In the world of R&B in 1984, who could halt the seemingly unstoppable Prince? As the superstar continued an incredible five-month (purple) reign over the soul album chart that had started in July and looked like it might run through Christmas, surely only one man had the power. On September 22, Stevie Wonder entered the countdown with his new project, and on December 8, he rose to the occasion. The Motown hero climbed to the top of the R&B album chart in America, and one soundtrack deposed another.
The record that ended the 19-week run at No.1 for the Purple Rain OST was Stevie’s album of songs for the film The Woman In Red. A little short of three months after its debut, the Motown soundtrack climbed to No.1, fuelled by the phenomenal popularity of its lead single “I Just Called To Say I Love You.” That multi-million-seller topped almost every chart that it entered around the world, from Australia to Australia and Norway to New Zealand.
Co-starring Dionne Warwick
The Woman In Red featured new vocal and instrumental performances by Stevie including another Top 5 soul single, “Love Light In Flight,” and three appearances by Dionne Warwick, on “It’s You,” “Moments Aren’t Moments,” and “Weakness.” The album reached No.4 on the US pop chart, went No.1 R&B and sold a million in the US. Come awards season, Stevie had a new trophy for the mantelpiece, as “I Just Called…” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Listen to the Motown Classics playlist.
The soundtrack extended his stellar history on the R&B album chart — even if that survey was not launched by Billboard magazine until 1965, two years after Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius and its single ‘Fingertips Part 1 & 2’ had both topped the US pop album and singles charts respectively.
Wonder’s first soul chart album entry was with Up-Tight Everything’s Alright, as it was spelt, which went to No.2 in 1966. He didn’t top that listing until Talking Book did the trick early in 1973, but then there was no stopping him. The Woman In Red made it seven R&B No.1 albums for Stevie in less than 12 years.
Buy or stream The Woman In Red.