12 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Stevie Wonder’s capacity for expressing unfettered joy is one of his greatest strengths, and there may be no song in his incredible body of work more joyful than “My Cherie Amour.” First written when he was 16 and finished with the help of Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby—the Motown team whose mentorship of the label’s boy wonder also yielded “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and “I Was Made to Love Her”—this rhapsodic ode to new love was originally named “Oh My Marsha” until a breakup necessitated a name change.

A huge hit in January of 1969, the single cemented the soul sensation’s place in the pop world. It also led off the eponymous album that arrived in August, Wonder’s last of the '60s. My Cherie Amour demonstrates the then-19-year-old’s eagerness to push beyond the parameters of the Motown sound and pursue a more singular creative vision. The four additional collaborations with Moy and Crosby all show Wonder’s increasing finesse as a songwriter. Like the effervescent title track, the bittersweet “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday” and the soaring “Angie Girl” are early examples of the openhearted yet musically adventurous sensibility that fully emerged three years later on Music of My Mind.

In another sign of his growing prowess, Wonder finds ways to elevate the cover songs Motown traditionally used as album filler. Draped in strings and energized by his harmonica, Wonder’s take on “Light My Fire” adds both swing and soul to The Doors’ hit. Likewise, his impassioned yet playful vocals lend freshness to jazz and Broadway standards like “The Shadow of Your Smile” and “Hello Young Lovers.” A sensuous showstopper in the version by Etta James, “At Last” becomes another burst of sunshine in Wonder’s hands.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Stevie Wonder’s capacity for expressing unfettered joy is one of his greatest strengths, and there may be no song in his incredible body of work more joyful than “My Cherie Amour.” First written when he was 16 and finished with the help of Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby—the Motown team whose mentorship of the label’s boy wonder also yielded “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and “I Was Made to Love Her”—this rhapsodic ode to new love was originally named “Oh My Marsha” until a breakup necessitated a name change.

A huge hit in January of 1969, the single cemented the soul sensation’s place in the pop world. It also led off the eponymous album that arrived in August, Wonder’s last of the '60s. My Cherie Amour demonstrates the then-19-year-old’s eagerness to push beyond the parameters of the Motown sound and pursue a more singular creative vision. The four additional collaborations with Moy and Crosby all show Wonder’s increasing finesse as a songwriter. Like the effervescent title track, the bittersweet “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday” and the soaring “Angie Girl” are early examples of the openhearted yet musically adventurous sensibility that fully emerged three years later on Music of My Mind.

In another sign of his growing prowess, Wonder finds ways to elevate the cover songs Motown traditionally used as album filler. Draped in strings and energized by his harmonica, Wonder’s take on “Light My Fire” adds both swing and soul to The Doors’ hit. Likewise, his impassioned yet playful vocals lend freshness to jazz and Broadway standards like “The Shadow of Your Smile” and “Hello Young Lovers.” A sensuous showstopper in the version by Etta James, “At Last” becomes another burst of sunshine in Wonder’s hands.

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