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Thread started 12/24/16 9:06am

HAPPYPERSON

The Greatest Creative Run in the History of Popular Music

C0a-e7CW8AEJfEq.jpg

Too often, we wait till our favorite artists are gone to tell them how much we love them.
 Welcome to Wonder Week, a celebration of our finest living musician. Read our
introduction to the series
.

M
Most Americans follow up their 21st birthdays with a hangover; Stevie Wonder opted for arguably the greatest sustained run of creativity in the history of popular music. Wonder’s “classic period”—the polite phrase for when Stevie spent five years ferociously dunking on the entire history of popular music with the releases of Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale, and Songs in the Key of Life—is usually placed between 1972 and 1976, but it really begins a year earlier, with that birthday. In May 1971, Wonder turned 21 and gained access to 10 years’ worth of royalties that had been accruing in a trust set up for him by Motown Records when he’d signed his first contract, at age 11. He also allowed his Motown contract to expire, meaning that one of pop music’s hottest stars, on his 21st birthday, was now both financially secure and a free agent. If Motown wanted to keep him, it would require a deal unlike any the label had previously granted.

Wonder had been sowing the seeds for his independence for some time. In 1970, he’d written, produced, and played multiple instruments on the Spinners’ hit “It’s a Shame,” and in April 1971 he’d released Where I’m Coming From, a collection of songs he’d co-written with his then-wife, Syreeta Wright. Stevie Wonder was on his way up, and Berry Gordy needed to ensure he wasn’t on his way to another record label. Wonder negotiated a new contract with Motown that would grant him full artistic control over his music, his own publishing company, and an unprecedented royalty rate. It was a revolutionary deal that, over the next five years, would change the history of music.

Wonder’s first release under his new arrangement with Motown was a nine-song suite bearing the modest if portentous title, Music of My Mind. Released in March 1972, Music of My Mind is often considered the weakest of Wonder’s classic period albums, its standing eclipsed by what would follow it. But if Wonder had retired at age 22, Music of My Mind would be considered a miracle of ’70s pop, and rightly so. From the gnarled funk-rock of the album’s opener, “Love Having You Around,” to the post-psychedelic beauty of “Girl Blue,” to the triumphal synthesizer epic “Evil” that closed the record, Music of My Mind wedded a quirky, DIY charm to an emergent musical virtuosity that was explosive in its implications, like if Nick Drake had wandered into the studio with the Funk Brothers, except it was all coming from one dude. The album’s best song was “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You),” an eight-minute, two-part sprawl, the second part of which was a de facto sequel to Wonder’s 1971 ballad “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer” and the first part of which featured one of the most achingly beautiful melodies Wonder has ever written. On the song’s second verse there is a high harmony part that’s somehow even lovelier than the main melody, like some casual, flamboyant afterthought.




Wonder played nearly every instrument on Music of My Mind and made particularly groundbreaking use of Moog and TONTO synthesizers. (Synth whizzes Bob Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil co-produced the album with Stevie and would continue to work with him through Fulfillingness’ First Finale.) But my favorite aspect of Music of My Mind is the drums: By the time Talking Book rolled around less than six months later, Stevie Wonder had become one of the best drummers on the face of the earth, but on Music of My Mind he’s still feeling his way around the instrument in the studio. His playing is inventive, playful, breathtakingly musical, the sound of the most talented musician in the world learning before our ears.

