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Stevie Wonder / Classic Album Selection 1972-1976

classic album selection

The word ‘classic’ tends to be used rather loosely when record labels market ‘classic album selection’ box sets. Often these collections might feature one or two mildly successful records, padded out with less notable fair. Regularly the ‘blockbuster’ album is missing altogether.

Praise be then, for a set that truly lives up to the billing. This box has been previously available in some territories, but on 28 October 2013 Universal Music will issue a Stevie Wonder Classic Album Selection in the UK that contains a phenomenal run of albums that are rightfully regarded as some of the best records ever made. Within this set is Talking Book (1972), Innervisions (1973)Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974) and the double album Songs In The Key Of Life (1976).

In the unlikely event you are not too familiar with these records, a list of some of the hit singles pulled from them might provide evidence of their excellence:  Superstition, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life, Higher Ground, Living For The City, He’s Misstra Know It All, You Haven’t Done Nothin’Isn’t She Lovely, and Sir Duke.

These singles are just the tip of a creative iceberg that sunk the concept of ‘little Stevie Wonder’ trapped in the familiar Motown sound, and allowed the true artist to emerge to make this series of career defining albums. The songs on these records manage to be both political and personal; poppy and soulful; experimental and commercial, and feature a musician, singer and songwriter at the very height of his powers, often playing all the instruments himself (including the drums).

Unless you own all of these records, Stevie Wonder Classic Album Selection is an essential purchase.

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15 responses to Stevie Wonder / Classic Album Selection 1972-1976

  1. Justin says:

    Wow. Essential. That’s about all there is to say.

    If you can provide us with any confirmed mastering details Paul, that’d be appreciated.

  2. Curtis says:

    A shame that “Music of My Mind” is not part of this. It’s the beginning of Wonder’s near-faultless string of albums.

  3. Goof says:

    Yes, I will definitely getting this. To my shame I only have the At the Close of a Century Boxset.

  4. Tim H says:

    I agree with Curtis, Music Of My Mind is fantastic and hugely under-rated and over looked!

  5. Hedley says:

    Paul, I will look forward to your comments on sound quality the early versions of Songs in the Key of Life were virtually unplayable.

  6. Mark A says:

    Yes, this is a very good selection of albums, but one cannot but notice that the price tag is well above the average for these collections, which are supposed to be no-frills budget editions.

    • ChristopherM says:

      Paul – I’m not sure of the rules on this blog. Is it OK to name another UK retailer if it is offering preorders significantly cheaper than Amazon’s current price of £24.99?

  7. Scott says:

    Any information as to if these are in jewel boxes or mini-LP sleeves?

  8. Paul B says:

    For UK customers, maybe ChristopherM was looking at Sainsbury’s £14.99 price?

    • ChristopherM says:

      Paul S – Thanks.

      Paul B – Yep, Sainsburys @£14.99. Amazon UK seems to have maintained the price it was charging for the Australian import.

      Scott – The pics of the packaging from other territories look a little odd – the two discs for “Songs in the Key of Life” seem to come in two separate sleeves/cases, so they’re probably not jewel boxes and certainly not vinyl replicas. Maybe card sleeves or digipacks of some kind?

  9. Erik says:

    Hi everyone.
    I have this box since last year.
    Each disc is packaged in a mini-lp gatefold sleeve reproducing (I guess) the original artwork, except on the “disc” side where there is a center hole showing the label on the disc itself.
    Booklets and remastering are as for the latest reissues .
    Oddly, each “Songs…” disc has its own gatefold!

  10. baward says:

    Thanks for the Sainsbury’s heads-up; they seem to ask for payment up front, in advance of the release, which is a bit cheeky. Anyone know if this is the case?

    • ChristopherM says:

      baward – My Sainsbury preorder confirmation email says “We will not charge your credit or debit card until we despatch your order”

      However the same email also says “If you have pre-ordered an item before its release date, it will be despatched to arrive with you on the day of release” – which is patently untrue.

      In this case, the release date has come and gone, the item is in stock at Amazon, The Hive etc, and yet Sainsbury is listing it as a preorder with no known release date. When I called the Helpline, the advisor could only say that it wasn’t in stock at their supplier.

      • ChristopherM says:

        Update to my previous post – I called the Sainsbury helpline again yesterday (4 November – one week after the release date) and this time a rather more helpful advisor promised to pass the issue on to the “comms team”. Within 24 hours the item was listed as available and I received a dispatch email.

        If anybody else ordered through Sainsbury and is still waiting, I suggest you call the helpline.

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