Number 1's

by: Stevie Wonder

Issued as an ecological package that is renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable, Number 1's collects Stevie Wonder's biggest hits beginning with 1963's timeless and irresistible "Fingertips, Pt. 2" and running straight through to "So What the Fuss" (which features Prince on guitar) from Wonder's 2005 comeback album, A Time 2 Love. In between are such enduring touchstones as 1965's "Uptight (Everything Is Alright)," the gritty "Living for the City" and the edgy, uplifting "Higher Ground" from 1973's Innervisions, the wise and pop-elegant "Sir Duke" from 1976's sprawling Songs in the Key of Life, and the reggae-tinged "Master Blaster (Jammin')" from 1980. It all adds up to a nearly 40-year survey of a master songwriter and musician whose unerring ear managed to produce and land songs on the charts that drew from every corner of the pop universe, from soul and R&B to funk, jazz, and reggae, all done with joy, hope, and an underlying intelligence and wisdom that are all too rare in popular culture. For a casual collection that provides all the big radio hits from the start of his career to date, this Stevie Wonder set will be all that many listeners will ever need. The wonder (pun intended), of course, is that what's here is just the tip of the iceberg, and there's so much more when one turns to Wonder's actual albums, particularly the ones from the mid- to late '70s. Throw this in the car and keep it there. It'll take you to some nice places, down memory lane and back again, with songs full of heart and soul. ~ Steve Leggett

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