Music of My Mind was only a modest commercial success, peaking at No. 21 on the Billboard album charts. With the release of Talking Book that October, the classic period found its commercial breakout. (One might think releasing two albums in a calendar year would suggest a reclusive studio-rat; Wonder in fact spent the summer of 1972 on the road opening for the Rolling Stones—who were touring behind Exile on Main St.—and also found time to produce, co-write, and play most of the instruments on Syreeta Wright’s debut album, Syreeta.) Talking Book’s lead single, “Superstition,” hit No. 1 on the Hot 100; its second single, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” repeated the feat. The quirky noodling of Music of My Mind had been replaced by ferocious focus and extraordinary songwriting. Alongside the two chart smashes were the sumptuous ballad “You and I” (which Michelle Obama later revealed was her and President Barack Obama’s wedding song), the exuberant rave-up “Tuesday Heartbreak,” and the album’s soaring closer, “I Believe (When I Fall in...e Forever).” Talking Book was rapturously received by critics: “A man whose only colors are in the spectrum of sounds has opened new eyes for all of us,” wrote the Chicago Tribune, while Rolling Stone declared it “the work of a now quite matured genius.”
Talking Book also displayed Wonder’s growing mastery of the album as form through its absolutely flawless sequencing. Take, for instance, the transition between “Superstition” and the track that follows it, “Big Brother.” Both are showcases for Wonder’s clavinet, the electric clavichord instrument made by Hohner that Wonder had been fiddling with since the late 1960s, but the texture of the instrument on both tracks is almost inverse, with “Superstition” all funky and percussive edges and “Big Brother” a smooth, soothing wash—almost the difference between a pluck and a strum. The sound of the two songs bleeding together highlights the range of Wonder’s instrument, but it also highlights the thematic link between the tracks: “Superstition” is an opaque rumination on conspiracy and paranoia, while “Big Brother” wraps a steely-eyed denunciation of Nixonism into a serene electro-folk ballad. (“Your name is big brother/ You say that you’re tired of me protesting”; it’s both prescient and disturbing that in 2016 every one of Stevie’s anti-Nixon tracks resounds perfectly as an anti-Trump track.)

In August 1973, Wonder released Innervisions. His follow-up to Talking Book was an even more high-minded and conceptually ambitious work: Only three of the album’s nine tracks were love songs, with Wonder instead focusing on topics such as drug addiction (“Too High”), religious hypocrisy (“Jesus Children of America”), and, once again, Nixon (“He’s Misstra Know-It-All”). Innervisions produced three hits, “Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing,” the reincarnation meditation “Higher Ground” (which Wonder wrote and recorded entirely by himself in a span of three hours), and “Living for the City,” a seven-and-a-half–minute migration narrative that touched on systemic racial inequality in employment, housing, the criminal justice system, and damn near everything else.
stevie-wonder-piano.jpg

Innervisions also marked Wonder’s full ascendance as a composer. At 23 years old, the kid who could play every instrument on earth (including chromatic harmonica like it was Charlie Parker’s alto sax) was now writing like some combination of George Gershwin and Smokey Robinson. The bridge to “Living for the City”—“da-da-da DAH, dah dah, DAH …”—is among the more harmonically counterintuitive chord progressions in pop music, a bunch of sounds that shouldn’t fit next to each according to every rule in the book and yet somehow fit perfectly. “Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing” alchemizes a gleefully counterfeit Afro-Cuban verse form with a smooth pop chorus to create some ecstatic new world, while “All in Love Is Fair” is pure Tin Pan Alley and became a standard almost the moment it was released. Innervisions would win Album of the Year at the Grammys, the first time the award had gone to a black artist.
Three days after the release of Innervisions, Wonder was in a life-threatening car accident that left him in a coma for several days. While recovering at a hospital in Los Angeles, he told a reporter that “for a few days I was definitely in a much better spiritual place that made me aware of a lot of things that concern my life and my future and what I have to do to reach another higher ground.” Granted the very second chance he...sung about, in 1974 he turned in arguably his most extraordinary year yet. He co-wrote, produced, and played many of the instruments on his ex-wife Syreeta Wright’s second album, titled Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta, while still finding the energy to write hits for Minnie Rip...Chaka Khan.
He also released Fulfillingness’ First Finale, perhaps the most intellectually reaching work of the classic period and the album that feels the most personal and least concerned with commercial success. It still found it, of course: The album’s first single was “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” another anti-Nixon diatribe and another No. 1, and the sleek and raunchy “Boogie On Reggae Woman” cracked the Top 5 as well. But Fulfillingness often felt more concerned with philosophical conversation than radio play: “Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away” is a riveting bit of gospel-infused Afrofuturism, equal parts mournful and hopeful, and the Chopin-esque dirge “They Won’t Go When I Go” is one of the more scathing compositions in Wonder’s catalog, a rumination on the Promised Land and how Stevie deserves to get there before any of the rest of us (a somewhat dickish if correct assertion). Like Innervisions, Fulfillingness took the Grammy for Album of the Year.
When Paul Simon took home that year’s Grammy, he famously thanked Stevie for sitting the year out.

