8. People Sinning Just For Fun
As 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
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.
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
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,
Fulfillingness' First Finale
album, he says:
There is so much in life for you to feel
Unfound in white, red, or yellow pills.
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.
Love, on the
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
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
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.