On 19 May 1973, Stevie Wonder‘s 14th pop top ten hit in the US became his third No. 1. ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life’ completed its two-month climb to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The second single released from his 1972 masterpiece Talking Book, the highly romantic song was nominated for no fewer than three Grammy Awards. It won one, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The album had the multi-instrumental genius in some of the hottest chart form of his life, making two pop chart-toppers in a row: the new single was the follow-up to the stunning No. 1 ‘Superstition.’
‘Sunshine’ also makes for an interesting trivia quiz question, in which you are asked to name the two vocalists who appear on the track before Stevie Wonder himself does. The answer is that Jim Gilstrap takes the first two lines, Lani Groves the second two, and then Wonder takes over. Gilstrap became best known for his 1975 solo hit ‘Swing Your Daddy.’
Spreading the sunshine
The song additionally reached No. 1 on Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary chart, Wonder’s first winner in that countdown. It made the top ten in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, spending two weeks at No. 7 in the UK in June 1973.
Scott Edwards, who played bass on ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life,’ made at Electric Lady Studios in New York, told the Songfacts website that Stevie “had been working with the structure by himself. But once he had all of us together, he just started playing it.
“He made it all sound so easy”
“And then we all joined in and we all could feel that the vibe and the way the tune was going, it was a hit,” said Edwards. “He was so excited, he said, ‘Tonight we’re going to the studio and record it.’ And that’s what we did.” As usual, Wonder made it all sound so easy.”
Hundreds of artists went on to cover the song, hoping of course to bask in some of Stevie’s ‘Sunshine.’ Johnny Mathis was first out of the blocks, soon followed by Brenda Lee, Andy Williams, Liza Minnelli and so many more.
‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life’ is on Talking Book, can be bought here.
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