In 1975 Wonder didn’t release a new album for the first time in a decade; when Paul Simon won that year’s Grammy he famously thanked Stevie for sitting the year out. The interregnum was short-lived: In 1976 he returned with Songs in the Key of Life, a sprawling double-album that became only the third album in American history to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Album charts, where it remained for three months, ultimately selling more than 10 million copies. It produced two No. 1 singles (“Sir Duke” and “I Wish”) and won the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll and, of course, Album of the Year at the Grammys, Stevie’s third in four years.
Songs in the Key of Life is a monumental work of American popular culture. It has inspired books, documentaries, cover albums. Released just weeks before the election of Jimmy Carter, it is perhaps the most ambitious work ever made by a pop star at the height of his or her powers, a “concept album” whose concept is nothing less than life itself. Its songs deal with, in rough order: love, God, inequality, music, childhood, romance, religious hypocrisy, betrayal, and divorce, and that’s just the first disc. It is a magnum opus in every sense, the product of an artist consciously setting out to make a career-defining musical landmark and succeeding in breathtaking fashion. That artist was still only 26 years old.
Songs in the Key of Life might not even be the best album of the classic period—I’d put both Innervisions and Talking Book ahead of it, although that’s splitting hairs—but it’s its apotheosis, and its capstone work. Wonder wouldn’t release another album of new material for three more years, before returning in 1979 with the deeply weird Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. If Alexander wept when there were no more worlds left to conquer, Stevie happily composed 90 minutes of largely instrumental music for the soundtrack to a documentary about botany. It was a charming and well-deserved departure. Between 1972 and 1976, Stevie Wonder made what felt like a lifetime’s worth of music—his own, certainly, but ours as well. We’ve never heard anything like it since, and barring another reincarnation, we never will again.

https://redux.slate.com/c...music.html




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Reply #1 posted 12/24/16 9:54am

heathilly

I agree but it subjective

you have

the beatles

bob dylan

joni mitchell

prince

Mj

etc...

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Reply #2 posted 12/24/16 2:00pm

COMPUTERBLUE19
84

heathilly said:

I agree but it subjective



you have


the beatles


bob dylan


joni mitchell


prince


Mj


etc...






Co sign

In the 70s, Stevie and Bowie (to a lesser extent, Elton) can lay claim to periods of artistic excellence/creative arcs. I'm sure there are others, but can't think right now...😉
"Old man's gotta be the old man. Fish has got to be the fish."
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Reply #3 posted 12/24/16 2:35pm

MotownSubdivis
ion

avatar

heathilly said:

I agree but it subjective



you have


the beatles


bob dylan


joni mitchell


prince


Mj


etc...


It's clearly subjective but the writer makes a strong argument.

I'd like to add Outkast to your list. Probably the most adventurous discography in hip hop.
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Reply #4 posted 12/24/16 2:56pm

Identity

I'd like to add U2, The Smiths, The Cure and the Stones to the list.

"Fall like lightning.''
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Reply #5 posted 12/24/16 5:29pm

heathilly

MotownSubdivision said:

heathilly said:

I agree but it subjective

you have

the beatles

bob dylan

joni mitchell

prince

Mj

etc...

It's clearly subjective but the writer makes a strong argument. I'd like to add Outkast to your list. Probably the most adventurous discography in hip hop.

I can guarantee kendrick will be part of that convo soon enough two classic albums and mixtape if you call section 80 a mixtape.

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Reply #6 posted 12/24/16 6:53pm

lastdecember

avatar

Elton John and Billy Joel easily need to be on this list and close to the top. THat era with all the competition and talent the Paul SImons the Bowies and Stevie and countless others. Just the run of HIT albums that those two had in such a short period of time. Today artists take too damn long so i cant even take anyone seriously from now in this conversation regardless of talent and how the good records are. I mean then they were doing one a year at least and touring all over. today they barely tour take 3-4 years at least or more, have no competition so there is no equating an artist now to say someone in the 70's


"We went where our music was appreciated, and that was everywhere but the USA, we knew we had fans, but there is only so much of the world you can play at once" Magne F
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Reply #7 posted 12/24/16 7:59pm

heathilly

lastdecember said:

