Loving me some Stevie...

Today I am thinking about - and loving - Stevie Wonder. He is another of my favorite musical geniuses. And while I don't always enjoy some of his slower and/or more sentimental tunes, I love me some Stevie Wonder groove and soul - and like the Dovells used to wail: "I can't sit down" when those songs start to play!
This morning started with what I think is Dr. Wonder's most amazing love song: "As" (a song I thought was entitled, "Always!") It comes from one of his master works, "Songs in the Key of Life" in 1976 and is simultaneously beautiful, sexy, funky and inspirational. This cat was able to bring together soul, R n B, rock, jazz and gospel in ways we're still celebrating. He is one of my heroes - an agent of God's love, joy, peace and justice in the flesh - who made it clear that while music won't change the world - it can touch the heart. And when our hearts our changed, our minds and bodies can follow. And THAT makes all the difference in the world.

As around the sun the earth knows she's revolving 
And the rosebuds know to bloom in early May 
Just as hate knows love's the cure 
You can rest your mind assure 
That I'll be loving you always 
As now can't reveal the mystery of tomorrow 
But in passing will grow older every day 
Just as all is born is new 
Do know what I say is true 
That I'll be loving you always 

Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky---ALWAYS 
Until the ocean covers every mountain high---ALWAYS 
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea---ALWAYS 
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream 

There are three other Stevie Wonder songs that rock my world. Next comes "Superstition" that just may be the most perfect song in creation: you can't help but shake your booty to the groove Stevie lays down and you can't help be moved by the passion of his singing and the content of his lyric. This comes from the 1973 masterpiece, "Innervisions," that just rocked my world.

Very superstitious, writings on the wall, 
Very superstitious, ladders bout' to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin' glass,
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past.
When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way.

Very superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin' strong,
You don't want to save me, sad is my song.
When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way, yeh, yeh

Next there is "Signed, Sealed and Delivered" from June 1970. In a mix tape I made while courting my wife, Dianne, I included this song  because it is so honest, so sexy AND so much fun. What do you think?

Like a fool I went and stayed too long
Now I'm wondering if your love's still strong
Oo baby, here I am, signed
Sealed delivered, I'm yours

Then that time I went and said goodbye
Now I'm back and not ashamed to cry
Oo baby, here I am, signed
Sealed delivered, I'm yours
Here I am baby

Oh, you've got the future in your hand
(Signed, sealed delivered, I'm yours)
Here I am baby
Oh, you've got the future in your hand
(Signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours)

I've done a lot of foolish things
That I really didn't mean
Hey, hey, yea, yea, didn't I, oh baby

Seen a lot of things in this old world
When I touched them they did nothing, girl
Oo baby, here I am, signed
Sealed delivered, I'm yours, oh I'm yours

So dig this - with Mr. President singing along with the master!

I could go on and on - Uptight, Mistra Knowitall as well as everything on Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life - but I'll wrap it up with the closing tune from "Talking Book" from 1973: "I Believe When I Fall in Love (It Will Be Forever.)" Those of you who enjoyed the movie "High Fidelity" may recall this as the closing song with the credits. My connection is listening to it over and over as a young man and getting lost in the promise of romance.  I still am moved to tears at the ecstatic closing...

Shattered dreams, worthless years
Here am I encased inside a hollow shell
Life began, then was done
Now I stare into a cold and empty well
So many sounds that meet our ears
The sights our eyes behold
Will open up our merging hearts
And feed our empty souls
I believe when I fall in love
With you it will be forever
I believe when I fall in love
This time it will be forever

Without despair we will share
And the joys of caring will not be replaced
What has been will never end
And the strength we have will never be erased
When the truth of love is planted firm
It won't be hard to find
And words of love I speak to you
Will echo in your mind

Ok, so I'm a funky romantic. Last night Dianne and I renewed our wedding vows after 20 years and exchanged new rings. What do you want from a guy whose favorite Scripture in the reworking of St. Paul's insight in I Corinthians 13: 

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.


ddl said…
CONGRATS!!!!!! I am so happy for you both! I wish, I so wish that we heard more stories like these in the news and in our daily lives...stories of fidelity, deep commitment, and joy-- everlasting joy. Amen, freakin, Amen. And a cyber toast to you for many more years.
RJ said…
thanks my friend...

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