down, I can feel the world spinning round. But how can you print that? People will say, 'Whoooeee! How high is he now?

Because Stevie speaks through his music you can find his position of drugs on a number of recording. In Bird of Beauty, on the Fulfillingness' First Finale album, he says:

There is so much in life for you to feel
Unfound in white, red, or yellow pills.

In Too High, on the Innervisions album, he takes a different angle, looking directly at dope and how it can destroy and empty people who seek in it an artificial enhancement of life.

In Chemical Love, on the Jungle Fever soundtrack he writes:

Some people find themselves hooked on the weirdest things
That have nothing to do with living
Some people crave for physical love
Some people crave material love
Yet fewer crave for spiritual love
You've got a chemical jones,
You've got a chemical love

It was around this time that Rolling Stone magazine ran a short piece called "Stevie Wonder: Can A Black Man Sing The Whites?" It mentioned that Steve was "talking about working on a Graham Nash session;" and that he'd just gotten through playing clavinet on a song he'd written for Jeff Beck, and also reported that the last time he'd been in England he'd played with Eric Clapton. He told Rolling Stone, I'm not playing with these guys for a money consideration. They have something to say that'll make what I want to say better.

Stevie is nothing if not modest; his humility is genuine, unaffected. But what was happening was that finally his genius was being acknowledged by circles that cut across age, race, and musical style. To Motown's everlasting credit, it had recognized his talent eleven years earlier.