Elton John and Billy Joel easily need to be on this list and close to the top. THat era with all the competition and talent the Paul SImons the Bowies and Stevie and countless others. Just the run of HIT albums that those two had in such a short period of time. Today artists take too damn long so i cant even take anyone seriously from now in this conversation regardless of talent and how the good records are. I mean then they were doing one a year at least and touring all over. today they barely tour take 3-4 years at least or more, have no competition so there is no equating an artist now to say someone in the 70's


Well I think that has less to with the artist back than were more inspired or etc. it was more like that's how the music biz worked back than putting out albums yearly. Today doing that isn't really the best way to capitalize off the music you want to work it to get every last dollar. If artist were required to put out frequently they would and you would get the same level prolificy as back in the day. The times of the day dictate a lot about the culture and people of the time.
[Edited 12/25/16 6:37am]
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Reply #8 posted 12/25/16 6:47am

lastdecember

avatar

heathilly said:

lastdecember said:

Elton John and Billy Joel easily need to be on this list and close to the top. THat era with all the competition and talent the Paul SImons the Bowies and Stevie and countless others. Just the run of HIT albums that those two had in such a short period of time. Today artists take too damn long so i cant even take anyone seriously from now in this conversation regardless of talent and how the good records are. I mean then they were doing one a year at least and touring all over. today they barely tour take 3-4 years at least or more, have no competition so there is no equating an artist now to say someone in the 70's

Well I think that has less to with the artist back than were more inspired or etc. it was more like that's how the music biz worked back than putting out albums yearly. Today doing that isn't really the best way to capitalize off the music you want to work it to get every last dollar. If artist were required to put out frequently they would and you would get the same level prolificy as back in the day. The times of the day dictate a lot about the culture and people of the time. [Edited 12/25/16 6:37am]

I dont think you would still get the same level of artistry if everyone was still putting out an album a year now. I feel that too many times we necessarily feel all times are equal talent is everywhere etc..the old argument that the music is there you gotta find it excuse. People were not "finding it" in the 70's and 80's etc...the "finding it" excuse to me was to excuse the lack of artistry and there is a huge lack of it in music sorry to say. I cannot compare a 5 album run of Paul Simon or Stevie Wonder to say a 5 album run of Justin Beiber or Drake. There was a whole other process going into how they created and how it is created now so there is a huge disconnect now I feel in an artist and what is going on around them.


"We went where our music was appreciated, and that was everywhere but the USA, we knew we had fans, but there is only so much of the world you can play at once" Magne F
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Reply #9 posted 12/25/16 9:48am

heathilly

lastdecember said:

heathilly said:

lastdecember said: Well I think that has less to with the artist back than were more inspired or etc. it was more like that's how the music biz worked back than putting out albums yearly. Today doing that isn't really the best way to capitalize off the music you want to work it to get every last dollar. If artist were required to put out frequently they would and you would get the same level prolificy as back in the day. The times of the day dictate a lot about the culture and people of the time. [Edited 12/25/16 6:37am]

I dont think you would still get the same level of artistry if everyone was still putting out an album a year now. I feel that too many times we necessarily feel all times are equal talent is everywhere etc..the old argument that the music is there you gotta find it excuse. People were not "finding it" in the 70's and 80's etc...the "finding it" excuse to me was to excuse the lack of artistry and there is a huge lack of it in music sorry to say. I cannot compare a 5 album run of Paul Simon or Stevie Wonder to say a 5 album run of Justin Beiber or Drake. There was a whole other process going into how they created and how it is created now so there is a huge disconnect now I feel in an artist and what is going on around them.

There are artist who are equal to and greater than paul simon and stevie wonder they just dont get the exposure they do. And the current culture really influences what artist create heavily. Justin bieber was marginally talented child star and drake a marginally talented rapper. Kendrick lamar is one of those real talented people who rose to the top by sheer force of will. You see alot of people are really talented and visonary artist but they dont have the edurance and drive to keep going when doors keep getting slammed in there face at every turn they eventually just give up and fade into obscurity. I think back in the day it was about the record and the music primarly and the artist made the music. Today its about the image of the artist first than the producer who makes the music for most part. Music today is like wallpaper to the social life of celebrities

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Reply #10 posted 12/25/16 10:28am

LittleBLUECorv
ette

avatar

MotownSubdivision said:

heathilly said:

I agree but it subjective



you have


the beatles


bob dylan


joni mitchell


prince


Mj


etc...


