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“Superstition” is a popular song written, produced, arranged, and performed by Stevie Wonder for Motown Records in 1972, when Wonder was 22 years old. It was the lead single for Wonder’s Talking Book album, and released in many countries. It reached number one in the USA, and number one on the soul singles chart. Overseas, it peaked number eleven in the UK during February 1973. In November 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song at #74 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song deals with superstitions, and mentions several popular superstitious fables in its lyrics.
Jeff Beck created the original drum beat while in the studio with Wonder. After writing the song Wonder offered it to Beck to record, but at the insistence of Berry Gordy Wonder himself recorded it first. Beck was instead offered “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers,” which he recorded on Blow by Blow in 1975. Jeff Beck played guitar on Talking Book and later recorded his own version of “Superstition” as a part of Beck, Bogert & Appice.
Wonder’s music had been undergoing a marked change from his earlier fit with the Motown Sound to a more personal style. This shift had been evident on his two prior albums, Where I’m Coming From and Music of My Mind, but it was Talking Book and “Superstition” that brought the new style to the awareness of the public in general.
“Superstition” is immediately recognizable for its opening drum beat, which was performed by Wonder, complete with a noticeable bass-drum pedal squeak throughout the track. Its iconic funky clavinet riff was performed by Wonder, while the electronic Arp and Moog synthesizer sounds were created by Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff. The song also features trumpet and saxophone, played respectively by Steve Madaio and Trevor Laurence.
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