It's clearly subjective but the writer makes a strong argument.

I'd like to add Outkast to your list. Probably the most adventurous discography in hip hop.

I'd take Tribe over OutKast.
PRINCE: Always and Forever
MICHAEL JACKSON: Always and Forever
-----
Live Your Life How U Wanna Live It
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Reply #11 posted 12/27/16 11:12pm

206Michelle

Stevie is my FAVORITE musician of all time! He, Springsteen, and Elton John may very well be the 3 greatest living multi-instrument, singing musicians.

Live 4 Love ~ Love is God, God is love, Girls and boys love God above
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Reply #12 posted 12/28/16 2:50am

Adorecream

avatar

My opinions

.

1. Prince 1979 - 1988 and 1991 - 1996, 2006 - 2015 (On misstep with Boytrouble)

.

2. Stevie Wonder 1966 - 1984 (Pretty much uptight to I just called to say I love you)

.

3. David Bowie 1969 -1980 Every album built on from the last - an evolving musical force. Let's Dance was successful but nothing new and the rest of the 80s was dreadful, he came back after 94 though.

.

4. Michael Jackson 1979 - 1997 (Includes 2 years of fallout from History)

.

5. George Michael 1982 - 1998 Up to songs of the last century

.

6. Beatles 1962 - 1969

.

7. Madonna 1984 - 1994 (Virgin to Bedtime stories is incredible, Evita a slight mistep)

.

8. Rolling Stones 1968 - 1972 - 5 incredible albums released at a time, when they were the greatest band in the world. Lots of up downs in their career, but between Beggars Banquet (Well even Jumpin Jack Flash released in mid 1968) and Exile on Main Street, musically they could do no wrong.

.

9. Elton John, I do love and he had some great albums, but his career was patchy with rubbish in between the highlights but the period from Elton John (Jan 1970) to Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (Mid 1975) being his best run with Don't shoot me I am the Piano Player and Goodbye Yellow Brick road being his peak.

.

Later albums are some highlights like 2 Low 4 Zero, Made in England, 21 at 33, etc but with a lot of filler and rubbish like Victim of Love 1979 and 1986's barely there Leather Jackets.

.

10. Lionel Richie, the period 1982 - 1986 stands out, but amongst the Hello's and Penny Lovers is a lot of cheese and filler.

.

11. Marvin Gaye 1968 - 1976 Some earth shattering material (Heard it through the grapevine, Whats going on, Lets get it on, I want you and your are everything) and lesser material (The Onion song, Sanctified lady)

[Edited 12/28/16 2:56am]

Prince - Love4oneanother
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Reply #13 posted 12/28/16 10:28am

206Michelle

Adorecream said:

My opinions

.

1. Prince 1979 - 1988 and 1991 - 1996, 2006 - 2015 (On misstep with Boytrouble)

.

2. Stevie Wonder 1966 - 1984 (Pretty much uptight to I just called to say I love you)

.

3. David Bowie 1969 -1980 Every album built on from the last - an evolving musical force. Let's Dance was successful but nothing new and the rest of the 80s was dreadful, he came back after 94 though.

.

4. Michael Jackson 1979 - 1997 (Includes 2 years of fallout from History)

.

5. George Michael 1982 - 1998 Up to songs of the last century

.

6. Beatles 1962 - 1969

.

7. Madonna 1984 - 1994 (Virgin to Bedtime stories is incredible, Evita a slight mistep)

.

8. Rolling Stones 1968 - 1972 - 5 incredible albums released at a time, when they were the greatest band in the world. Lots of up downs in their career, but between Beggars Banquet (Well even Jumpin Jack Flash released in mid 1968) and Exile on Main Street, musically they could do no wrong.

.

9. Elton John, I do love and he had some great albums, but his career was patchy with rubbish in between the highlights but the period from Elton John (Jan 1970) to Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (Mid 1975) being his best run with Don't shoot me I am the Piano Player and Goodbye Yellow Brick road being his peak.

.

Later albums are some highlights like 2 Low 4 Zero, Made in England, 21 at 33, etc but with a lot of filler and rubbish like Victim of Love 1979 and 1986's barely there Leather Jackets.

.

10. Lionel Richie, the period 1982 - 1986 stands out, but amongst the Hello's and Penny Lovers is a lot of cheese and filler.

.

11. Marvin Gaye 1968 - 1976 Some earth shattering material (Heard it through the grapevine, Whats going on, Lets get it on, I want you and your are everything) and lesser material (The Onion song, Sanctified lady)

[Edited 12/28/16 2:56am]

Regarding Madonna, Ray of Light was very good. She had a lot of success with the album Music also. So I would add the years 1997-2001.

--

Regarding Prince, you are excluding Musicology?

[Edited 12/28/16 10:29am]

Live 4 Love ~ Love is God, God is love, Girls and boys love God above
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Reply #14 posted 12/28/16 2:46pm

Adorecream

avatar

206Michelle said:

Adorecream said:

My opinions

.

1. Prince 1979 - 1988 and 1991 - 1996, 2006 - 2015 (On misstep with Boytrouble)

.

2. Stevie Wonder 1966 - 1984 (Pretty much uptight to I just called to say I love you)

.

3. David Bowie 1969 -1980 Every album built on from the last - an evolving musical force. Let's Dance was successful but nothing new and the rest of the 80s was dreadful, he came back after 94 though.

.

4. Michael Jackson 1979 - 1997 (Includes 2 years of fallout from History)

.

5. George Michael 1982 - 1998 Up to songs of the last century

.

6. Beatles 1962 - 1969

.

7. Madonna 1984 - 1994 (Virgin to Bedtime stories is incredible, Evita a slight mistep)

.

8. Rolling Stones 1968 - 1972 - 5 incredible albums released at a time, when they were the greatest band in the world. Lots of up downs in their career, but between Beggars Banquet (Well even Jumpin Jack Flash released in mid 1968) and Exile on Main Street, musically they could do no wrong.

.

9. Elton John, I do love and he had some great albums, but his career was patchy with rubbish in between the highlights but the period from Elton John (Jan 1970) to Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (Mid 1975) being his best run with Don't shoot me I am the Piano Player and Goodbye Yellow Brick road being his peak.

.

Later albums are some highlights like 2 Low 4 Zero, Made in England, 21 at 33, etc but with a lot of filler and rubbish like Victim of Love 1979 and 1986's barely there Leather Jackets.

.

10. Lionel Richie, the period 1982 - 1986 stands out, but amongst the Hello's and Penny Lovers is a lot of cheese and filler.

.

11. Marvin Gaye 1968 - 1976 Some earth shattering material (Heard it through the grapevine, Whats going on, Lets get it on, I want you and your are everything) and lesser material (The Onion song, Sanctified lady)

[Edited 12/28/16 2:56am]

Regarding Madonna, Ray of Light was very good. She had a lot of success with the album Music also. So I would add the years 1997-2001.

--

Regarding Prince, you are excluding Musicology?

[Edited 12/28/16 10:29am]

I was thinking about Ray of Light and Music, they are okay but for some reason I just don't like Ray of Light very much, 3 or 4 songs are nice, but the rest is boring, cold and morose. Music is more fun, but it is just a good pop album like say Diamonds and Pearls is, rather than being a classic. Bedtime Stories even is at the end of her winning streak, with I consider Like a Prayer being a peak, with True Blue and Erotica being the other sides of her dream triptych (Hat trick). Next to the sustained brilliance of The Immaculate Collection (I still consider it the greatest, greatest hits album of all time), GHV2 is utter shite, the only plus is it has Beautiful Stranger from 1999.

.

My opinion can change, I was not a huge fan of erotica until 4 or 5 years ago, people like Cinnie and a few others managed to explain its brilliance and I listened to it more and relaised Erotica is a genius piece. Ray of Light has the title track, Frozen, Mer Girl, The Power of Goodbye and Substitute for love, but I consider most of the rest filler. Maybe one day I treat Ray of Light the same way. It makes me feel like an outsider as my 1st partner and cousin who are both obsessed with Madonna, really love Ray of Light.

.

That is the problem with most post 1995 Madonna, too many filler tracks, yet every albume xcept American life has 2 or 3 killer tracks. Even Rebel Heart had Ghost Town and Icon, songs I consider to be on par with Like a Prayer, Open your heart, Borderline and Bad Girl. Madonna is always going to be able to make great songs, but like Prince, she was even less disciplined in quality control. Still 1986 - 1992 was the peak dela peak and 1990 the absolute summit with Justify my love and Vogue - perfect Madonna songs at the summit of her career. When I first heard Justify my love and saw the video I nearly DIED!

.

With Prince, I just find Musicology slow and boring, like Ray of Light 3or 4 songs are amazing and the rest is not filler, but just bombastic and over the top. Songs like Life of the Party and Cinnamon Girl have dated so quickly serving as aspic pickled reminders of the early 2000s era after 9/11.

Prince - Love4oneanother
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Reply #15 posted 12/28/16 4:27pm

Graycap23

avatar

P-Funk

Bootsy

The Isley Brothers

James Brown

Donny Hathaway

Ray Charles

Kraftwerk

Facts don't give a funk about your opinion.
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Reply #16 posted 12/28/16 4:39pm

mjscarousal

Michael Jackson

Stevie Wonder

90% of their catalogs are flawless and classics. IMO, they have the greatest creative pop run and pop catalogs bar none. Marvin Gaye comes in third for me.

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Reply #17 posted 12/28/16 5:29pm

LittleBLUECorv
ette

avatar

Sly Stone 68-74

Ice Cube 90-93

If just goin by singles, James Brown 63-72

PRINCE: Always and Forever
MICHAEL JACKSON: Always and Forever
-----
Live Your Life How U Wanna Live It
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Reply #18 posted 12/28/16 6:21pm

206Michelle

Stevie Wonder won the Grammy for the Album of the Year in 1973 (Innervisions), 1974 (Fulfillingness' First Finale), and 1976 (Songs in the Key of Life). He won a total of 12 Grammy awards during the 1970s, which is ridiculous.

Live 4 Love ~ Love is God, God is love, Girls and boys love God above
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Reply #19 posted 12/28/16 6:25pm

206Michelle

Elton John has had amazing staying power. He was dominant in the 70s, had some success in the 80s, and then had tremendous success in the 90s with The Lion King and Candle in the Wind.

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Reply #20 posted 12/28/16 6:25pm

luvsexy4all

Rush 72-82

black sabbath 70-75

led zep 69-76

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Reply #21 posted 12/28/16 6:31pm

206Michelle

luvsexy4all said:

Rush 72-82

black sabbath 70-75

led zep 69-76

Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath for sure, but not Rush. Rush is not as well known as LZ or BS.

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Reply #22 posted 12/28/16 7:13pm

COMPUTERBLUE19
84

After some thought, the two best arcs musically over an extended period (at least 10 years) of time belong to my two musical heroes, David Bowie and Prince.

Bowie:

Starting with "The Man WHo Sold the World" and ending with "Scary Monsters", the guy was on fire from 1970-1980. The characters (Ziggy to Halloween Jack to The Thin White Duke) the sounds (Glam to Plastic Soul to The Berlin Trilogy) and ideas that came from him was second to none. His only misstep was Pinups, which I didn't care for. Also remember he produced for Lou Reed, Mott the Hoople, and Iggy Pop (their best works) in that time too. Ten years, and different sounds on almost every album and very little filler. His output in the 1980's was sporadic in quality, but he was a larger pop force by then.

Prince:

Starting with For You (1978) and ending with Lovesexy (1988), 10 years that saw him grow his sound from R&B/pop to New Wave/Funk/Rock/Psychadelic over that time. He had some classic albums in the mix (1999, Sign o The Times and Purple Rain) and his dominance over the sound of the 1980's was pretty obvious. From the Minneapolis Sound, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis had teh foundation in place for Janet Jackson's dominance from the mid 1980's onward. Like Bowie, his work for others allowed for him to permeate the charts on almost any given year in the 1980's.

CHeck the link below(Prince):

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/04/22/prince_ruled_the_charts_in_the_80s_even_when_his_name_wasn_t_on_the_songs.html

[Edited 12/28/16 19:15pm]

[Edited 12/28/16 19:17pm]

"Old man's gotta be the old man. Fish has got to be the fish."
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Reply #23 posted 12/29/16 1:37pm

RJOrion

Earth Wind & Fire 1972 - 1981

Last Days & Time 72

Head To The Sky 73

Open Our Eyes 74

Thats The Way of the World 75

Gratitude 75

Spirit 76

All N All 77

The Best Of EW&F 78

I AM 79

Faces 80

Raise 81

Prince 1978 - 1992

For You 78

Prince 79

Dirty Mind 80

Controversy 81

1999 82

Purple Rain 84

Around The World In A Day 85

Parade 86

Sign O The Times 87

Lovesexy 88

Batman 89

Graffiti Bridge 90

Diamonds & Pearls 91

Love Symbol Lp 92

[Edited 12/29/16 13:38pm]

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Reply #24 posted 12/31/16 6:38am

spacedolphin

avatar

hmmm Yeah, it's a reasonable call, though tbh I found FFF a bit boring and Talking Book never said not one word to me. What this thread did make me think about though is the number of artists who had amazing creative streaks in the 70s - Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Funkadelic, Santana, Neil Young, Roxy Music, King Crimson, Judas Priest, The Temptations, that guy who did the Scooby Doo theme, etc, I am envious of the array of quality and durability those artists had in that decade.

[Edited 12/31/16 6:41am]

music
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Reply #25 posted 12/31/16 10:14am

NorthC

The Rolling Stones 1965-78
Aftermath (66)
Between the Buttons (67)
Their Satanic Majesties Request (67)
Beggars Banquet (68)
Let it Bleed (69)
Sticky Fingers (71)
Exile on Main St. (72)
Goats Head Soup (73)
It's Only Rock n Roll (74)
Black and Blue (76)
Some Girls (78)

That's pretty hard to beat!!!
Don't ever lose your dreams.
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Reply #26 posted 12/31/16 11:02am

heathilly

Joni Mitchell

Song to a seagull
Clouds
Ladies of the canyon
Blue
For the roses
Court and spark
The hissing of summer lawns
Hejira

All musically and lyrical sophistcated clouds is not as strong as the others but this list of albums is as profound and inspired as you can get.
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Reply #27 posted 12/31/16 4:04pm

fortuneandsere
ndipity

avatar

1) Prince

2) Zappa

3) Bowie (83-87 period incredibly underrated; no decent album since)

4) Dylan (hasnt done a decent album since '78)

5) Lennon (died too soon, did some shit in the 70s tho)

Stevie Wonder hasn't done anything consistently good since '76.

Michael Jackson not prolific enough.

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Reply #28 posted 01/01/17 12:07am

NorthC

All of Dylan's albums from Time Out of Mind (1997) to Tempest (2012) have been excellent. music
I do agree about Michael Jackson: if you take 5 years to record an album, you're not on a "creative run". Which is also why I'm not including Kate Bush, who I really love, but she also takes her own sweet time to record an album. Although she had an amazing musical journey from her debut in 1978 up to Hounds of Love in 1985.
[Edited 1/1/17 0:13am]
Don't ever lose your dreams.
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Reply #29 posted 01/01/17 6:32am

heathilly

NorthC said:

All of Dylan's albums from Time Out of Mind (1997) to Tempest (2012) have been excellent. music
I do agree about Michael Jackson: if you take 5 years to record an album, you're not on a "creative run". Which is also why I'm not including Kate Bush, who I really love, but she also takes her own sweet time to record an album. Although she had an amazing musical journey from her debut in 1978 up to Hounds of Love in 1985.
[Edited 1/1/17 0:13am]

I have to disagree mj didn't release frequently because he wanted to get as much money as possible out of each album let the song chart till they fall do a full tour, endorsements, special events etc. A lot his best stuff was written around the same time and by his own words he wrote hundreds of songs around this time and you have to include the Jacksons material so that's
Destiny
Triumph
Off the wall
Thriller
Bad
[Edited 1/1/17 6:42am]
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